Pedestrians on the Highway

Pedestrian Crossing"Don't pedestrians have to use the sidewalks?" asks a reader. The concern expressed here is that when a safe place is provided for pedestrians away from traffic flow, some people choose not to use it. The reader observes that these people make life difficult for drivers by adding one more hazard on the roadway.

The word roadway in the last paragraph is an important one to this discussion. The roadway is the part of a highway between the yellow center line and either the solid white line at the right edge of the pavement, or if there is no solid white line then the right hand edge of the pavement. The shoulder is the area to the right of that solid white line or to the right of the pavement edge. Finally, a sidewalk is the area between the side of a roadway and the adjacent property lines improved for the use of pedestrians.

When a sidewalk is present beside the highway, a pedestrian must not walk on the roadway. This does not force the pedestrian onto the sidewalk, but does require that they use either the sidewalk or the shoulder area if there is no sidewalk present on the side that they choose to walk on.

If there is no sidewalk, the pedestrian must walk on the shoulder if the roadway is marked with a solid white line on the right or the extreme left side of the roadway if there is no white line and face oncoming traffic while doing so. Drivers take note, when there is no sidewalk you must be prepared to share the roadway with pedestrians. In addition, the pedestrian must walk facing the oncoming traffic. Pedestrians must not be on the roadway to hitch hike, solicit employment or to conduct business with the occupant of a motor vehicle.

In 2017, 42 pedestrians were killed and 2,300 injured in 3,000 collisions in British Columbia. Clearly, it is dangerous to walk beside or cross a highway. Following the rules will not guarantee that you will always be safe but it will certainly reduce the risk.


Pedestrians on highways

When I was a kid all highways had signs "Walk on left facing traffic". In school it was drilled into us to always walk towards the traffic. Why is this not enforced? I can think of cases over the last few years, the woman jogging, the wedding party. In each case people lost their lives. The thing is they were all breaking the law. The were walking or jogging going in the direction of traffic. In these cases the blame is always put onto the driver but at the same time should not the pedestrians take some of the responsibility?

In this space tonight I read how many people lose their lives each year. I would like to know how many were walking on the correct side of the road?

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