Tips for People Who Walk

To get from COMPETE streets to COMPLETE streets, half of the equation is attitude!

Assume Nothing

You know what they say about when you assume? Well the consequences are much more than embarrassment when you make the wrong assumption as a pedestrian. Three pro tips to follow:

  • Don’t assume the person driving sees you
  • Don’t assume that they will stop when you step into the crosswalk
  • Don’t assume the car the next lane over will also stop

We are all for asserting your rights as a pedestrian but we really would like to keep you alive. If you feel the need to assume something, assume the motorist is distracted because that is how a lot of crashes happen.  If you’re distracted as well all hope is lost. And guess who loses when a car and a pedestrian meet in a crash?

And we are not just talking about crossing in the middle of the road. Remember most crashes happen at intersections with traffic lights and crosswalks. So keep an eye out for motorists making turns. They are likely to be more focused on other cars than on you.

There is indeed safety in numbers. When there are lots of people out walking around, motorists are much more likely to notice you in a crosswalk. Where you need to be extra careful are in the places where pedestrian activity is not as common.

Just Walk

Left Foot, Right Foot, Repeat

  • Route

    Mistake number one – you walk the same route you drive.  Which just might be the ugliest, most unpleasant and dangerous way possible.  Remember, Google Maps is your friend.  Look for routes with street lights, sidewalks and decent crosswalks.  And find a route that energizes you, hint – parks, greenspace and water do wonders.

  • Get a Walking Buddy

    Sometimes the biggest barrier to walking is fear – fear of what may happen to you when you are out walking by yourself. Sometimes the barrier is just plain old inertia – it takes some serious motivation to change! So why not kill two birds with one stone – get a walking buddy. Think of like a carpool or gym buddy. You help each other out and together can you can do this thing!

  • Nope, You Can’t Multi-task

    Sorry, read the research.  Do yourself and everyone else a favor,  unplug the headphones, hang up the phone, and stop texting at least until you are out of traffic.  Do this and you just might find some interesting people to talk to and some cool things happening around you.

  • Attire

    We get it, you are probably not going to wear a safety vest walking to work and orange is not your color. But if you are wearing all back (I’m talking to you architects) don’t go acting all surprised if a motorist doesn’t see you trying to cross the road at night.  And if your mother couldn’t convince you to wear sensible footwear we don’t have a chance.

  • It’s Not an Expedition

    Walking to the corner store or to work is not the same as climbing Mount Everest, no special equipment is required.  But if you are out for the day just remember you live in Michigan and the weather will change so layers and a folding umbrella may come in handy.

Walk to School

A Win for Kids, Teachers and Parents

  • Up Hill, Both Ways!

    It is a time honored tradition that is being lost – complaining about your walk to school as a kid.  Turns out getting a little exercise on the way to and from school is a pretty good deal for everyone. Just ask a teacher about the difference between a kid who walks and a kid who is driven.  It is such a good idea there are entire national and state programs have been set up to help address the issues you never used to worry about when you were young. To learn how your school can become involved go to Safe Routes 2 School.

  • A Bus without Wheels

    There is a set route, scheduled stops and even a “driver,” the only thing missing is the vehicle.  Informal and formal Walking School Buses are a great way to get to school. For more information on how to implement a walking school bus check out  SR2S – Walking School Bus Info

  • A Train Without a Track

    Is it little far to walk to school, but you like the idea of a walking school bus? Try a bike train! All the cool elements of a walking school bus but this time with wheels, lots of wheels. National SRTS Bike Train Info.

  • We Have Met The Enemy...

    … and he is us (with apologies to Walt Kelly’s Pogo). We understand you live too far away or have too dangerous a route for your kid to walk or bike to school. Simply don’t drive them all the way and let them finish the trip on foot. Some schools are even setting up designated drop-off spots. Surprisingly most kids do not melt in the rain or turn to ice cubes when it is cold. This also makes life much easier for everyone by reducing the congestion at the school. Reduced driving stress for parents, little exercise for kids and less pollution being pumped out at the front door of the school, it’s a win, win, win! Check out Park and Walk to get more information.