A few days ago, we shared on our social media some pretty worrying data about traffic accidents involving the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. So at Help Flash, in keeping with our mission to improve road safety, we’ve put together a ‘Pedestrian Manual’, with useful information about how this group can safely use the road.
Pedestrians, motorcyclists, moped users and cyclists, a group known as vulnerable road users, accounted for the first time last year for more than half of traffic victims with 927 deaths, 53% of the total.
The data, which also includes accidents in cities and deaths within 30 days following the accident, not just in the 24 hours after, offer a sweeping overview of the road accident rate in Spain.
The definition of a pedestrian is a person travelling on foot on a public road, who is not a driver. Although people who push small non-motorised vehicles or people with reduced mobility who use motorised or non-motorised wheelchairs are also considered pedestrians.
Given that pedestrians share the road with other vehicles, it’s important they understand how to use them safely by knowing the general traffic rules for all types of roads.
General rules for pedestrians using public roads
Pedestrians should always walk in the middle of the pavement, neither too close to the edge of the road to avoid being run over, nor too close to buildings in case there are garage exits. Nor should they walk along the curb or go into the road, except to cross it.
If there’s no pavement or there’s an obstacle and you absolutely must go through that section, stay as close to the wall as possible and, if you can, facing traffic so that you can see approaching vehicles head on.
Young children should always hold an adult’s hand when walking. Pay special attention when they’re using tricycles or bicycles—which should never be used on the road—and playing with a ball.
Likewise, keep pets on lead as loose animals can escape and cause dangerous situations for other road users.
On city roads
Pedestrians should cross at crossings controlled by road markings, traffic lights or traffic officers. If there aren’t any proper crossings, cross where there is greatest visibility, on corners, and avoid crossing between parked vehicles.
Before crossing, look left, right, then left again.
When at traffic lights, even if they’re green, it’s vital to make sure drivers have realised that they have to stop and wait for them to do so, but pedestrians should also indicate to drivers their intention to cross with their hand.
If you’re crossing a roundabout or square, always go round it and never cross through the middle.
On roads outside of cities
It’s vitally important that pedestrians take extreme precautions when travelling along this type of road. The increased speed at which vehicles travel exponentially increases the seriousness of injuries in the event of a collision. Pedestrians have less than a 20% chance of being killed if hit by a car travelling at less than 30 mph, but almost a 60% chance if hit at 50 mph.
Pedestrians should stay on the left of these types of roads so that they can see approaching vehicles face on and see risks in time.
Only walk on the right if it’s easier and safer to do so because of road or traffic incidences. Pedestrians pushing or dragging a bicycle or moped, hand trolley or similar object, groups of pedestrians walking in a procession, and people in wheelchairs should also stick to the right.
Always walk along the hard shoulder. If there is none, walk along the road, sticking as close as possible to the edge. If there are several pedestrians, walk in single file.
Between sunset and sunrise or in adverse weather conditions that significantly reduce visibility, pedestrians should carry with them an approved light or reflective material and try to wear light-coloured clothing to make themselves more visible to motorists. Here’s a comparison of the difference wearing reflective clothing can make versus not wearing it in the risk of being run over.
The conditions of the situation are as follows: a vehicle with low-beam light (halogen), artificial lighting on the false road and dry asphalt.
- A pedestrian wearing dark clothing and no high-vis vest: the visibility is less than 20 metres and a car going at 25 mph wouldn’t be able to stop in time.
- A pedestrian wearing light clothing and no high-vis vest: the visibility is less than 40 metres and a car going at 40 mph wouldn’t be able to stop.
- A pedestrian wearing a high-vis vest: the visibility is more than 150 metres and a car going at 62 mph would be able to stop in time.
On motorways and dual carriageways
Pedestrians are not allowed on these types of roads.
Only in the event of an accident, breakdown, if occupants feel unwell or in any other emergency for which you may need to request assistance may the driver or occupant get out of the vehicle. The other occupants must stay off the road.
Although there are rules preventing pedestrians from walking along motorways and dual carriageways, regretfully accidents happen on these types of roads almost weekly. Many of these happen after crashes or breakdowns, when the driver has to get out of the vehicle to deal with the incident. When this happens, especially when there’s low visibility or heavy traffic, it’s advisable to use a V16 light signal like Help Flash. These devices alert other drivers within seconds and from 0.6 miles away, making it safer for car occupants.
If you’d like to read up more about this topic, you can find more information on our other blog posts. Check them out here: https://help-flash.com/blog/.