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Traffic Week: Not-So-Smart Joggers and Pedestrians with Death Wishes


Pedestrians have to follow the law, too. The Oregon Pedestrian Rights [and responsibilities] website links to laws and other resources.

I drove (very slowly) past a jogger the other day. It was a dark, gloomy, wet early – very early – morning. The not-so-smart jogger was in the street, jogging in the same direction as traffic, on a narrow 2-way street, dressed in black, WITH HEADPHONES ON.

This person definitely had a death wish. We all see this every day. I’m a hard-core pedestrian and public transit rider, someone who drives very, very little, and these pedestrians make me very nervous. (I suppose it’s the same way bad bicyclists make good bicyclists nervous and irritable.)

I know sidewalks have their own hazards (that’s another blog topic), but pedestrians, please, don’t just jump into the street – it’s not safer than staying put for a moment and looking both ways. Besides, the law is not on your side if you cause the accident.

I was driving on another dark and wet morning and saw a jogger on the sidewalk to my right, running in the same direction I was driving. He calmly jogged off the sidewalk into the street without looking and kept running – to jog, to run, perhaps to die? I had to swerve and shared a “is he crazy” signal with another jogger who saw the whole thing.

Pedestrians have to follow the law. Joggers are pedestrians, too. The Oregon Pedestrian Rights [and responsibilities] website links to laws and other resources.

Cars are heavy – and deadly. I’d rather risk a fall on a sidewalk than a collision with a car.

Smart joggers, walkers, runners know they aren’t easy to see. Wear bright colors, flashing lights, or be very, very careful.

Pedestrian Law (book and OLR blog links): a Legal Guide for Persons on Foot and the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition.

Traffic Week and Traffic Law OLR blog posts.


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