Which Side of the Road Should You Walk on When There’s No Sidewalks

Many of the highways in Hampton Roads lack sidewalks. Even in busy cities such as Norfolk and Newport News, there is a serious lack of sidewalks. In the countryside, it’s rare to find a sidewalk.

When pedestrians are faced with roads like this, they are often unsure which side of the road to walk on.

pedestrians are frequent victims in Hampton Roads

These are the rules, according to the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

If a road has sidewalks on both sides, it is acceptable to walk on the sidewalk on either side of the road. It doesn’t matter if you are facing the traffic or if it’s behind you because you are separated by the sidewalk.

When a road has a sidewalk on only one side, you should use it for walking in either direction. Look for a crosswalk to cross or make sure there is no traffic coming or it’s not hidden by a curve.

If there are no sidewalks on the highway you should walk facing oncoming traffic. Make eye contact with drivers and be sure to react well in advance. You should try to get as far to the side of the road as possible to give additional space between you and oncoming cars.

It’s worth noting that different rules apply to walkers and cyclist. Bicyclists should ride in the direction of the traffic. However, if you are walking, it’s more dangerous to have traffic behind you where you can’t see it.

Our Virginia pedestrian accident attorneys see a lot of wrecks involving pedestrians in Hampton Roads. The consequences are often very serious. This week we were saddened by the death of Tyrone Patrick, a 54-year-old janitor at Woodside High School in Newport News.

He was killed on Jefferson Avenue which has an appalling pedestrian safety record. The area he was killed in lacked sidewalks and lighting.

Many of the worst cities in America for pedestrians are those that were developed more recently in the south. Roads were built in the 1950s and 1960s with the automobile in mind and the designers failed to build in features for pedestrians or cyclists. Today many pedestrians struggle to stay safe in these cities.

If you or a loved one has been hit as a pedestrian, our attorneys can help you. See our resources about accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists or call us at (757) 455-0077.


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