South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership
27 Dec 2020
2020 will be a year to remember for many reasons. For me it was the year that we walked, when my fitness tracker went into overdrive counting my steps. My walks provided a welcome escape from the confines of the house and gave me chance to clear my head.

We found routes and footpaths that we never knew existed, even after 20 years of living here. We enjoyed the warm spring days, watched the corn shoot up in the fields and our footsteps wore a rut in the path.  The crops were harvested and the fields were ploughed.

As summer made way for autumn the leaves fell and the hours of daylight disappeared. Undeterred, we kitted ourselves out with hats, gloves, Wellington boots, high vis vests and torches to set out on our usual route. The torch is essential to illuminate our way across the fields.

The hi vis is just as important to make sure we are seen by motorists when walking on the road back into the village. And also necessary is the knowledge of how to give ourselves the best chance of staying out of danger on those parts of the road where there is no pavement.

The Highway Code officers valuable advice on this and we don't have to read very far. Guidance for pedestrians starts on page 1 and rule 2 tells us what to do if walking along a road with no pavement. Keep to the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Walking against the flow of traffic gives us the opportunity to see approaching vehicles and take evasive action if drivers do not give us enough room.

Staying close to the side of the road, we walk in single file where the roads are narrow. At the right hand bend in the road we cross well before, so the oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing us. We cross back after the bend. Our hi-vis garb with reflective panels helps drivers to see us in the headlights up to three times as far away as non reflective materials.

So, if you're out walking in rural areas please be mindful of this advice. And drivers look out for us and be respectful of those on foot, slow down when you see us and give us more space where traffic is light and there is room to pull out as you pass.    

Walking is good for my soul, but I need to exercise caution as well as my legs and think about other road users to make sure they have the best chance to see me on dark rural roads. Always look out for others and respect each other’s needs on the road.

Stay safe until next time.