Charity or Other Group Walks: Road Safety Advice - 2002

Plan the Route

  • Consider who you would like to take part in the walk; longer and more physically strenuous routes may deter some people from participating. Try to ensure your route is suitable for people of all ages and physical ability.
  • Avoid high speed, heavily trafficked roads and major junctions, especially in the dark. As much as possible, look for a route that has pavements or grass verges, and consider the availability of crossing places, rest stops and places for toilet breaks.
  • Ask the Police and the Highways Department of the local Council for advice on the choice of route, time and day. If there's a local walking, running or ramblers club they may also be able to help
  • Walk the route in advance to see how long it takes and to check on the traffic and walking conditions. If you only rely on looking at a map or online images of the route, you may find they are out of date and something has changed significantly.
  • Plan what to do if the weather deteriorates, or something else, affects the safety of the route.
  • Consider whether you should have insurance covering any medical problems that might occur or damage to a third party's property.
  • If using marshals, consider how they can be easily identifiable, for example by wearing a high visibility tabard. Consider how they will keep in communication with each other, if necessary.
  • If any vehicles are to be used in a supervisory capacity, make sure the drivers know they should not travel at a slow speeds to match the pace of the walkers because this would cause an obstruction to other traffic.

The Walkers

  • A minimum age of at least 16 years is preferable. Where younger persons take part they should be adequately supervised by responsible adults.
  • Suitable walking footwear should be worn.
  • Advise walkers to wear bright clothing to help drivers to see them. During the day, wearing something fluorescent is best. In the dark, walkers should wear retro-reflective materials. Carry a torch if walking in areas without street lights.
  • Remind walkers of rules 1-35 of the Highway Code (2007 Edition).
  • Make sure that all the participants have clear information about start and finish times and locations, the route, safety advice, emergency procedures (how to summon help if necessary and how to inform the organisers of a problem).

The Walk

  • For large groups, start walking at intervals, rather than at a mass start.
  • The start and finish should be off the road.
  • Where there is no footpath, participants should walk on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic. Before arriving at a sharp right hand bend, it is often safer for participants to cross the road to give oncoming traffic a better chance of seeing them. When it is safe to do so after the bend, participants should cross back over to the right hand side.
  • In rural areas, walkers should be sure to close any gates they have to pass through, so that animals cannot stray onto the highway.
  • Check everyone has completed the walk safely.

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