You have heard about defensive driving, but there is also defensive walking.
When out walking it is important to keep an eye out for dangers.
The main dangers to watch out for are vehicles and bicycles.
I don’t mean team cars for a bicycle tour, but I couldn’t resist using this picture.
When you are out walking there are almost always vehicles around unless you are walking on a trail.
You cannot assume that people driving a car are watching out for pedestrians at all times. Especially since many don’t even observe traffic laws at intersections. You have to watch out for them to make sure that they see you. Also, you have to watch out for people backing out of driveways as they are usually looking past the sidewalk and may not see you.
Also when people are pulling out of a parking lot, they are usually only watching for traffic to the left if they are turning right. I always make sure that they look my way and see me if I am walking.
I usually take a defensive stand and don’t assume that cars will give the pedestrian the right of way.
Bicycles can also be a big hazard to walkers. Especially if they are not following the laws for riding. You cannot assume that riders know what the laws are as more often than not they are not following them.
Here, you are not supposed to ride a bike on the sidewalk unless you are under the age of eight.
Our city has spent thousands of dollars to create and maintain bike lanes on major streets and they are seldom used.
Bicycles are also to have certain safety equipment that most do not have.
Riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. I rarely see anyone over the age of ten wearing one.
If riding at night you are required to use a headlamp on the bike and have side reflectors. Most bikers do not use a headlamp which makes it very dangerous when they ride on the sidewalk and come up behind you. There is no warning, especially as they most likely don’t have a bell either. Instead you have an upset bike rider since you are in their way even though they are not supposed to be there. I remember as a kid we had to license our bikes and were also required to take a safety course. We had cool license plates on our bikes. It has been a long time since I have seen a license on a bike, even though they are required. Perhaps they are just a small sticker here and are not easy to see.
My gut feeling is that the majority of bicycle owners simply do not license them and are unaware of the regulations. Therefore, I need to watch out for them as they are not following them.
Why follow the regulations if they are not enforced?
Be defensive when you walk, just like when you drive.