Walking is one of the best exercises around! It is free, accessible to many people, and can be done alone or with a group. A great benefit of walking is that it allows you to get in some physical activity while you get to where you need to go. An energizing way to start the day is to walk to work, school, or the bus stop.

We need to feel safe while walking.

The speed of nearby vehicles, concerns over personal safety, and physical space to walk are very important. These things can either encourage or discourage walking.

When you walk, it can be helpful to wear reflective gear and carry a flashlight, especially since it gets dark quite early during winter in Vermont. People driving do not see you as easily as you can see them. Use sidewalks and crosswalks to help people driving know where to look for you. In areas where there are no sidewalks and crosswalks, walk facing traffic and yield to people driving vehicles when crossing the road.

When you drive, remember to follow the speed limit and use your headlights. When you anticipate people walking and share the road with all of your neighbors, you can make the environment safer for more people to walk.

Many people walk to improve their physical and mental well-being. It is important to remember that not everyone has the privilege to drive and that people walk both by choice and necessity. By keeping our roads safe for everyone we open up the opportunity for more transportation options for our neighbors. 

Megan Rigoni is a Pedestrian Safety Coordinator with the Vermont Department of Health.

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