Promoting walking and walkable communities: Part two

Tips for walking safely and sharing the road from "Step It Up!".

Photo credit: USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Photo credit: USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The 2015 US Surgeon General’s “Step It Up! call to action urges individuals to use walking as a form of exercise. For many of us, walking is an easy and inexpensive way to get the exercise we need to stay healthy. However, safety is a concern for many others due to car traffic and lack of sidewalks. The Michigan Secretary of State offers safety tips for us to follow when walking:

  1. Use sidewalks when they are available. When there are no sidewalks, walk against traffic on the far left-side of the road or paved shoulder.
  2. Cross at intersections or designated crosswalks when possible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in 2012 occurred at non-intersections.
  3. Make sure to look left, right and left again before crossing the road even when there is a pedestrian traffic signal.
  4. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
  5. Stop at the edge of a parked vehicle and look both ways if the car is blocking the view of the street before entering the street. Use this tip when crossing the street in front of a stopped vehicle at an intersection where multiple lanes of traffic are traveling in the same direction.
  6. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
  7. Be careful in parking lots, especially when you have small children with you.
  8. Carry a flashlight when walking at night and wear light-colored or reflective clothing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides additional resources you can use to keep you and your loved ones safe every time you walk out the door. The Step It Up! call to action offers many resources for individuals, communities and governments to use to promote walking and walkable communities, which includes adding pedestrian safety measures to roads. 

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