Pedestrians – walk on which side of the road?

How many times do you come across this?  You are driving along the road and there is a person or even a group of people walking down the side of the road with their backs to the traffic flow.

I don’t understand it.  Isn’t it obvious that you would walk facing oncoming traffic, (the right hand side of the road here in the UK), so that you have time to see and react to any other road users that are coming “toward you”.  This in turn gives both you and the driver/cyclist/horse rider etc a better chance to react and give each party room to pass safely, you cannot do this as easily when one of the parties involved has the back of their head to you.

I’ve even seen family groups adopt this dangerous practice risking not only their own health but that of their children too and they always seem surprised when a vehicle comes up behind them.

the risk is greatly reduced if you are facing the traffic

Pedestrians walking in the roadThis seems to happen mainly in country areas where there is no footpath provided, and the situation isn’t helped by those road users who treat country roads as their own private race tracks, put the two together, fast car/bike and a pedestrian on the wrong side of the road and you are asking for a disaster.  If you find yourself walking along the road, then a high percentage of the risk is greatly reduced if you are facing the traffic that you are sharing common ground with.  And drivers, slow down!

Yes, pedestrians should have the right of way but the roads are designed to be used by various forms of transport, so please give yourself and other road users the best possible chance when sharing the roads by walking on the correct side of the road.

By: Sandman

10 Responses

  1. fedupinwales 14/03/2010 / 9:54 pm

    Just don't walk in the road.


    Yes, well…but what if there isn't a pavement? Stay at home?

  2. Me 02/03/2010 / 7:53 am

    Just don't walk in the road.

    Just don't walk in the road.

  3. Jimmy 28/02/2010 / 12:57 am

    I work on the railway and you are trained to always walk facing traffic. When you are working near any sort of curve, you set up a flag man on the other side who can get a good view around the curve. Same principle applies on the road (except the flag man!)

  4. ramble 27/02/2010 / 9:34 am

    In the news this week a woman on an electric wheelchair at night going along a country road in County Durham was shouting at her friend who was walking, facing the traffic to cross over. The one in the wheelchair was hit and died

  5. chris 27/02/2010 / 3:22 am

    I'm usually travelling too slowly to hurt anybody. Spend most of my time sat behind people still unaware of a gear after 2nd. Also horses… eh Nikki ;P Just kidding.

    I only tend to encounter pedestrians at night wearing all black clothing. That doesn't help.

  6. siobhan 26/02/2010 / 2:08 am

    Trouble is ramble, too many people don't possess common sense. Unfortunately.

  7. Comentor 25/02/2010 / 10:51 pm

    Even more dangerous is when you drive along a country road and see a group of people on the road in front of you and they seem surprised to see you and instead of moving over to the right hand side of the road some of them stay on the left and some go to the right and leave little room for you to to pass, I've had to almost stop on more than one occasion while they sorted themselves out…mad !

  8. ramble 25/02/2010 / 7:57 am

    The Highways Code states:

    If there is no pavement keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and
    be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light
    keep close to the side of the road
    It may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you. Cross back after the bend

    This sounds like common sense to me

  9. Fedupinwales 25/02/2010 / 7:17 am

    Just to add, I know your rant is about which side of the ROAD to walk – but I also feel which size of he pavement to walk also causes a lot of confusion. You end up zig-zagging around. Most countries I've visited abroad tend to have a set side both for on the pavement and also at the side of the road. In the UK, we can't seem to make our mind up.

  10. Fedupinwales 25/02/2010 / 7:14 am

    This is interesting – I was planning to write a similar rant only yesterday and you beat me to it! Yesterday morning, I was walking on a very narrow piece of pavement and I ended up doing a sort of dance with two other pedestrians who couldn't decided which side to walk. Add to that a cyclist who came flying round the corner on the pavement – and the whole lot of us nearly ended up in the middle of a very busy road. Nuts!

Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply