By Sergeant 3150 Nathalie Ranger
WALKING is a healthy activity, but you need to know the rules of pedestrian safety. Especially if you are walking in an area where there aren’t sidewalks or paths separate from the road. To stay safe walking, follow these rules.
- Walk Facing Traffic When Walking on the Side of the Road
If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic. This gives you the best chance to see traffic approaching closest to you.
- Cross Safely
Look both ways before crossing any street. Make eye contact with any drivers who may be turning. Give them a wave. Make sure they see you.
- Walk Single File When Not Separated from the Road
Unless you are on a sidewalk separated from the road or you are in a wide pedestrian lane, you should walk in single file. This is especially important on a road with curves and where traffic has only a split second chance of seeing you before hitting you.
- Stay Aware of Bikes and Runners
Share the road and path with bikes and runners. Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell. Listen for them, and move to walk single file, allowing them to pass safely.
Runners should also call out for passing.
- Be Visible
Wear bright colours when walking in daytime. When walking at night, wear light-coloured clothing and reflective clothing or a reflective vest to be visible. Drivers are often not expecting walkers to be out after dark, and you need to give them every chance to see you. Be just as cautious at dawn or twilight, as drivers still have limited visibility or may even have the setting or rising sun directly in their eyes.
- Be Predictable
Make a practice of staying on one side of the path while walking rather than weaving randomly from side to side. Watch your arm motions, or you may end up giving a black eye to a silently passing walker, runner, or biker.
- Keep the Volume Down
Don’t drown out your environment when listening to your headphones. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear warnings from other walkers, bikers and runners.
- Hang Up and Eyes Up
Chatting, texting, or playing games on a mobile device while you walk is as dangerous as doing those things while driving. You are distracted and not as aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognize traffic danger, passing joggers and bikers or tripping hazards. Potential criminals see you as a distracted easy target. Adopt habits that can keep your phone in your pocket, or at least stop in a safe place to complete your phone tasks before moving on.
- Walk Dogs on Short Leashes
It is terrifying and tragic to witness dogs running out into traffic or getting into a fatal dog fight, whether on leash or off leash. But there is also a danger when walking your dog on a long leash that you will trip other walkers or bikers.
Know When to Stop Walking – Heat sickness, dehydration, heart attack or stroke can strike walkers of any age. Learn the symptoms of medical emergencies and carry a cell phone to dial 919 or 911
Be Aware of Stranger Danger Choose your walking route for paths frequented by other walkers, joggers, and bikers. If you see someone suspicious, be prepared to alter your course or go into a store or public building to avoid them. Acting alert and aware can convince bad guys to choose an easier target.
• For more information, contact the National Crime Prevention on 302-8430, 302-8431, 302-8154 or visit www.royalbahamaspolice.org.