Pedestrians

Sidewalks

Walk the line
Pedestrians are not allowed to walk on roadways when usable sidewalks are available. If there is no sidewalk or shoulder, walk as near as practicable to the outside edge of the roadway, and yield right of way to vehicles in the roadway. Walk facing
traffic.

Pedestrians and bicycles on the sidewalk
While sidewalks are generally intended for use by pedestrians, in most cases bicyclists are allowed to use them as well. Bicyclists need to yield the right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks, however, pedestrians must be alert to decrease their risk
of collision. Bicyclists should notify pedestrians of their intention to pass through an audible signal, so pedestrians should always be listening for approaching bikes.

Paths and Trails

WOD-VA310 nat trails partnership imageShared-use paths and recreational trails
Yield to slower users. Watch for dogs on leashes, children learning to bike, skaters, or, in some cases, horses. When approaching animals, avoid scaring them by slowing down. Gently saying “hello there” or “is it safe to pass?” can calm a horse and rider.

Pedestrians should stay to the right on shared-use paths, except to pass on the left
At mid-block crossings with the road, watch for oncoming traffic. Look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT. All path users must obey signals.

Crosswalks

BicyclistStayontheRoadPedestrians: scan and cross
Especially in urban areas, pedestrians expect motorists and bicyclists to watch out for them. However, pedestrians need to obey the law and exercise common sense.

Pedestrians are required by law to cross roads at crosswalks whenever possible, and drivers expect to see pedestrians crossing at crosswalks and intersections.

Crossing the street mid-block is not a good idea; most pedestrian accidents with cars occur at mid-block crossings, between intersections. So be alert!

Before crossing, stop, look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT,
and then over the shoulder for turning traffic.

Don’t disregard traffic
Though pedestrians have the right of way, it is important for them to be aware and protect themselves from bicyclists and motorists.

“No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching traffic.”

Code of Virginia § 46.2-92

Be aware!
Most pedestrian-motorist crashes occur when a pedestrian is crossing a road, either mid-block or at intersections.

Your Side of the Road

Walk facing traffic
When there is no sidewalk or shoulder, PEDESTRIANS may walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway. It is safest to walk facing traffic.

Turning Vehicles

Pedestrians and bicyclists turning right or crossing
Pedestrians and bicyclists should always scan for vehicles that may be turning right.

Be alert
Even if you are obeying all traffic laws, there is a risk of being involved in a crash if another bicyclist, pedestrian, or motorist isn’t obeying the law or is not able to see a dangerous situation ahead. Ride or walk cautiously!

  • Watch others who are waiting at stop signs or in driveways, or who are in parking spaces. They may be preparing to pull out.
  • Look out for others who may not see you when they are preparing to turn.
  • Watch for oncoming traffic that may be preparing to turn left.

Always be prepared to stop suddenly or to take other evasive action.

Riding and walking at night, or in rainy or snowy conditions
Be visible—use lights and reflectors. Wear reflective or bright-colored clothes to increase visibility.

Pedestrians and bicyclists should wear white, yellow, or lime-green clothing. Red is NOT a good color since it looks black in the fading light.

Take extra care when daylight savings changes, since it stays dark later or gets dark earlier.

Crash facts

According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, in 2015 in Virginia there were:

1,704 motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians

1,718 pedestrians injured in a motor vehicle crash

78 pedestrian fatalities resulting from a motor vehicle crash

Additionally,

In 42% of crashes involving pedestrians, the pedestrian was alcohol-impaired

Most crashes involving a pedestrian happen while the pedestrian is crossing the roadway

Commuting

KenPedTips for exiting and entering traffic from buses and transit
Data shows that entering and exiting public transportation, particularly buses, can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians.

To avoid incident, leave a safe distance between yourself and the curb.

Additionally, do not run for the bus. In a rush
to catch a bus, people often focus on their destination rather than their surroundings and put themselves and others at a greater risk of an accident.

If you need to cross the street after exiting a bus, wait until the bus leaves and traffic has cleared
before you do so.