Monday, October 13, 2008

Which Side is the Right Side?

After my recent post where I mentioned that people walking on the wrong side of the street really, really bug me, I had a couple people comment that they didn't know there was a right side or a wrong side. I'm convinced that most people in my town don't know the difference either, because most of the time I see them walking on the wrong side of the street. I once even mentioned it to a police officer here in our village, and she didn't even know.

The rule is that, where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians are supposed to walk on the left side of the street, facing traffic. In London, Lady Banana, you'd walk on the right side - again facing traffic. This way, if the driver of the car you meet doesn't happen to see you - because he or she is on the phone or changing the CD in the stereo, or just otherwise occupied - you have a chance to get out of the way. If you're walking on the other side of the street, with the traffic coming behind you, and a car starts coming toward you, you will not see it.

In my small town, it's usually not a big safety issue. However, the days are getting shorter, and it is dark in the mornings when we walk. I always try to wear something light-colored so the drivers have a better chance to see me, but Jeffrey has been wearing dark clothes, and there have been a few times when it was obvious the driver did not see him until the last minute. Since we walk facing the oncoming traffic, we see them coming, and Jeffrey moved over out of the way, just in case.

This is especially bothering me right now, because a young girl in Wisconsin was walking home from a party not too long ago, and she was killed by a drunk driver. It keeps being brought up on the news because the driver is on trial now. When the news crews went out to shoot video of the scene, they walked along the right-hand shoulder of the road. I don't know for sure that she was walking on the wrong side. I'm just guessing based on the news footage and because they say she was heading home from the same party the driver was. So, what if she was? Obviously the driver was drunk, and it is his fault. I'm not arguing with that. What bothers me is that, if she was walking with her back to traffic, she didn't have a chance. If she had been facing traffic, she would have at least had the chance to get out of the way. Did her parents not teach her? Did they not know themselves? It shocks me how many people don't seem to know.
Related articles by me:
More (not by me):


  1. Aha! I get you now! I wasn't thinking of walking along roads with no pavements.

    Living in London we don't have any roads where that would be a problem but where I grew up there were a lot of country roads and lanes where we did indeed have to make sure we walked on the correct side in order to see and be seen!

  2. Hey - thanks for this info... seriously. I've been doing it wrong. A lot of my problem is - these are all country roads out here, and everyone FLIES down them (i.e. over 55 mph)and they don't always stay on their side of the road (i.e. drive down the middle or drive on the wrong side)... they are also usually hilly and there isn't much of a berm. So, I just have to keep my ears open, I guess, because if I walk facing traffic up one of these hills, I'm scared to death of someone coming flying over that hill with no time to stop and no time for me to get outta the way.

    OK - sorry for the long comment.

    By the way...
    what's a sidewalk? bwahahahaha.

  3. I agree. We don't have any sidewalks up here but a lot of folks walk on the wrong side. Of course since there is no public transport they are mostly hitch hikers but it is pretty dangerous as people drive very fast and there not much room to get out of the way.


I love your comments! Keep them coming.