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Letters: Pedestrians And Cars
Walk On The Left
December 16, 2016

n the streets of Oriental, people seem to walk, cycle or jog more than you see in most places in NC. While we also arguably have less vehicular traffic than your average riverside metropolis, there are times here when the two worlds meet, especially on the many streets without sidewalks. Reader Mark DeCain wrote in to reinforce some safety tips.
Hello TownDock.net,

In a recent report on the Town Board Meeting, this item appeared:

“Police report:
November was uneventful according to Police Chief Dwaine Moore. He had a safety suggestion. Noting that there are more hours of darkness, he asked that joggers and bikers be mindful and use the right side of the road, and wear reflective gear.”

I wish to point out that safety suggestion is in contradiction with accepted safety guidelines. While it is certainly true that bicyclists should ride with traffic, in the absence of sidewalks, joggers, and pedestrians should always walk facing oncoming traffic.

These are the recommendations of the National Safety Council, and ones I was taught more than 50 years ago. But please don’t accept my say-so on this.

It would be a good thing if you would source the guidelines, and post them for all to enjoy. And no disrespect intended for our policeman – he does us yeoman service.

Best regards,

Mark DeCain Raleigh, NC 12/13/16

Ed Note: Mark is right. Left is right when you are on foot – be on the left side of the road so you can face oncoming traffic. That’s among the tips from the National Safety Council:

For Pedestrians: • Where there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and keep as far to the left side of the roadway as possible. • If you cross a residential street, stop where you can see well and use the left, right, left search pattern for approaching traffic. • Never assume that you, as a pedestrian, have the right-of-way, even where the driver is required to yield. On heavily traveled streets, cross at corners where drivers expect pedestrians. Do not cross mid-block. • Walk directly across the street; do not walk diagonally.
For Cyclists: • Ride single-file in the direction of traffic, and watch for opening car doors and other hazards • Use hand signals when turning and use extra care at intersections • Before entering traffic, stop and look left, right, left again and over your shoulder • Wear bright clothing and ride during the day • If night riding can’t be avoided, wear reflective clothing • Make sure the bike is equipped with reflectors on the rear, front, pedals and spokes • A horn or bell and a rear-view mirror, as well as a bright headlight, also is recommended.

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