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Should Cyclists Yield to Pedestrians in Philadelphia?

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In Title 75, Chapter 35 of the Statutes of Pennsylvania, it clearly states that bicyclists must yield to pedestrians on sidewalks and bicycle-protected paths. Whenever a rider is on his/her bicycle, s/he has the same responsibilities towards pedestrians as any other motorist.

The laws in Pennsylvania also state that bicyclists over the age of 13 should avoid riding on sidewalks altogether. PennDOT encourages adult bicyclists to use bike-protected lanes or ride on streets near the curb at all times.

Bicyclists should keep in mind, however, that they will be legally considered pedestrians whenever they dismount and walk with their bike. This is especially important when traveling across a crosswalk. Pedestrians have the right-of-way on crosswalks, but bicyclists who ride through a crosswalk do not.

Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths are on the rise across the USA. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) noted that over 6,200 pedestrians died in traffic collisions in 2018, which represents and increase of about 250 deaths from the previous year.

The GHSA believes one major cause of this increase in pedestrian fatalities has to do with the increased popularity of heavier vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks. The rise in distracted driving and growing population rates could also contribute to these numbers.

In Philadelphia, it’s estimated that 38 of the city’s 99 traffic fatalities in 2017 were pedestrians. Roosevelt Boulevard remains one of the most dangerous streets in the city for traffic fatalities.

To address this growing issue, Philadelphia has teamed up with the road safety organization Vision Zero. Based in Sweden, Vision Zero works closely with leaders in cities around the world to eradicate traffic fatalities within a predetermined timeframe.

By working with Vision Zero, Philadelphia hopes to get rid of traffic fatalities by the year 2030. You can follow Vision Zero’s progress by visiting this official website.

For more information on how bicyclists should treat pedestrians, consider reading through the Statutes of Pennsylvania Chapter 35, §3508 on this webpage.

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