Like many of you, I am a runner. However, most of Houston and Harris County is not setup to travel by foot. If you do not live near one the city’s amazing running trails, navigating the traffic and dodging cars is often a challenge.
Running or walking with cars can be dangerous. The Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 552, outlines the rules of the road for pedestrians aka runners, joggers, and walkers. This blog post will also tackle the biggest question among those on foot versus those traveling by vehicle: Who has the right of way?
Here are some tips to avoid an accident and to ensure you are on the right side of the law?
1. Sidewalks. When there is a sidewalk, you must use it! A pedestrian may not run, walk or jog along and on a roadway if an adjacent sidewalk is provided and is accessible to the pedestrian.
2. No Sidewalks. When there is NO sidewalk, a runner, jogger or walker that is traveling along and on a highway must, if possible, run, walk or jog on: (a) the left side of the roadway; or (b) the shoulder of the highway facing oncoming traffic.
3. Traffic Control Signals. A traffic control signal, displaying green, red, and yellow lights or lighted arrows, apply to a pedestrian unless the pedestrian is otherwise directed by a special pedestrian control signal.
4. IF a Control Signal is Present, Pedestrian Right of Way. (a) A pedestrian control signal displaying “Walk,” “Don’t Walk,” or “Wait” applies to a pedestrian; (b) a pedestrian facing a “Walk” signal can walk, run or job across a roadway in the direction of the signal. A driver must yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian; and (c) a pedestrian cannot start to cross a roadway in the direction of a “Don’t Walk” signal or a “Wait” signal. A pedestrian who has partially crossed while the “Walk” signal is displayed can continue to run, walk or job to a sidewalk or safety island while the “Don’t Walk” signal or “Wait” signal is displayed.
5. Pedestrian Right-of-way at Crosswalk. (A) Drivers must yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway in a crosswalk if:
(i) there is no traffic control signal or if it is not working properly; or
(ii) the pedestrian is:
(a) on the half of the roadway in which the vehicle is traveling; or
(b) approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
TWO BIG No-Nos
(1) A pedestrian cannot suddenly leave a curb or a place of safety and proceed into a crosswalk in the path of a vehicle
(2) A driver approaching from the rear of a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross a roadway cannot pass the stopped vehicle.
These rules are here to protect the runner as well as the driver. By staying on the side of the road facing traffic, you can see approaching cars and bicycles and they can see you. Wear reflective gear when running in the dark. Stay on the sidewalk when you can and never ever assume that a vehicle is going to stop for you. If possible, make eye contact with the driver before you proceed. Let them go by unless they yield to you, and then continue your workout.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured while walking or running, call Houston Accident and Pedestrian Lawyer Farrah Martinez at (713) 853-9296. It takes a runner to understand one!