Florida Pedestrians Laws Are Intended to Keep You Safe

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, 4,092 lives were lost in pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents in 2009. That's one person every 9 minutes of every day.

Florida, as well as other states, has specific pedestrian laws to help keep those walking on the roadways safe. However, in order for the laws to actually keep you safe, both motor vehicle operators and the pedestrians need to not only be aware of them but, also, abide by them.

The most important thing to consider is where on the road you are walking. It makes common sense to always use a sidewalk or crosswalk when one is available, but what about the many rural roads in areas surrounding Panama City?

The pedestrian law, (Fla. Stat. Sec. 316.130(3), (4) and (18); and Sec. 316.2065(12)) states:

  • Where sidewalks are provided, no pedestrian shall, unless required by other circumstances, walk along and upon the portion of the roadway paved for vehicular traffic.
  • Where sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the shoulder on the left side of the roadway in relation to the pedestrians direction of travel, facing traffic which may approach from the opposite direction.

Common sense plays a key role in staying safe while walking on the roadway.

  • Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Headsets and other diversions take your attention away from the road. If you insist on wearing a headset, keep one ear open so you can stay alert.
  • Always face traffic so if something is coming at you, you may have an opportunity to take evasive action and avoid a collision.
  • Never rely on the 'other guy' to follow the law. If the traffic is moving at high speeds, you should try to walk as far off the roadway as possible even if you have the right to walk along the side of the road as stated in the law.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes if you are walking at night. Something reflective is best, even during the day. Avoid wearing dark colors.

It won't be long before the kids are out of school for the summer. As kids do, they will walk along roads. Talk to your kids about road safety. Whether they're walking or riding their bikes, let's keep them safe to avoid the unthinkable.

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