In the past year, we've seen headlines about Texans being cited for simply walking on the wrong side of the street. Last night, I experienced firsthand why it's crucial for Texas law enforcement to strictly uphold this law.

Driving home from the radio station, I navigated through some dark stretches in front of our studios. These areas are frequented by homeless individuals, making it challenging to spot them at night. As I cruised down First Street, I turned on my brights—and there he was, a man talking to himself, halfway in the road. I quickly switched lanes to avoid a potential accident.

Photo by: TxDOT
Photo by: TxDOT

Walking down the street might seem harmless, but the side you choose can be a matter of life and death. If this man had been facing traffic, he could have easily stepped onto the curb to avoid an unseen driver. This simple precaution can prevent serious accidents.

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In Texas, walking on the wrong side of the road isn't just risky—it's illegal. I called the Abilene Police Department and learned from a sergeant that while walking itself isn't against the law, the side of the road you walk on definitely matters.

This isn't just a city ordinance; it's a state law, carrying hefty fines and possible jail time. It was fascinating to discover that every third grader who visits Safety City is taught these crucial pedestrian and bicycle laws. It's a lesson in safety that starts early—and one that can make all the difference.

Break the walking law and you could be fined up to $500 or arrested

Violation of a pedestrian or bicycle law is considered a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and possibly jail time. It's crucial to understand the stark differences between pedestrian and bicycle laws. Source: Texas Transportation Code

The pedestrian law mandates that if there is no sidewalk available, pedestrians must walk against the flow of traffic to see oncoming vehicles. Conversely, bicycle laws require cyclists to ride with the flow of traffic. I was genuinely surprised to learn that these rules are part of state law and that third graders in Abilene are taught these vital safety lessons at Safety City.

Tragically, Abilene has experienced too many pedestrian fatalities in recent years. We must strive for zero auto-pedestrian fatalities, starting with looking out for one another, including all walkers.

Many motorists driving on North or South First Street have reported people walking down the road, often not paying attention or even yelling at drivers. This poses a significant danger to both pedestrians and drivers.

So, if you find yourself walking down a road without a sidewalk, remember to walk against the flow of traffic. This way, you can see oncoming vehicles and take necessary precautions to stay safe. Let's all work together to make our streets safer for everyone.

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