It’s nice to be able to go on walks without having to worry about traffic or being in the way of vehicles on the road. But what do you do when there is no sidewalk to keep you separated from those vehicles? The unfortunate truth is that there are many roads throughout Baton Rouge and Louisiana that do not have sidewalks to help keep pedestrians safe.
With so many distractions on the road, pedestrians must remain vigilant of drivers. Learn appropriate safety tips and do your best to protect yourself from being hit as a pedestrian. And if you are hit because a driver is negligent, you may be eligible for compensation. Find a personal injury lawyer in Baton Rouge if you’ve been the victim of a pedestrian vs. vehicle accident.
Know the Laws for Louisiana Pedestrians
As a pedestrian, you want to be sure that you are always following the law to the best of your ability. That means familiarizing yourself with any requirements and following the instructions and guidance set out for you. This is one major step in ensuring your safety.
While you can’t control what others are doing, you can certainly make sure you are following the laws. Louisiana statute RS 32:216 tells us that if there is a sidewalk, then a pedestrian must use that provided sidewalk, particularly on a highway. If no sidewalk is available, then you must walk on the left side of the road on the shoulder. This should have you walking facing oncoming traffic. The law does also say “whenever it is practical.”
Louisiana law stipulates that pedestrians may not cross interstate highways except in the case of emergencies.
The Dangers of Streets with No Sidewalks
Studies have been completed that look into pedestrian deaths, sidewalks, and the cause of accidents or injuries. From 2009-2018, the Louisiana State University Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety reported an increase in pedestrian deaths. The increase made Louisiana the 11th most dangerous state for pedestrians.
The same study revealed that in 2022, there were nearly 170 pedestrian deaths in the state.
There are many major locations throughout Baton Rouge and Louisiana that don’t offer sidewalks. While the laws are in place, it doesn’t necessarily make it safe with no sidewalks to depend on. Studies also indicate that a street with no sidewalk makes pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents twice as likely to occur. That’s an astronomical increase!
Staying Safe as a Pedestrian with No Sidewalks Available
So what do you do when there isn’t a sidewalk? You make every effort to follow the rules that are provided in the state. Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Here are some tips to follow.
As the law states, you should always walk on the left side and against the flow of traffic. This is the best way to ensure you are visible to traffic and to help reduce the likelihood of an accident. You can see the oncoming vehicles, and they are more likely to see you as well. Hopefully, if something goes wrong, you will have more time to react since you can see oncoming traffic.
Always Cross Safely
When crossing a road, always follow safety rules for crossing. Remember that pedestrians may not cross interstate highways unless there is an emergency. Always provide enough room for vehicles to yield before just walking out. When there is no crosswalk, the vehicles have the right of way, so do not cross until it is clear and safe to do so.
As a pedestrian, it’s easy for a driver to not notice you until they are right there. You can help improve your visibility by wearing bright or white clothing that is more noticeable, especially in low-visibility times. Too many accidents happen at nighttime because of visibility.
Always Be Vigilant
Technology at our fingertips has phones constantly in our hands. There are so many distractions. However, when you are walking where there are no sidewalks, make every effort to be vigilant and reduce your distractions. Pay close attention to your surroundings and traffic so that you can react if you need to.
Driver Safety Tips
Drivers should also be aware and familiar with pedestrian allowances. A driver shouldn’t be distracted, and they should be respectful of pedestrians who are following the rules. As a driver, you can follow these helpful tips:
- Always look out for pedestrians
- Pay attention and eliminate distractions
- Slow down when you see crossing pedestrians
- Try to maintain a safe distance when passing a pedestrian on the road
Seek Help If Injured While Walking
If you are injured as a pedestrian while walking, you likely have options for seeking compensation. There are laws in place to protect you as long as you are following the appropriate guidelines.
You don’t have to suffer alone. Find a trustworthy and experienced Baton Rouge personal injury lawyer to review your case and get you the assistance that you deserve.