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Where to Walk When the Sidewalk Ends

Legal Team

Sidewalks provide pedestrians with a designated and safe space to walk alongside roadways. However, there are instances where sidewalks may abruptly end or be unavailable. When faced with this situation, knowing where to walk becomes crucial for safety. 

Walk Facing Traffic

When sidewalks are unavailable, pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic. According to § 66-7-339 of the New Mexico Statutes:

“B. Where sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic that may approach from the opposite direction.”

This allows pedestrians to see approaching vehicles and react accordingly, reducing the risk of accidents. 

Stay as Close to the Shoulder as Possible

If walking along the side of the road without a sidewalk, pedestrians should stay as close to the shoulder as possible. This provides a buffer zone between them and passing vehicles, minimizing the risk of collisions. Additionally, walking on the shoulder makes pedestrians more visible to drivers, enhancing safety for everyone on the road.

Be Visible

In situations where sidewalks are unavailable or poorly lit, visibility is crucial. Wearing bright or reflective clothing, carrying a flashlight or wearing a headlamp, and using reflective accessories can help pedestrians remain visible to drivers, especially during low-light conditions or at night.

Use Caution at Intersections

When approaching intersections or crosswalks without sidewalks, pedestrians should exercise caution and follow traffic signals and pedestrian crossing signs. Crossing at marked intersections increases visibility and ensures that drivers are aware of pedestrians’ presence, reducing the risk of accidents.

Watch for Obstacles

When walking where there are no sidewalks, pedestrians should be vigilant for obstacles such as potholes, debris, parked cars, and uneven terrain. These obstacles can pose tripping hazards or impede visibility, increasing the risk of accidents or injuries.

Consider Alternative Routes

In some cases, pedestrians may have the option to choose alternative routes that offer safer walking conditions. This may involve selecting routes with wider shoulders, lower traffic volumes, or designated pedestrian pathways, even if it means taking a slightly longer route to reach a destination.

What is the New Mexico Pedestrian Safety Action Plan?

The New Mexico Pedestrian Safety Action Plan outlines specific actions the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) will undertake to reduce the number of pedestrian-involved serious injuries and fatalities. Action items include infrastructure enhancements, educational campaigns, and policy adjustments. The plan was developed in response to the alarming rate of pedestrian fatalities, with New Mexico having the highest per-capita pedestrian fatality rate in the country, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. 

Pedestrian Accident Liability When There Is No Sidewalk

Determining liability for pedestrian accidents in New Mexico when there is no sidewalk can be complex. While drivers are expected to exercise caution and yield to pedestrians, pedestrians also have a responsibility to adhere to safety measures. In instances where a sidewalk is absent, pedestrians are required by law to walk facing traffic when practicable. Therefore, liability may vary based on the actions of both the pedestrian and the driver. 

New Mexico courts follow the rule of pure comparative negligence to determine liability in personal injury cases, including pedestrian accidents. Under this law, each party involved is assigned a percentage of fault for the incident. Even if the plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for their injuries, they can still recover damages, with the amount awarded reduced by their percentage of fault. This means that compensation is proportionate to each party’s degree of fault, providing a fair and equitable outcome in personal injury cases.

Speak to a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been involved in a pedestrian accident, arrange a free consultation with our highly skilled Albuquerque Pedestrian Accident Lawyer. They can help clarify liability issues and determine the best course of action for seeking compensation for injuries and damages.

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