Pedestrian safety | Oxfordshire County Council

Pedestrian safety

Keep safe while walking on roads

  • Walk Facing Traffic - If there is no pavement and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic.
  • Cross Safely - Look both ways before crossing any street.  At a controlled junction, it is wise to cross only when you have the pedestrian crossing light, but even then, drivers, motorbike riders and cyclists may have a green light to turn and won't be expecting you to cross the road.  Make eye contact with any drivers who may be turning.  Give them a wave, make sure they see you.
  • Walk in Single File - Unless you are on a footpath separated from the road or a wide shared pavement, you should walk in single file.  This is especially important on a road with lots curves, where traffic has only a split second chance of seeing you before having to avoid you.
  • Stay Aware of Bicycles and Runners - Share the road and path with bikes and runners.  Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell or "passing on the left/right."  Listen for them and move to walk in 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, even at street crossings that have crossing signals. 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 accidently knocking into a silently passing walker, runner or cyclist.
  • Keep the Volume Down - Don't drown out your environment with your personal music device.  Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear bicycle bells and warnings from other walkers and runners.
  • Hang Up and Walk - Chatting on a mobile phone whilst you walk is as dangerous as chatting while driving.  You are distracted and not as aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognise traffic danger, passing joggers and cyclists or tripping hazards.  Potential criminals can also see you as a distracted easy target.
  • Walk Dogs on Short Leashes - Don't risk your dog running in front of a moving vehicle or trip up yourself or other walkers or cyclists with long leashes and poor control of your pet.  Keep your pet and you safe by learning proper leash walking.
  • 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 mobile phone to dial 999.
  • Be Aware of Stranger Danger - Choose your walking route for paths frequented by other walkers, joggers and cyclists.  If you see someone suspicious, be prepared to alter your course or go in to a store or public building to avoid them. Keep alert and aware.
Last reviewed
20 November 2015

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