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Old 14th August 2018, 13:15   #1
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Default Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

On Team-BHP, we've discussed safe driving & safe riding. From Airbags & ESP to blind spots & overtaking properly. But what about safe walking?

While most of us prefer to reach our destinations on 4 or 2 wheels, sometimes, walking on public roads is inevitable. It is also an important mode of transportation as people relying on any sort of public transport have to walk to the nearest bus / train / metro stop. Conversely, even for leisure & fitness, I'm sure many BHPians go out for a walk around their homes / offices.

However, we must also be aware of the increasing hazards for pedestrians. Cars have gotten faster, footpaths are filled with hawkers, metros are getting too crowded, crossing a road has become more difficult and you might even find parked vehicles in the space reserved for pedestrians. There is no doubt that the pedestrian is an incredibly vulnerable road user.

As responsible and safe drivers, it is imperative that we practice the following safety tips as pedestrians too.

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Last edited by GTO : 14th August 2018 at 13:28.
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Old 14th August 2018, 13:15   #2
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Things to consider as a pedestrian

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• As an unprotected walker, it’s imperative that you are able to share the road with other vehicles in a safe manner. Being India, you will encounter a lot of obstructions which you need to be careful of.

• It's best to avoid distractions - NEVER walk with headphones playing music, while on a call, or the worst, while texting.

• In case of a collision with a road vehicle, it's no contest. However right you might be, it’s the pedestrian that ends up getting hurt the most. Always double check if you can make it safely across or WAIT till you are confident enough. Golden rule = If in two minds, don't do it.

• Consider the time of the day as well. While a patch of road might be perfectly fine during daytime, it could be home to anti-social elements at night.

• One extra pedestrian = 1 less car on the road. While walking unreasonably long distances is impractical, you don't need to take the car out to visit a place 400m away from your home. Walking is healthier for you & your car (engines hate short-distance trips).

• In peak traffic, walking to your destination might actually work out faster than driving!

• If walking with someone else, always have women / children / senior citizens walk on the inside (away from the traffic).

• Shoes - Just as we consider the best tyres for our rides, don't skimp on proper footwear. While flip-flops might be fine inside the house, get a good pair of covered shoes for public areas. Ladies, you might like high heels, but they are not the best to walk in. Not only would they tire your legs out, heels could also pose a hazard over drainage grates on the footpath.

• Understand the limitations of others if you are walking in a group. As an example, I wouldn't subject my grandmother to the same walk that I do every day.

Last edited by GTO : 14th August 2018 at 13:18.
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Old 14th August 2018, 13:15   #3
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Best practices to follow as a pedestrian

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• Keep your eyes, ears and even the nose open when walking. Despite a cacophony on our roads, watch out for certain sounds like emergency services, horns etc.

• Use the footpath wherever usable. However, be careful of hazards like broken drainage covers, hawkers, uneven surfaces, gaps created due to the use of paver blocks etc. Also be mindful of open gutters, stones, poop and waste thrown around.

Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices-04.jpg

• Look on both sides - India is notorious for wrong side driving. Always double check when around intersections or crossing the street. Look left and right, and then do it again, and again. With our incredibly busy streets and erratic traffic, it’s easy to miss spotting something - be it a bicycle or a truck!! It doesn't hurt to look a 2nd or 3rd time.

• Whenever possible, walk in the direction where you are facing the traffic. You don't want to be hit by an idiot driver / rider from behind. If you are facing the traffic, you'll be able to avoid that idiot.

• Always cross the street perpendicularly.

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• If possible, use foot over bridges or subways when available. However, be careful when these are not crowded (e.g. early morning, late night) due to criminal activities.

• If you want to cross a multi-road intersection diagonally, cross each road separately rather than cutting across to the point you want to go to.

• I reiterate, when walking with a child / woman / senior citizen / pet, you should be the one between the traffic and them. Have them walk on the inside.

• When walking with pets or small children, be mindful of oncoming headlights. Due to their lower height, even the low beams can be blinding.

• Be aware of potential blind spots. In a multi-lane road, don't dart across if one vehicle is standing still on the side. Other vehicles in the second lane won't see you coming. You could be in the blind spot of another vehicle going down the road. This blind spot is perfectly illustrated via this image from the Cabinet Office's website (UK) (Picture Source)


Last edited by GTO : 14th August 2018 at 13:18.
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Old 14th August 2018, 13:22   #4
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Road Safety Section. Thanks for sharing, Blackwasp!

Rating 5 stars . It will surely make you a more cautious pedestrian. And that tip about distractions (e.g. headphones) is gold. One evening in a recent year, I almost got run over by a taxi because I was distracted by the loud music I was listening to. It was really, really close. Be safe guys - whether moving on tyres or your shoes.

The first crash in this video perfectly illustrates the blind spot we're talking about.

Last edited by GTO : 14th August 2018 at 13:27.
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Old 14th August 2018, 13:34   #5
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

One simple bit that can avoid a lot of pedestrian crossing incidents:

Never try to cross traffic faster at the expense of keeping your balance, esp. if you're crossing multiple sections. Have seen plenty of incidents where a pedestrian runs across one half of a divided road, is unable to stop or retain balance, and stumbles/falls over the divider onto the other half (or worse, bumps someone else already waiting to cross), sometimes into moving traffic.

I'm not advocating jaywalking or moving in slow motion like you own the place, but it's easy to get pressured into going faster than you're comfortable with. I personally cross streets at brisk walking pace and never run, safest for me and wastes minimal time for waiting traffic. If traffic is thick, I prefer waiting for a gap (one invariably opens up) than darting across.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 14th August 2018 at 13:40.
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Old 14th August 2018, 13:54   #6
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Excellent thread Sir.

Pedestrians crossing the road especially when it turns green, highly irritating it is. When the signal was RED, they wait by the road. Can't understand why they do it. Seen this behaviour a lot in Hyderabad.

Also if the traffic density is less on any particular signal, I spot many pedestrians crossing the road when the signal is still green. It is literally suicidal because traffic doesn't slow down on any intersections till it turns RED.

How Hyderabadi's interpret traffic signals particularly who are driving/riding:
Green Signal = Fast pace;
Orange/Amber Signal = Even faster pace.

Another set of pedestrian behaviour which I've observed are, they just raise their hands, show their palm like a traffic police and walk across the road. It is headache of the driver/rider to slow down or dodge them to avoid getting hit.

Points like usage of headphones, jaywalking are all covered so don't want to repeat it.

Last edited by a4anurag : 14th August 2018 at 14:12. Reason: Typo!
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:05   #7
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Thanks for this eye opening thread blackwasp

A tip i'd like to contribute is that never be (Or look) confused as a pedestrian as that may create an uncertainty for the person behind the wheel in a accident like scenario & increase the chance of a mistake which could be avoided.

An eye contact (if possible) between the driver & pedestrian would surely help clear expectations and avoid confusion related tragedy

Last edited by karan561 : 14th August 2018 at 14:13. Reason: Typo !
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:09   #8
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

As you get off a bus, if you have to get to the other side, never cross in front of the bus. It is a huge blindspot for traffic coming from behind. Also, the bus driver would be eager to start off causing urgency to cross the road. Always wait for the bus to clear off, or get behind the bus and then cross.

Also, when getting off a bus, watch for two wheelers sneaking in from the left (Specially in Bengaluru)

Also, even when the traffic is in a standstill, never cross in front of the bus, it is as good as a wall for two wheelers coming from behind.

When crossing on a zebra crossing, even if you have pedestrian GREEN, watch in both directions, specially for those who are trying to jump signals.

Bangalore is full of ring roads with no pedestrian crossing. I always avoid crossing alone. I only move when I am in a group.

Cross the ringroad where everyone expects some pedestrian traffic. Usually junctions. Never try crossing where you are least expected to cross.

Bengaluru medians have a lot of bushes grown on them. If you are beind a bush, never cross, as you will not be noticed until the last second.

Waving mobile torch while crossing in the night is a bad idea. Don't cross where there is not much light

Try to be slow and steady while crossing. Trying to run could mislead oncoming drivers. Remember, a cow never gets hit. While dogs are always run over.
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:20   #9
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
Look on both sides - India is notorious for wrong side driving. Always double check when around intersections or crossing the street. Look left and right, and then do it again, and again. With our incredibly busy streets and erratic traffic, it’s easy to miss spotting something - be it a bicycle or a truck!! It doesn't hurt to look a 2nd or 3rd time.
I had been run over by a bike that came out of a bylane, and then on the wrong side. There was no way I could have spotted it. Had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital as a result. I believe, we need far harsher laws to deal with the menace of reckless wrong side driving.

Last edited by GTO : 15th August 2018 at 12:08. Reason: Trimming quoted post
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:20   #10
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

If you go for regular walks at dawn/dusk/night, consider wearing a neon high visibility jacket/vest. Makes a big difference in being spotted by a sleepy 2/4 wheel driver.

Cheers,
Vikram

Last edited by comfortablynumb : 14th August 2018 at 14:21.
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:35   #11
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Excellent thread. I typically do a lot of walking. Most points have been nicely covered. Key best practices I keep in mind.
  • As already mentioned walk facing traffic especially on smaller roads.
  • Even when on footpaths-Unfortunately in Bangalore- Need to watch out for Two-Wheeler traffic. So on foot paths also better to walk facing the traffic.
  • On Narrow roads without footpaths, like when you while driving, keep an eye on the drivers and riders also. A small swerve is sufficient for them to hit you. So like defensive driving, practice defensive walking also.
  • When crossing a busy road, wait till a small group builds up. Don't try to dart across alone.
  • Keep in mind the braking capacity of the vehicles coming towards you when you decide to cross or put up your hand. Don't expect a bus or a decades old tractor or lorry to have the braking capacity of a modern car.
  • Use subways and over-bridges where available-Even if it means walking a bit. We have a tendency to still risk crossing the road and even climbing over medians and fences. Don't do that please.
  • There are junctions with proper signalling systems. In such places wait for the pedestrian signals. Don't block green signal traffic.
  • Pedestrian Pelican signals are rarely respected. Keep that in mind and be very watchful.
  • Avoid walking with anything expensive held in hand-Purse/Mobile for example. Keep those out of sight when walking.

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 14th August 2018 at 14:42.
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:55   #12
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Fantastic thread and a very important subject IMO.

I think the biggest distraction for pedestrian these days is the mobile phone. I rarely see people walking without their eyes glued to the phone screen, or their ears glued to the phone speaker or ear phones stuck in their ears. With our attention diverted, we are putting ourselves at a great risk. People won't stop using their phones while driving, expecting them to give up the phone while walking is too much to expect I suppose.

Adding to the good practices mentioned by others
  • Do not get distracted by mobile devices
  • Make sure you are visible and signal your intentions as early as possible.
  • Do not attempt to cross a two way street without accounting for traffic from both directions. A stationary bus can perfectly hide a car zooming up from behind.
  • Do not make unpredictable moves.
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Old 14th August 2018, 14:58   #13
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Thanks for taking the initiative to start this important thread, black wasp.
Many times, I have seen people start crossing the road without giving a thought to the oncoming traffic. They simply assume that it is the duty of the oncoming vehicle to spot the pedestrians and stop at a distance to let pedestrians pass. This is wrong, Vehicles at the open sections (with no zebra crossing) are not obliged to do that, pedestrians are. Pedestrians must wait for the volume of traffic to reduce or it is at a significant distance to cross the road.
One more problem with the pedestrians I often see is ignoring foot-over bridges and underpasses to save a few minutes and some energy. This must stop and law enforcement should come with better solutions for this.
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Old 14th August 2018, 15:53   #14
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
Excellent thread Sir.

Pedestrians crossing the road especially when it turns green, highly irritating it is. When the signal was RED, they wait by the road. Can't understand why they do it. Seen this behaviour a lot in Hyderabad.

Also if the traffic density is less on any particular signal, I spot many pedestrians crossing the road when the signal is still green. It is literally suicidal because traffic doesn't slow down on any intersections till it turns RED.

[b][/u].

Another set of pedestrian behaviour which I've observed are, they just raise their hands, show their palm like a traffic police and walk across the road. It is headache of the driver/rider to slow down or dodge them to avoid getting hit.

Points like usage of headphones, jaywalking are all covered so don't want to repeat it.
I just got into an argument with a guy this morning while coming to office for the same reason.
He just crossed the road without even checking the traffic when our side signal turned green. It such a regular habit in Bangalore as well
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Old 14th August 2018, 16:02   #15
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Default Re: Safety as a Pedestrian - Tips, advice & best practices

Very nice thread.

As a pedestrian, do not assume or expect motorists will respect you, or give you right of way, or even have any empathy for you. This is something that people from abroad/NRIs struggle to wrap their heads around (or should I say that we motorists in India fail to respect?).

So, even if you're crossing a street briskly, expect to be honked at by an approaching vehicle, because the driver thinks it is easier for you to somehow move even faster, than it is for him to very lightly brush his brake pedal.

Another thing to bear in mind is that if you're walking for health/fitness reasons, find a safe park area to walk, rather than street pavements, if maintaining a particular tempo or speed is important.

Conversely, as I often like to joke, Bangalore's pavements offer an all-rounded parkour workout, while crossing Chennai's streets (like the OMR) teach you how to function properly with an adrenaline rush.
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