By Michael Armijo
California – As kids, our parents warned us heavily to never ever walk in the middle of the street. It was viewed as a spot where no one could go. However, looking around today, it is clear to see that the sidewalk has become more of a suggestion than a requirement. More and more people every day are walking just by the curb or close to in the middle of the street. Even though it seems that this is simply just accepted by the law, it is very much illegal and you can get cited.
California Vehicle Code 21956 states, “No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway.”
“Walking in the street is a very citable offense,” said LA County Sheriff Captain Alfred Reyes, “it’s about safety more than anything else.”
The Captain explained that cross walks are in place for a reason, and so are sidewalks.
“It’s definitely not wise for anyone to walk in the street,” Reyes added, “the best practice are utilizing sidewalks for pedestrian traffic, sidewalks are safest, do not place yourself in harms way.”
Runners and walkers can sometimes use bike lanes, and bike lanes may not be always safe for runners or pedestrians, but no lane is definitely not safe. It is safest to utilize the sidewalk.
At night always wear reflective clothing, joggers and bikers, Captain Reyes recommends. “If you choose to jog in a bike lane there is always the distracted drivers element. It’s amazing how we see sooo many people look at phones, even on the freeway,” he said.
Just a few months ago, Pastor Mark Lee from Vantage Point Church in Eastvale, sister church from Diamond Bar’s E-Free Church, was running in the bike lane at 9 am when he was struck by a passing truck’s right side view mirror. He spend weeks in rehabilitation and is still reluctant to do certain activities. The driver was cited as being at fault. Fortunately he delivered an inspiring sermon on the importance of cherishing your life.
The Sheriff’s Department will cite runners and bikers in the bike lake who do not wear reflective clothing and bikers who do not have reflectors and a headlight. You are required to have lights on yur bike at night.
Many people do not get ticketed for walking in the street and it appears because of priority. In fact, if you are getting stopped, odds are the officer is concerned about your safety. Sure, walking on a roadway might not get you a serious ticket, but it might get you a serious injury, even death.
In Eastvale, California (bordering Chino), a 28 year old woman was killed last month when she was struck by a vehicle. 28 year old Janine Chavez of Eastvale was walking in the roadway, not inside a crosswalk, Eastvale Sheriff’s officials said. The Eastvale death happened about 7:45 p.m., Chavez was hit by a southbound a Honda Accord driven by a 51-year-old Ontario man, sheriff’s officials said in a press release.
Chavez was pronounced dead at the scene. It has not yet been determined who’s at fault but the report stated she was not in a sidewalk and appeared to be walking in the road. Details are being gathered, and according to the Sheriff’s Department, avoiding the street can avoid injuries and fatalities.
According to everybodywalk.org, over 4,500 people in America are killed just crossing the street. The website also claims that over 68,000 people are injured every year from crossing the street. This is even worse in crowded cities like New York, where it is estimated that a pedestrian is killed or injured by a vehicle every two hours.
The only one who can prevent such actions taking place is the pedestrian. Using sidewalks and obeying traffic signs will keep you safe and lawful. If you want to know more about other laws in the California Vehicle Code, dmv.ca.gov has the complete Vehicle Code on their website. (Chandler Holloway contributed to this story)