Title: Where should pedestrians and cyclists walk and ride?
Pedestrians and cyclists in California know that they have a particularly high risk of fatality when it comes to car accidents. Thankfully, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that these collisions are rare in comparison to all vehicular accidents, accounting for approximately 2-3% of traffic fatalities each year.
Still, California has more pedestrian and cyclist deaths than any other state and 25% more such fatalities than the national average. Understanding state laws and guidelines about where to walk and ride may help you avoid becoming a statistic.
Where to walk
Whenever possible, walk on the sidewalk instead of the street. Always use crosswalks when they are available and do not jaywalk.
There are times when sidewalks and crosswalks are not present, however. If you must walk along or on the road, take extra safety measures and remain on high alert. Never use headphones or cellphones when walking in the road.
Create space between you and vehicles, and utilize barriers whenever possible. Wear bright clothing or use lights to make yourself more visible.
Where to ride
California law and guidelines dictate where cyclists may ride under various conditions. For example, the law requires that you use the bicycle lane whenever there is one available. Keep in mind, however, that vehicles will enter the bike lane when making right turns, so remain vigilant. You may ride on sidewalks in some counties while others prohibit it. Check your local laws.
If there are no bike lanes, you may ride in the road in most jurisdictions. If you are traveling at the same speed as traffic, you may ride where you like. Otherwise, you should ride as close as you can to the right side of the road — unless you are taking a left turn, passing a vehicle, avoiding a hazard or if your lane is too small to share with cars.
If lanes are too small to ride beside traffic, you generally may “take the lane,” meaning that you can ride in the middle of the lane as if you were a car. Just remember that you should ride in the same direction as traffic whenever possible.