Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pedestrian Safety Month Part 1: Pedestrians’ rights

The month of June is Pedestrian Safety Month.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) 5,376 pedestrians were killed in 2015.  At some point, we are all pedestrians. Whether you are simply walking around your neighborhood, through a parking lot or to the grocery store, you are a pedestrian. Whether they are on foot or in a vehicle, good safety habits can help protect you and those around you.

The Public Health Law Center and the Kansas Health Foundation recently put out an informative report entitled Using Kansas Roads & Sidewalks for Active Transportation.

The report is helpful for understanding the laws surrounding pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle transportation as they interact with each other.

While motorists should always use caution and watch out for pedestrians, those traveling on foot have safety responsibilities as well:
  •  Pedestrians must always exercise care for their own safety even when they have the right-of-way.
  • Pedestrians who begin to cross a road when no vehicles are present and traffic-control signals are not in place have the right to continue to cross the entire road and have approaching vehicles stop or slow down to yield the pedestrian’s right-of-way at all marked crosswalks or intersections with unmarked crosswalks.
  • Pedestrians are prohibited from suddenly leaving a curb or other place of safety. Pedestrians are also prohibited from walking or running into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop.
  • Blind pedestrians carrying a clearly visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog have the right of-way before other traffic at all places, including all crosswalks and intersections and the middle of the road.
  • Pedestrians are prohibited from crossing outside of a marked crosswalk between intersections where traffic-control signals are in operation.
  • Pedestrians crossing a road at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection are required to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road.
  • Pedestrians are prohibited from crossing an intersection diagonally — unless authorized and as instructed by official traffic-control devices.
  • Pedestrians are required to travel on the right half of crosswalks, when practicable.
  • Pedestrians have the right-of-way before any vehicle on sidewalks.
  • Pedestrians must use sidewalks rather than a roadway where a sidewalk is provided and usable.
  • Pedestrians traveling on the road because of no available and usable sidewalk must travel on the shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway— and, if on a two-way roadway, must walk only on the left side of the roadway.
  • Pedestrians traveling on a roadway are required to yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the road.Pedestrians are prohibited from entering or traveling on any railroad property (including a railroad track, rail, or bridge) without permission. Anyone who does so is trespassing and is guilty of a misdemeanor.

For more information on other laws surrounding pedestrians, bicycles and vehicles check out the rest of the report.

Join us next week when we discuss how drivers in vehicles and pedestrians should work together to keep each other safe. 

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