Have you recently given up your car and opted to walk around town instead? If so, you might be wondering where you are allowed to walk.
While sidewalks are the most common places for pedestrians, what about the areas without them? Can you walk on roads with cars?
How about bridges, highways, or private roads?
In this article, we’ll answer all your questions and help you figure out where pedestrians are allowed to walk and where they’re not, so you can stay safe and avoid legal trouble:
Here’s Where Pedestrians Are Allowed:
Pedestrians are allowed on sidewalks. When there aren’t any, pedestrians can generally walk along the shoulder or sometimes in the bike lane, but it’s important to face oncoming traffic. Walking generally isn’t allowed along highways or other high-speed roads.
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Are Pedestrians Allowed to Walk on Roads With Cars?
Pedestrians can walk on roads with cars but only under certain circumstances.
For example, if there’s a sidewalk nearby, and it’s not blocked off due to construction, you must use it.
But you can walk on the road if there’s no suitable sidewalk. If you do that, you must walk on the shoulder and stay as close to the edge of the road as possible.
It’s also not a bad idea to walk against oncoming traffic so that you can see the cars coming.
Some cities or states require this by law, but even if it’s not a law where you live, it may help you stay safe.
Are Pedestrians Allowed on Highways?
Whether pedestrians are allowed on highways depends on the type of highway.
You might be able to walk on the side of a state highway or even some US highways.
However, you’ll need to follow the same rules as when walking along the side of any road. Face oncoming traffic, and stay as far from the drivers as possible.
Now, you can’t do that if you’re looking to travel along the interstate. Not only is it not allowed, but the high speeds drivers reach make it unsafe.
What About Freeways?
Like other types of highways, walking freeways may or may not be allowed.
If the freeway is smaller and has a lower speed limit, you might be able to walk along the shoulder.
On the other hand, if it has a high-speed limit, you should avoid it. Even walking against traffic isn’t going to be a super safe choice.
Are Pedestrians Allowed on Bike Lanes?
Pedestrians are allowed in bike lanes in some jurisdictions but not others.
Before walking in a bike lane, check with your city, county, or state to ensure it’s okay.
However, it’s generally allowed if there’s no sidewalk nearby. Like any other case, you’ll want to walk against traffic so that you can see any cyclists coming and vice versa.
That way, you can move out of the way and stay safe when walking along a road. If there is a sidewalk next to the bike lane, you really should stay on the sidewalk to leave room for people riding their bikes.
Are Pedestrians Allowed to Cross in a Roundabout?
You should be able to cross the road at a roundabout if necessary.
However, you’ll need to treat it like any other road and cross only at the marked crosswalks.
If there’s no crosswalk, you can cross one street at a time as you would usually cross. There’s no reason for you to enter the traffic circle or try to cross diagonally.
Yes, it can take more time to cross the road this way, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Are Pedestrians Allowed on Bridges?
Pedestrians are allowed on some bridges, such as pedestrian bridges made specifically for people walking. However, you may not be allowed on all bridges.
This is particularly true of bridges that are part of the interstate highway system. You also may not be allowed on a bridge if it’s for cars and there’s no sidewalk or shoulder.
These restrictions are for your safety, and it’s not worth ignoring them. Finding another place to cross, such as a different bridge, is better.
Are Pedestrians Allowed on Dual Carriageways?
A dual carriageway is a road with a median between the two directions of traffic.
This design allows drivers to go a bit faster since there’s minimal risk of cars hitting oncoming traffic.
Because of that, it’s also not the safest place for pedestrians to walk. In the UK, for example, it’s illegal for pedestrians to walk on dual carriageways that are motorways.
I couldn’t find any concrete evidence of the legality of walking on dual carriageways. However, I would recommend avoiding them if you can.
Look for a nearby sidewalk, or walk along a parallel road with a lower speed limit.
Are Pedestrians Allowed on Private Roads?
Pedestrians are only allowed on private roads if they have permission from the property owner.
You should see a sign noting that you’re about to enter a private area.
If so, consider if you know the owner and if they’d be okay with you walking there. Otherwise, you’ll want to turn around and find a public road to get to your destination.
This applies whether you’re walking, driving, or riding a bike. These restrictions may not be from the government, but you could be considered a trespasser if you enter someone’s property without their permission.
Pedestrians are allowed mostly on sidewalks, but you may not always have one.
As long as you’re in town, you should be able to walk along the shoulder or even in a bike lane.
However, you should avoid walking on the side of highways and freeways. Even if there’s no law against it, the high speed of drivers makes it dangerous to be a passenger in that environment.