The walking, running and biking season is upon us. Let's look at some common-sense things to keep us all safe and courteous as we share the roadways.


Walking and Running

Vermont law, and, most states require you to walk against or towards the normal flow of traffic for a number of reasons. One, it is the law and two, it makes sense.

With so many people texting and driving do you want to take a chance that they will see you? By walking or running against the traffic it enables you to see if a vehicle is heading towards you. It gives you the chance to avoid being hit.

Even at 30 miles an hour, a car travels at 44 feet per second. By the time the driver notices you and tries to stop or avoid you they will have traveled about 88 feet -- about one-third of a football field.  And, if you can’t see them? Think about 50 miles an hour.

It also makes sense to wear bright-colored clothes, especially if you’re traveling in early morning or late in the day.  Almost all pedestrian fatalities involved people not suitably dressed for the time of day and walking with their back to the traffic. At night a flashlight is a must to alert drivers of your presence on the road.

Here is what state statute says about pedestrians on the roadways:

23 VSA 1055. Pedestrians on roadways:
   (a) Where public sidewalks are provided no person may walk along or upon an adjacent roadway.
 (b) Where public sidewalks are not provided any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing the direction of possible oncoming traffic. The fine is $214.

Walking two or three abreast with carriages on a roadway is both illegal, and dangerous for those young ones in your care – especially with your back to the traffic flow. Be considerate. Note – when walking on a winding road with limited visibility on curves consider moving to the outside of the curve giving drivers in both directions visibility to you and visa-versa.


Cross Walks

Do not assume a vehicle, especially a bicycle will stop for you. They may not see you or may think they have adequate time to pass you or think you may stop when you see them coming. Keep your eyes on the vehicles approaching the cross walk, ensure they see you and be prepared to jump back or forward quickly.

Drivers, when the road is also being used by walkers or runners, take your foot off the gas. Your vehicle will start to lose momentum and your brake foot will be better prepared to brake if need be.  Give them at least a 3-foot berth. Remember dogs and kids are not aware of the danger and do unexpected things.

If you’re going into the on-coming traffic lane be alert, an approaching driver may not want to grant you space in their lane.

Drivers on winding or curved roads with limited visibility when you see a walker, runner or biker – you need to slow down and not drive into the on-coming lane. It is quite uncomfortable to come around a blind curve and meet a big dump truck.

Drivers when you see walkers or runners on the other side to the road with on-coming vehicles – take your foot off the gas and be prepared to move to further to right.

On-coming vehicle will more than likely move into your lane to avoid the walkers or runners or bicyclist.

Bicyclist, and those using personal electric assisted mobility devices and play vehicles you are required to ride in the direction of the normal flow of traffic and subject to the same vehicle traffic laws as motorized vehicles.

Vermont law permits riding two abreast as long as they do not impede traffic – Fine $105 for each person.

23 VSA 1139 b. Persons riding two abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.

All should remember to have a bright light visible when on our roadways a half hour after sunset an a half hour before sunrise. Bicyclist are required to have a white light in the front and red lite back light – 23 VSA 1149 - Fine $76.

Finally, your safety is up to you. As much as the Legislature believes placing your safety in the hand’s others -- others can’t be relied on. And, no matter what the state law is, the law of physics supersedes it; 2,500-pound vehicle travelling at even 10 mph vs a 150-pound person – you lose no matter what the law says.

Bifano lives in Warren.