Published: March 22, 2019
By: Richard Ogrodowski
As a runner, I spend a fair amount of time walking my dog or running for exercise around my town, which is located in Pennsylvania. This necessarily involves walking or running on or near roads. Sometimes the roads have a sidewalk and sometimes the roads do not. Most people might be surprised that Pennsylvania has a law, 75 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3544, that governs where pedestrians can walk or run when on or along a roadway. So, let’s go over the law:
What if a sidewalk is available along a roadway? Section 3544(a) requires that if “a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.” Therefore, if you can use a sidewalk, you have to use it.
What if there isn’t a sidewalk? Section 3544(b) provides that if there isn’t a sidewalk, “any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.” So, get as far from the roadway as possible.
What if there is neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder along the roadway? Section 3544(c) states that “[w]here neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway and, if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.” Therefore, by requiring a pedestrian to walk (or run) on the left side of the roadway, the pedestrian will be facing oncoming traffic. This is so the pedestrian can see oncoming cars or trucks, and, if there is danger, hopefully, be able to react to avoid serious injury or accidental death.
To sum it up, if there is a sidewalk use it. If not, get as far to the edge of the shoulder as possible. If there isn’t a shoulder, get as far to the edge of the roadway as possible. Plus, remember to walk or run on the left side of the roadway facing the oncoming traffic.