How To Keep Pedestrians Safe

Walking and biking are my primary modalities of transportation. Personally, I only like to take the bus when it is raining, which means that I save a lot of money. Pedestrians have to look out for their own safety, though, so I will say paying attention to the road around you is critical at all times. As a lifelong pedestrian I have learned that often drivers are way too eager to go, even when the walking light is giving the pedestrian the right of way! So you must be ready to make eye contact with the driver, and inform them that when it is your turn to walk they cannot be in a mad dash and nearly hit you. People think oh some pedestrians must be overly fearful of crossing streets, but let me just tell you at four-way stops people driving really need to think more about the pedestrians crossing that road on the walking light. In this hub, I will share some of the things I do to ensure I am safe while walking on the Southern California sidewalks.

One of the advantages of being a pedestrian in Southern California is all of the beautiful scenery, especially in the winter after the snowfall on the local San Bernardino Mountains.
One of the advantages of being a pedestrian in Southern California is all of the beautiful scenery, especially in the winter after the snowfall on the local San Bernardino Mountains.

Do Not Be An Eager Beaver To Make A Right Hand Turn When Pedestrians Are Walking

There is one four-way stop that I absolutely hate because people are way too eager to make their right-hand turns when pedestrians have the walking light. The considerate ones stop for a pedestrian, but some days people keeping making the right-hand turns when you have a walking light, almost leaving you marooned with the threat of being hit in the intersection. With large trucks and semi blocking your view this can lead to a scary situation, so I have found at times you have to be an assertive pedestrian. If people are too anxious to go when I have the walking light I simply point to the light and say, "pedestrians have the right to go now". One thing I will encourage drivers to do is to give pedestrians the courtesy to finish crossing the street on the walking light. I am fast and run through the cross walks, but I always worry about elderly people that could be hit. If you are driving a car, remember you are going to get wherever you are going faster than the pedestrian, so let them finish crossing the street before making that right hand turn!

Do Not Block Pedestrian Crosswalks

Oftentimes I see certain drivers stopping way beyond the line where they are supposed to stop, and thus blocking the cross walk when pedestrians have the walking light. The polite drivers usually back up when you motion to the walking light, but the rude drivers just do not care. As a pedestrian I have learned it helps to breath and just wait for the next walking light. If you find you are stopping in pedestrian cross walk on red lights, then you might want to watch the road a bit more carefully. I will admit am the world's most anxious driver, which is why I do not drive and prefer to be a pedestrian. However, one tip I could give drivers is not to break California road laws by talking on their cell phones or applying makeup when driving, and many times I have actually seen that these tend to be the people that block pedestrian cross walks during the walking lights. If you are a pedestrian I highly recommend giving yourself extra time to walk to your destination and to plan for such occurrences. One thing I do miss about living in the mountains are the road that are easy to cross, and with far less traffic.

Using the sidewalk ensures you will be safe while walking.
Using the sidewalk ensures you will be safe while walking.

Be A Good Pedestrian: Use The Sidewalk

If you live in a place with sidewalks then please use these for your own safety. Sorry, but drivers do not need the extra hassle of negotiating the road with you walking in it. Not only does it cause a distraction for drivers, but pedestrians are also putting themselves in risk of being hit. Sidewalks are nice and we should definitely use them! If you do not have sidewalks in your community, then walk on the shoulder of the road, or on the dirt area next to a road. I am highly cautious and always walk as far off the street as possible when there is no sidewalk around.

No Jay Walking!

Just because pedestrians have right of way does not mean you should jaywalk across the street. I see many pedestrians who are too negligent to walk up to the nearest crosswalk to get to the other side of the street, and they believe their lethargy entitles them to the right to jay walk across the street. I love the exercise walking provides, and an extra block of walking to reach a proper crosswalk is both beneficial to my health and safety. I would never put drivers and myself at risk by jay walking. Being a pedestrian in Southern California is exciting and affordable, but you need to obey the rules. Jay walking is definitely not legal, and you can get a ticket for it. Happy walking!

Pedometers are great tools for measuring just how far you have walked on a daily basis. These are great motivators for people that want to start an exercise routine, such as walking five miles a day. If you have not walked much you might want to start with one mile, and gradually work your way up to five. Pedometers are a great way to stay motivated while reaching your walking goals!

Good Shoes For Walking

For me, a pair of good shoes are essential for walking, especially since many have rubbed the back of my heels of these do not fit properly. I always have to spend about at least a half an hour at the department store trying on various pairs, and I recently fell in love in love with a pair of Sketchers tennis shoes. Famous Footwear is one retailer that has a nice selection of comfortable walking shoes to choose from.

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Comments 16 comments

waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

Wow...clean streets, you don't get that over here, I'm a walker too, also to save money and also because I hate it when you take the bus and someone coughs or sneezes right on top of you if it's crowded, I hate that!

I once did a sponsored walk for charity and I walked around 60 miles and then I went to work the next day with stiff legs lol!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


The city I live in is a bit more rural and very vigilant about cleaning the sidewalks and the streets. Some bigger American cities like LA, not so much! Congratulations on your ambitious walk for charity, that is quite a stretch to walk!

Glenn Frank profile image

Glenn Frank 6 years ago from Southern California

I like to walk sometimes... but I like better to cycle! A lot of the same kinds of awareness and safety issues apply as in walking. But Cyclists need to learn that the sidewalk is for pedestrians and although it might seem safer... being where the cars can see you at driveways and intersections is much safer. Happy walking!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Glenn,

Cycling is okay for me in a very rural place, but the fact we are supposed to ride with traffic scares me. I actually wish cyclists would not ride on the sidewalk, and I have been hit by a couple that sneaked up behind me.

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

In Italy we are not very famous for following queues or crossing roads on crosswalks. Maybe we like to risk our lives. So it has been a surprise when I went to London for the first time and see that if you cross a road where you like drivers simply don't see you and you must be pretty fast to survive, but as soon as the shadow of your foot is over the line of a crosswalk every drivers immediately stops and let you cross the road. This is following the law. England is not Southern California but your hub reminded me of London's drivers :) Really nice hub Sweetie, I enjoyed it. :)

Pete Maida profile image

Pete Maida 6 years ago

It's a shame but there are so many places now days that are not designed for walking. There are many places without sidewalks.

To be fair to drivers I have seen people wander down the street when there was a perfectly good sidewalk to walk on. I never got that.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author


I do not know about London driving, but I know here people are supposed to yield when a pedestrian is crossing the street. They simply want to make their right hand turns and do not care. I guess walking is easier where I live than in LA and New York, but I still think drivers should let pedestrians finish crossing the street on the walking light. It is very scary when five or six cars decide to make their right hand turns when you have the walking light, and you are marooned and nearly hit in the center of the street. Mostly I worry about elderly people at four way stops such as the one I truly detest.


I think that California is the place to live then because our city planners are very good about putting in sidewalks. However, more of the rural towns I notice do not always have these, but that does not mean pedestrians have to walk in the street. Like I suggested to them they could walk as far off the road as possible, which is what I used to do when I lived in the mountains.

hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

I definitely agree with you. I'm sure those drivers when they get old would like some respect too.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi Hypnodude,

I suppose I just have an acute sensitivity about tings such as this as well :).

Lgali profile image

Lgali 6 years ago

i like walking too good article thanks

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

There are lot of things happening on our city streets that give me pause. Would walk softly and carry a big stick be a good application here? :)

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author




Sure you can carry a stick, and these are great for walking too :). I have been fine walking in the city, and many pedestrians can attest to the same. Paraglider once made a good point about how if people walked more the regular citizens could take the streets back from the undesirable types.

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

That's actually an interesting concept. More people spend a lot more of their time indoors peering out. If the regular folks were outside doing their thing, there'd be more good folks than bad folks outside to deter the bad folks from doing THEIR thing.

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

When you think about it makes sense. I do not think everyone is going to start walking more just because of this though. Nevertheless, in the economy more people are walking to save money. It is the best interest of any community to make it safer and take it away from the thugs.

2patricias profile image

2patricias 5 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Our local conditions are very different from Southern California. We live in an English town with a population of about 25000. However, there is one thing in common: drivers turning at some junctions can be a real hazard for pedestrians.

There is a complicated junction near our local rail station. I know when I turn right there I have to concentrate really hard. Because we drive on the left, a right turn means crossing the traffic, so the driver has to wait for an appropriate gap.

If a driver is impatient he/she may forget to check for pedestrian activity - so pedestrians need to be careful.

It's no good saying the pedestrian has the right of way!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Hi 2Patricias,

I only think pedestrians have the right of way when cross on a walking light. If drivers are way too much in a hurry to make their turn, I would like them to stop and think about how the person walking or riding a bike does not have anything to protect them if they get hit. A car getting hit by another car will not suffer quite as much damage. So I always point out when drivers are not patience enough to wait for me to cross, and I noticed pointing this out has help them to realize to slow down, and to read the traffic signs.

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