Spring has sprung! And, for many of us, that means getting back to enjoying the sunshine, warm temperatures, and longer hours of daylight. To take advantage of this, many people are outside on the busy streets walking, jogging, running, and cycling.
While being outdoors and exercising can be great for your physical and mental health, you must also be aware of the safety issues that come along with this choice. Far too often, I see pedestrians and cyclist ignoring the rules of the road. It only takes one quick second for this ignorance to backfire on you.
Just within the last week, there were three separate incidents of pedestrians being struck and killed by oncoming vehicles within the New Orleans metropolitan area. All three deaths were due to the victims’ failure to yield to approaching traffic.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in 2022, traffic fatalities dipped while pedestrian and cyclist deaths rose. While a decrease in roadway fatalities is great, the rise of pedestrians and cyclist being injured or killed is highly concerning.
To ensure that you are being a safe runner, jogger, walker, and/or bicyclist, you should:
- Cross the streets at the designated crosswalks;
- Wear bright, reflective gear;
- NEVER assume that drivers will see you;
- Avoid getting distracted or impaired;
- Keep the safest distance possible between you and the road;
- Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals;
- Walk facing traffic as a pedestrian;
- Walk on sidewalks at any time they are available; and
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways and parking lots.
Not only is it the law to walk, run and jog against traffic, but it is much safer because you are able to see traffic that may be approaching!
La. Rev. Stat. 32:216 states that:
- Where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent highway.
- Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk ONLY on the left side of the highway or its shoulder, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction.
- It shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to cross an interstate highway, except in the case of an emergency.
Most of the same safety tips apply to both pedestrians and bikers, but there is one major difference to keep in mind depending if you are on foot or on you bicycle. Cyclist should ride with the flow of traffic, NOT against it. Bikers should also ride at a safe speed that allows you to react quickly to any unexpected circumstances. And, always remember to yield to pedestrians and other vehicles.
The reality is that steel is much more powerful than bones. The vehicle that hits you will probably leave without a single scratch, but you may leave with broken bones and life-threatening injuries.
So, get up, get out and get moving! BUT do so wisely.
WGNO (ABC affiliate) Legal Analyst, Cliff Cardone, has helped clients throughout all of Louisiana with their personal injury needs for over 40 years. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident as a pedestrian or cyclist, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), 1-888-892-2736 (toll free) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.