(COLO) – Unlike neighborhood streets or roads with designated bike lanes or large shoulders, there are many highways and rural roadways that are not designed for pedestrian use. When pedestrians are present on access-controlled roads, such as highways, they are placing themselves and motorists at great risk and can be ticketed, or worse, injured or killed.
Over the last three years (2019-2021) there have been 157 crashes investigated by the Colorado State Patrol involving a person in a roadway where they were not permitted. These crashes resulted in a fatality or serious injury 75% of the time.
In addition, there was a 52.9% increase in 2021 over 2020 for crashes involving a person in a roadway where they were not permitted.
“Crossing a highway on foot or walking alongside a road that is not designed for pedestrians is extremely dangerous,” said Sergeant Troy Kessler with the Colorado State Patrol. “Seeing a person walking on a road not designed for pedestrians would be unexpected for a driver. If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance as a pedestrian on a highway, exercise extreme caution, keep alert and distraction-free to avoid a worst possible case scenario. If you’re the driver, expect everything, pay attention and put away the distraction to avoid hitting someone.”
Looking at fatal and injury crashes caused by a pedestrian being in a roadway where not permitted, the five counties included (from highest to lowest):
- Adams County
- Jefferson County
- El Paso County
- Arapahoe County
- Boulder County
Narrowing further, the data over this same time period found that the top five roadways for fatal and injury crashes caused by a pedestrian being in a roadway where not permitted included (from highest to lowest)
- Tied: H50 and H285
If you see someone in an unsafe situation on a highway, the Colorado State Patrol recommends safely pulling off the highway, parking and calling 9-1-1 for assistance.
If your vehicle breaks down and you are unable to exit the highway first, pull off the road as far as you can, put your hazard lights on, and call for help. If you can place yourself safely on the opposite side of a guardrail or up on a hill, exit the car on the non-traffic side and move to the safest possible location. If you can’t call for help and need to walk, go to the nearest exit or safe location by walking facing traffic as close to the edge of the road as safely possible.
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more.