Antecedents to a Pedestrian Bill of Rights

Below are some sources that make points similar to what might be in a Pedestrian Bill of Rights. Feel free to share more, I will add to the post. These are not in a particular order.

A shared space street in Bern, allowing only bikes, pedestrians and transit.
A shared space street in Bern, allowing only bikes, pedestrians and transit.


The illustrated Charter of Pedestrian Rights  (PDF) in English by Mexican pedestrian advocates   says:

As pedestrians we have the right to:

  • Cross the street calmly and safely
  • A city that fits my needs
  • Adequate public transportation services
  • Organized urban centers
  • Socialize in public spaces
  • Play in the streets
  • Suitable street furniture
  • Spacious sidewalks
  • A healthy environment and enjoyment of the space
  • Walk calmly on the street.

National Street Service: Jaywalker’s bill of rights

  1.  The right to cross without intimidation from motorists, whether in the crosswalk or not
  2.  The right to medical care without cost for injuries inflicted by motorists
  3.  The right to fewer moving traffic lanes
  4.  The right to lower motorists’ speed
  5.  The right to pass by
  6.  The right to stop, sit, recline, and rest without harassment or intimidation
  7.  The right to avoid activities one finds dangerous or unsavory
  8.  The right to express needs and desires for the neighborhood
  9.  The right to determine one’s own safest, most suitable route

LA’s new Mobility Principles for transportation happiness:

  • Freedom to Get Around
  • Freedom from Disruptions
  • Freedom from Harm
  • Freedom to Connect
  • Freedom from Exclusion

Austroads – Level of Service Metrics (for Network Operations Planning)

Pedestrian LOS

  • Mobility
    • Footpath congestion
    • Grade of path
    • Crossing delay or detour
  • Safety
    • Exposure to vehicles at mid- blocks
    • Exposure to vehicles at crossings
    • Trip hazards
  • Access
    • Crossing opportunities
    • Level of disability access
  • Information Amenity
    • Traveller information available including signposting
  • Amenity
    • Footpath pavement conditions
    • Comfort and convenience features
    • Security
    • Aesthetics
  • The Right-Of-Way When Using Crosswalks: Motorists failing to yield the right-of-way at crosswalks is the No. 1 dangerous behavior contributing to fatal traffic crashes in San Francisco. Motorists “shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.” Motorists must always stop for pedestrians crossing at streets corners, with or without traffic signal lights and whether or not the crosswalk is marked by painted lines. Further, even if the marked crosswalk is the middle of the block, motorists must stop for pedestrians.
  • The Right To Unimpeded Use Of A Crosswalk: A crosswalk is the part of the roadway set aside for pedestrian traffic. Motorists and bicyclists must stop behind the line at traffic signals and stop signs.
  • The Right Not To Be Struck By A Speeding Vehicle: Motorists traveling at an unsafe speed is the second most dangerous behavior contributing to fatal traffic crashes in San Francisco. Speeding increases stopping distance and collision force. When a person is hit by a vehicle traveling at 20 miles per hour, there is a 90 percent chance of survival. The survival rate drops to 20 percent if a person is hit by a vehicle traveling at 40 miles per hour. Motorists approaching a pedestrian “within any marked or unmarked crosswalk shall exercise all due care and shall reduce the speed of the vehicle or take any other action relating to the operation of the vehicle as necessary to safeguard the safety of the pedestrian.”
  • The Right Not To Be Struck In The Roadway: While pedestrians should not jaywalk and always use crosswalks to cross a roadway, even if the pedestrian is within a portion of the roadway other than a crosswalk motorists must slow down. Motorists are under the duty “exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian” no matter where the pedestrian is on the roadway. This rule also applies to bicyclists because, as a rule, bicyclists have the same duties and responsibilities as motorists.
  • The Right To Unimpeded Use Of Sidewalks: Adult bicyclists, and even teenage bicyclists, are prohibited from riding on sidewalks in most California cities. In San Francisco, it is illegal to bike on a sidewalk if the bicyclist is 13 years of age or older. Of course, bicyclists can dismount and walk their bike on sidewalk. At that point, they are pedestrians under the law.

Los Angeles Walks reports on Los Angeles City Council file Number 87-2261 —  Pedestrian Bill of Rights

which says “The People of Los Angeles have the right to:”

  • 1. Safe roads and safe places to cross the street
  • 2. Pedestrian-oriented building facades, trees, flower stands, trash cans, awnings, etc.
  • 3. Safe and comfortable bus stops and public transit stations
  • 4. Appealing use of landscaping and available open space
  • 5. Full notification of all street widening that impinge on public open space and sidewalks
  • 6. Access to streets and buildings for disabled people
  • 7. Clean surroundings, requiring removal of graffiti and advertisements from public property
  • 8. Have needs of pedestrians considered as heavily as the needs of drivers
  • 9. Public works of Art

Arrol Gellner offered a Pedestrian Bill of Rights:

  • 1. When traffic laws say pedestrians have the right of way, that shouldn’t just mean that if you’re hit by a car, it’s not your fault. People on foot shouldn’t have to fear, evade, negotiate or maneuver around cars, whether moving or parked, just because planners routinely put the convenience of people inside vehicles far above that of people using their own two feet.
  • 2. No pedestrian should ever find that the only way to reach that store or office on foot is to cross a huge desert of asphalt, with moving cars threatening on all sides. Any parking area with more than two rows of stalls should be required to have a pedestrian walkway running down the strip where cars usually face off nose-to-nose. If these walkways reduce the space available for parking cars, well, boo hoo. Cars already take up 20 times as much space as a person does. Enough is enough.
  • 3. No pedestrian should ever be expected to cross more than four lanes of traffic, whether or not there are crossing signals present. The vast six- and even eight-lane boulevards that are being imposed on more and more of our suburbs tear neighborhoods apart and form virtual Grand Canyons to people on foot.
  • Once and for all, planners should shake the wrongheaded belief that the way to fix traffic congestion is to make roads wider. This is like telling a 400-pound man with a heart condition that what he really needs is some bigger pants. The wider we make our roads, the more traffic will arrive to fill them up, and the more impassable our cities will become to people on foot.
  • 4. In dense urban areas, pedestrians should be free to shop, stroll or sightsee without constant threat of assault by cars, buses or taxis. Hence, planners should provide centralized public parking at the fringe of city cores, offer a shuttle service and make downtown blocks pedestrian-only zones. Sedentary car jockeys would benefit from having to walk a few steps to get where they’re going, and the rest of us would be blessed with a quieter, greener and less-polluted city.
  • 5. Lastly, American planners should recognize that, in relative terms, cars are a mere fleeting speck of technology, like the chariot, the man-of-war and the steam locomotive. We bipeds, on the other hand, are hopefully here for the long run. It’s just plain dumb to continue building an entire nation around a machine that’ll likely be obsolete in 50 years — especially considering that, no matter what takes its place, we’ll always want to get around on our own two feet.

Breines and Dean (1974) write about a  Pedestrian Bill of Rights in The Pedestrian Revolution: Streets without Cars:

  • The city shall not harm the pedestrian.
  • The streets belong to all the people, and shall not be usurped for the passage and storage of motor vehicles.
  • People shall have the right to cycle in safety; that means ample provision of bikeways separate from trucks, buses and automobiles.
  • To reduce dependence on the automobile, city and suburban residents shall have the right to convenient, clean and safe mass transportation.
  • People shall be freed from the heavy burdens of daily travel by having the opportunity to live near their places of work.
  • Urban residents shall have plentiful and generous open public places – outside of parks – for gatherings and ceremonies.
  • Pedestrians shall have the right to breathe clean air on streets, free of the harmful fumes of vehicles.
  • Standing room only on city streets shall end by providing benches for sitting and relaxation.
  • The sounds of human voices shall replace vehicular noise on city streets.
  • Concern for the welfare of pedestrians shall extend to the surface under foot — with paving congenial for walking — and shall include human-scale street furniture and signs.
  • Urban man shall have the right to experience trees, plants, and flowers along city streets.
  • Cities shall exist for the care and culture of human beings, pedestrians all!


Donald Appleyard (1981) included a “Statement of Street Dwellers Rights” in Livable Streets.

  • The Street as a Safe Sanctuary
  • The Street as a Livable, Healthy Environment
  • The Street as a Community
  • The Street as Neighborly Territory
  • The Street as a Place for Play and Learning
  • The Street as a Green and Pleasant Land
  • The Street as a Unique Historic Place
This is being updated as part of: Donald & Bruce Appleyard, Livable Streets 2.0, Elsevier. Forthcoming 2019.