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Pedestrian Safety

Without a vehicle or protective equipment, pedestrians are the roadway users most at risk of bodily harm. Both drivers and pedestrians are responsible for traffic safety. A simple rule of thumb is that drivers should always yield right-of-way to pedestrians, but pedestrians should always remain patient and vigilant in case that doesn’t happen.

Rules of the Road and Traffic Safety

Pedestrian Safety Guidelines

  • Always remain alert, but especially at intersections allowing turns on red lights.
  • Be predictable. Use sidewalks where provided. Cross or enter streets where it is legal to do so.
  • If a sidewalk is closed due to construction, cross the street and use the sidewalk on the other side or find a safe alternate route out of traffic.
  • Make it easy for drivers to see you by dressing in light or reflective materials, especially at night.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing to be sure they see you.
  • Be aware that alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they impair ability to drive.
  • Use extra caution when crossing multiple lane and higher speed streets.
  • Cross at marked crosswalks or intersections. Pedestrians are most often hit by cars when they cross the road at places other than intersections.
  • Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again for traffic. Stopping at the curb signals drivers that you intend to cross.
  • If a car is parked where you are crossing, first make sure there is no driver in the car, then go to the edge of the car and look left, right, left until no cars are coming. Continue looking for cars while you are crossing since this is a lower visibility setting.

Pedestrian Traffic Signals

At intersections where traffic is controlled by signals, pedestrians must obey the signal unless directed otherwise by a traffic officer. Pedestrian traffic signals are:

  • Walk (constantly lighted): Pedestrians facing the signal may cross the roadway in the direction of the signal.
  • Don't Walk (Flashing): Pedestrians may not start entering the roadway. Any pedestrian who has partly completed his cross during the constantly lighted WALK may continue to a sidewalk or safety island.
  • Don't Walk (constantly lighted): Pedestrians may not enter the roadway.
  • Yellow Light (constant): Pedestrians may not cross unless directed by a pedestrian control sign or traffic officer.

Where to Walk

  • Pedestrian tunnels and crossings: Use whenever possible.
  • Roadways: Only to be used when there is no sidewalk or shoulder available. Under these conditions, pedestrians should always walk close to the outside edge of the road and against the direction of vehicle traffic when possible. Never walk on a highway when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Jogging Paths: Joggers and other pedestrians should use jogging paths when provided. On public roads, joggers should try to select wide roads with even shoulders. They should face oncoming traffic and pay extra attention to the road. When visibility of the road is limited, joggers and walkers should stay in well-lit areas and wear reflective clothing.
  • Gates and Barriers: Pedestrians must always obey railroad barriers, bridge gates, and other barriers.

Illegal Conduct

  • Hitchhiking: Hitchhiking (standing on the roadway and asking for a ride) is illegal. Hitchhiking conviction carries a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to one year.
  • Soliciting: Pedestrians should not stand on or next to a roadway to ask drivers or their passengers for employment, business, or goods. Solicitation conviction carries a fine of up to $2,500 and a jail sentence of up to one year.
  • Moving Vehicles: Pedestrians must not run or walk into the path of a moving vehicle.
  • Emergency Vehicles: Pedestrians should always yield to emergency vehicles and police vehicles that have sirens and/or flashing lights on.

Drivers Responsibilities for Pedestrian Safety

  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections.
  • Stay out of crosswalks when stopped at intersections.
  • Obey posted speed limits and slow down as necessary.
  • Take extra care around schools, playgrounds, and residential areas.
  • Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning.
  • Be careful when passing stopped vehicles as they might be stopped for a crossing pedestrian.
  • Share the road. It's your responsibility to look out for others.