National Running Safety Month: Rhode Island Laws and Safety Tips

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As a month when daylight is waning, November is aptly named National Running Safety Month. This is a good time to become re-acquainted with Rhode Island’s pedestrian laws and safety tips for avoiding personal injuries while running.

Pedestrians must walk, jog or run on the left side of the road, opposite oncoming traffic, where no sidewalks are available. R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-18-11. Watching oncoming traffic allows runners to react more quickly in response to erratic drivers.  Where sidewalks are provided, walkers must use the sidewalk but runners and joggers may run on the roadway.  § 31-18-10. It is simply illegal to walk or run on an interstate highway, or to cross a freeway. §§ 31-18-11, 31-18-17.

Pedestrians have the right of way on sidewalks when a car is crossing the sidewalk. R.I. Gen. Laws § 31-18-18. Realistically, however, making eye contact with the driver before walking in front of a car is a must. Often drivers will only be watching other cars and begin to turn without realizing a pedestrian is in front and has the right of way.

Joggers and runners must wear reflective clothing visible from 500 feet with low beams between the hours of ½ hour after sunset and ½ hour before sunrise. § 31-18-11. But if involved in a car accident, courts may not use a person’s failure to wear reflective clothing as evidence against that person, or as contributing negligence.

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Other running safety tips include:

  • run with another runner or dog
  • alter your running route to avoid being susceptible to assailants
  • carry cash and identification
  • tell others your running route before leaving

If you have been involved in a pedestrian car accident our experienced RI personal injury lawyers can you help you seek the justice you deserve.