Knowing who is considered a pedestrian is an essential element when it comes to learning about traffic laws.
This not only helps to keep you safe but also works to learn who is at fault in the case of an accident.
A big misconception is that a pedestrian always has the right of way when traveling in traffic, but this is not the case.
So, how exactly is a pedestrian defined, and who is considered to be a pedestrian?
Types of Pedestrians:
A pedestrian, by definition, is a person who is walking or running along a road or commercial property. A pedestrian is anyone who is walking onto a property that is not considered to be private. In some countries, animals like dogs can be considered pedestrians, too.
What Types of Pedestrians Are There?
When classifying pedestrians, there are three general categories people will fall into:
First, you have walkers. These are people who are out and about walking around.
Their reasons include walking to work, running errands, or having lunch with friends.
Next, you have pedestrians who are exercising. This includes runners and walkers.
Anyone who is out for a stroll or a light jog in the hopes of getting some exercise falls under this classification of pedestrians.
Unlike people walking to work, this classification of pedestrians specifically refers to people working while out on the street.
Most notably, people will naturally think about people working on the roads like construction workers; however, this includes a much larger group of people.
Think about all the people you see working while you are out and about. People are always working.
Whether handing out flyers or serving coffee to people on the sidewalk, they are considered pedestrians.
Are Skateboarders Considered Pedestrians?
Skateboarders, by definition, are considered to be pedestrians.
To be considered a pedestrian, you must be on foot or have assistance from a “self-propelled vehicle.”
Since a skateboard is technically considered a “self-propelled vehicle,” skateboarders are classified as pedestrians.
However, it does get a little bit tricky when it comes to what rules skateboarders should follow.
When on public property, skateboarders must follow the same rules as pedestrians. They have to adhere to all pedestrian traffic laws, like waiting to cross when they are signaled and show reasonable concern for the safety and well-being of the people around them.
What About Scooters?
When electric scooters first launched, they changed how cities could classify pedestrians since they are technically “self-powered.”
This meant that they had to follow the same regulations that other motor vehicles had to, which caused some problems.
This had a ripple effect when it came to skateboarding. So, since skateboarders are considered pedestrians, they still have to follow pedestrian guidelines when skating on the streets.
Regarding private property, skateboarding will be considered trespassing.
Are Bicyclists Considered Pedestrians?
Unlike skateboarders, bicyclists are not considered to be pedestrians even though they are not on foot and use a self-propelled vehicle to move.
This is because all bikes and cyclists are classified as motor traffic. This means that cyclists on the road should be considered motor vehicles.
This is important because this means that bicyclists have to follow motor traffic laws and regulations as opposed to pedestrian laws.
While many bigger cities have added extra lanes specifically meant for bikes, not all areas have a clear path for bikes to move on a busy street. This is why it is so important that bicyclists follow traffic laws.
More specifically, cyclists have to follow traffic laws regarding the safety of pedestrians. Bikes should yield to pedestrians and make sure to stop at all traffic lights and stop signs, especially if a crosswalk is present.
Cyclists should exercise the same caution when riding that motor vehicles have to do to avoid hitting pedestrians.
Are Workers (Emergency and Non-Emergency) Considered Pedestrians?
While you might immediately think of ambulance drivers and firefighters as emergency workers, there are other people to consider.
For example, if a car crash were to occur, more people would be on the scene than just ambulance drivers or firefighters. Tow truck drivers, emergency vehicle workers like EMT workers, and utility workers like power line engineers would all be called in during an emergency.
This is especially true for road workers who are actively repairing the roads or infrastructure at the time of an emergency incident.
Since all of these types of people are considered “emergency pedestrians,” the punishment for hitting them with a car is far more severe than hitting everyday pedestrians.
Most commonly, when entering a road construction zone, you will often see signs that reduce the speed limit.
If the speed limit is exceeded, injuring an emergency worker, you can receive a fine of up to $10,000 plus hefty jail time, depending on your state.
Are Dogs Considered Pedestrians?
If you’re like me, your dog or animal is considered to be a huge part of your human family. However, a dog does not fit the bill regarding being a pedestrian.
But, motor vehicles must still treat the dog as a pedestrian if the dog is being walked on a leash by a human companion. This means that cars and trucks must yield to dogs in the crosswalk and show reasonable concern for their well-being.
It should also be noted that these rules only really apply in the US.
This is because other countries have made separate pedestrian categories, including animals. Most notably, in Scotland, dogs are considered to be “animal pedestrians.”
This means that whether or not a human is walking the animal, motorists still need to watch out for them, and in some cases, the animal will have the right of way!
Are Sanitation Workers Considered Pedestrians?
Sanitation workers fall under the category of “working pedestrians.” However, there are some limitations to this rule.
The sanitation worker must be outside the vehicle collecting trash to be considered a pedestrian. Once the workers re-enter the sanitation truck by either driving or hanging off the back, they are considered to be motorists.
This got a little bit tricky when trying to figure out who was at fault during a sanitation accident.
Since sanitation workers have to stick to a fairly strict schedule and make their runs by a certain time, there was an increase in pedestrian incidents where pedestrians were being injured by sanitation trucks that were in a rush.
To clarify the rules, state regulations added the restriction that sanitation workers are only considered pedestrians when they are out of the vehicle.
This means that sanitation workers must follow motor vehicle regulations when the truck is in motion and steer clear of any pedestrians.
Are Joggers and Runners Considered Pedestrians?
Joggers, speed walkers, and runners are considered pedestrians because they fall under the “exercise” category.
Unlike pedestrians who are trying to get from point A to point B, exercise pedestrians may not always follow a specific path.
It is important that motorists be aware of these types of pedestrians because they may not always be aware of what is happening around them while exercising.
This is because exercising pedestrians generally wear headphones to listen to music or podcasts while they are out on a jog.
However, it is still both the motorist’s and pedestrians’ responsibility to show a general concern for each other’s well-being.
Are People On Scooters Considered Pedestrians?
The basic answer to whether or not people on scooters are considered pedestrians is yes, but also no.
To be classified as a pedestrian, you must either be traveling on foot or with the assistance of a self-propelled vehicle. A self-propelled vehicle is something that you control using your own energy source with no assistance from a motor or battery.
Scooters that are 100% controlled by the person using their own energy to move them forward are considered pedestrians and should follow pedestrian rules.
However, in the case of electric scooters, things can get a little trickier.
Since electric scooters use a motor to move you forward, they cannot be considered pedestrians and must be classified as motor vehicles. But, unlike cars and trucks, electric scooters should not travel on the road and must stick to bike lanes or sidewalks.
This is mainly because electric scooters only travel at 15 MPH, meaning that if they were to travel alongside cars at a higher speed, it is a surefire way to cause an accident.
So, while electric scooters are not considered to be pedestrians, they must still follow pedestrian rules.