Safe Routes Scoop

Safety First:

Walking and Bicycling at Night

is no state manual, standards, or design guide that comprehensively addresses pedestrian lighting needs.

 

While there is some technical guidance on providing lighting for pedestrians in the context of street crossings and motor vehicle traffic, this information is fragmented, making it difficult to assimilate and apply. As a result, pedestrian lighting in New Jersey is more a by-product of lighting on roadways and private properties.

 

The VTC report found that physical improvements to improve pedestrian safety typically have been limited to facilities such as sidewalks, barrier curbing, and traffic-calming infrastructure; the VTC report recommends that lighting also be considered. In fact, the VTC  report recommends that pedestrian lighting should become a mandatory part of roadway design and that the importance of pedestrian lighting issues should be promoted as a key pedestrian safety measure.

 

Improving Your Safety Odds
While it may never be possible to make walking and bicycling as safe at night as during the day, there are a number of steps individuals can take to reduce the risks of an accident for themselves and their loved ones.

 

If You Walk at Night:

  • Be extra vigilant while walking in any street environment at night
  • Never assume that a driver will be able to see you, even in well-lit areas, or that a driver will see and stop for you, even when you have the right of way
  • Be extra cautious while crossing any street and make the effort to cross at well-lit crosswalks and signalized intersections
  • Be vigilant when crossing multi-lane highways where a large portion of fatal pedestrian accidents occur. If you must walk along a highway, stay as far away from the travel lanes as possible
  • Walk facing traffic whenever possible during the night or day so you can see oncoming cars and make evasive maneuvers if needed. Walking facing traffic is essential on roads with no sidewalks, but is also recommended on roadways where adequate sidewalks are available
  • When jogging or walking at night, take extra precautions, such as:
    o Wear a reflective vest
    o Use exercise gear with reflective piping and panels, particularly running shoes, or reflective wrist and ankle bands
    o Use red Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights similar to those cyclists use for tail lights, or wear vests or other clothing articles that include LED lights
    o Carry a lit flashlight so you will be more easily seen by drivers and to provide a light source when needed
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