Walk this way or that way…..
Let’s Go Smart Blog
Walk this way or that way…..
Two weeks ago I was exposed to a brief view of the Ozarks landscape from thousands of years ago when some pretty weird charters roamed the hillsides. Sort of a “lions, tigers, and bears oh my” experience. These beasts were larger than anything we would see in the zoo today and I got to wondering how the accent Hillbilly both kept up and got away from this furry sharp tooth creatures. There were no trains, planes, or automobiles to chase them down. Any thoughts of “run Forest run” would take on a whole new meaning under these conditions. So the early Hillbilly must have been really quick on his feet, more so than the modern day Hillbilly wondering the Ozark landscape in search of nick-knacks, T-shirts and fudge shops….opps….too close to home?
Like most of America, the animals walked here and the humans followed on foot as well. Our part of the Ozarks is covered with historic trails and routes that lead to water, minerals, wildlife, and rich farm lands. Travel by foot is what discovered the area we call home today and as a part of our cultural we should resurrect the activity and feeling of discovery by foot.
Our LGS team has found an interesting link below that really goes into walking in America. Here is one small exert:
“The United States walks the least of any industrialized nation. Studies employing pedometers have found that where the average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day (just a few shy of the supposedly ideal “10,000 steps” plateau, itself the product, ironically, of a Japanese pedometer company’s campaign in the 1960s), the average Japanese 7,168, and the average Swiss 9,650, the average American manages only 5,117 steps. Where a child in Britain, according to one study, takes 12,000 to 16,000 steps per day, a similar U.S. study found a range between 11,000 and 13,000.”
Let me summarize several pages of reading for you. You could say that walking has been engineered out of our lives in favor of modern technology and opportunities for walking are limited. You can read all about limited access to fitness and exercise facilities and you can read studies that will make your eyes bleed on the health crisis, advantages of walking and disadvantages of not moving your body under your own power. I concluded after reading many articles and studies on the topics of walking, community design, and fitness that we are just a bit too lazy. We like to study, survey, and measure what is not happening. We like to complicate activities that seem too easy to be solutions. As an example take a look at the State of Missouri’s statutes for pedestrians—good stuff to know so you do not end up in pedestrian jail.
Let me summarize stop reading and go for a walk! Just be sure to look both ways when crossing an interstate.
State of Missouri’s Statutes Regarding Pedestrians
300.160. Pedestrian Control Signals Whenever special pedestrian control signals exhibiting the words “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” are in place such signals shall indicate as follows: (1) “Walk”… pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles; 2) “Wait” or “Don’t Walk”… no pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed his crossing on the walk.
300.370. Pedestrians Subject To Traffic Control Devices Pedestrians shall be subject to traffic control signals as heretofore declared in sections 300.155 and 300.160 of this ordinance, but at all other places pedestrians shall be granted those rights and be subject to the restrictions stated in sections 300.370 to 300.410.
300.375. Pedestrians’ Right-of-way In Crosswalks(1) When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. (2) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. (3) Subsection 1 shall not apply under the conditions stated in subsection 2 of section 300.390. (4) Whenever any vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk or at any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle.
300.380. Pedestrians To Use Right Half Of Crosswalks Pedestrians shall move, whenever practicable, upon the right half of crosswalks.
300.385. Crossing At Right Angles No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any place other than by a route at right angles to the curb or by the shortest route to the opposite curb except in a crosswalk.
300.390. When Pedestrian Shall Yield(1) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. (2) Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway. (3) The foregoing rules in this section have no application under the conditions stated in section 300.395 when pedestrians are prohibited from crossing at certain designated places.
300.395. Prohibited Crossing(1) Between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a crosswalk. (2) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway other in a crosswalk upon any street designated by ordinance. (4) No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic control devices; and, when authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the official traffic control devices pertaining to such crossing movements.
300.400. Obedience Of Pedestrians To Bridge And Railroad Signals(1) No pedestrian shall enter or remain upon any bridge or approach thereto beyond the bridge signal, gate, or barrier after a bridge operation signal indication has been given. (2) No pedestrian shall pass through, around, over, or under any crossing gate or barrier at a railroad grade crossing or bridge while such gate or barrier is closed or is being opened or closed.
300.405. Pedestrians Walking Along Roadways(1) Where sidewalks are provided it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway. (2) Where sidewalks are not provided any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall when practicable walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic, which may approach from the opposite direction.
300.410. Drivers To Exercise Highest Degree Of Care Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of sections 300.155 to 300.410, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise the highest degree of care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.
304.012. Motorists To Exercise Highest Degree Of Care—violation, Penalty1. Every person operating a motor vehicle on the road and highways of this state shall drive the vehicle in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.
304.080. Pedestrians, Disabled Persons With Cane Or Dog–drivers, Precautions, Liability The driver of a vehicle approaching a person with a visual, aural or physical disability who is carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color, with or without a red tip, or using a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog shall yield to such pedestrian, and any driver who fails to take such precautions shall be liable in damages for any injury caused such pedestrian and any injury caused to the pedestrian’s guide dog, hearing dog or service dog; provided that such a pedestrian not carrying such cane or using a guide dog, hearing dog or service dog in any of the places, accommodations or conveyances listed in section 209.150, RSMo, shall have all of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons.
304.291. Rules For Pedestrians Controlled By Special Signs Whenever special pedestrian-control signals exhibiting the words “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” are in place such signals shall indicate as follows: (1) Walk. – Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right-of-way by the drivers of all vehicles. (2) Don’t Walk. – No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed his crossing on the “walk” signal shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety island while the “don’t walk” signal is showing.
If you read to here…..I am impressed…..but you still need to go for a walk because the following articles studying this topic just landed in my inbox within the past 3-minutes
- “Studies show more sprawl associated with higher incidence of poor health outcomes.”
- “Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros”