Walk Smart - Walk Safe
Be Ready and Be Safe
If you are just starting out with physical exercise or have a medical condition that may impact your participation in walking for exercise contact your physician to confirm this is the activity for you. Start slowly there’s no point in walking a thousand miles on your first time out. Make sure to stretch before each outing.
Walk Facing Traffic
If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic. This gives you the best chance to see traffic that may be approaching you.
Mom was right: look both ways before crossing any street. At controlled intersections, it is wise to cross only when you have the pedestrian crossing light, but even then, drivers and bikers may have a green light to turn and won't be expecting you to be in the crosswalk. Make eye contact with any drivers who may be turning. Give them a wave. Make sure they see you.
Walk Single File
Unless you are on a sidewalk separated from the road or a wide bike lane, you should walk in single file. This is especially important on a road with lots of curves, where traffic has only a split second chance of seeing you. While it can be enjoyable to walk down the road two to three abreast chatting merrily, drivers may not expect it.
Stay Aware of Bikes and Runners
Share the road and path with bikes and runners. Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell or a "passing on the left/right." Listen for them, and move to walk single file, allowing them to pass safely. Runners should also call out for passing. Bike-pedestrian collisions can result in serious injuries for either — and you aren't wearing a helmet.
Wear bright colors when walking during the daytime. When walking at night, wear light-colored clothing and reflective clothing or a reflective vest to be visible. Drivers are often not expecting walkers to be out after dark, and you need to give them every chance to see you, even at street crossings that have crossing signals. Be just as cautious at dawn or twilight, as drivers still have limited visibility or may even have the setting or rising sun directly in their eyes.
Make a practice of staying on one side of the path while walking rather than weaving randomly from side to side. Watch your arm motions, or you may end up giving a black eye to a silently passing walker, runner or biker.
Keep the Volume Down
Don't drown out your environment with your iPod. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear bike bells and warnings from other walkers and runners.
Hang Up and Walk
Chatting on a cell phone while you walk is as dangerous as chatting while driving. You are distracted and not as aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognize traffic danger, passing joggers, bikers or tripping hazards.
Enjoy your walk! Go with a friend, listen to the birds in the trees or sing while you walk! If you are having fun, it won’t seem like exercise.