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2019 Camino Guides

Walk With or against traffic?

Bonnie M

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
#1
Goofy question...On roads where you share with cars, do you walk with or against traffic ? I assume sign posts are on same side While I won’t be running on the camino, as a runner , I run against traffic for safety. Thanks!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#2
Generally, Yes...you want to see the oncoming traffic! However, there are rare times when you may want to traverse the road. If, for example you are taking the steep narrow road (in part) down from Acebo to Molinesca. Sometimes the curve does not allow an oncoming car to see you if you are on the left side. In those instances there may be high rock near the curve blocking the view. In those instances, I carefully look behind and get on the right making sure I have sufficient time to go around the curve on the right and then cross back to the left side .
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#3
In general you should walk facing oncoming traffic. That means that in Spain you should be on the left-hand side of the road. However, there may be times on roads with tight bends which limit a driver's vision where the safest action is to cross to the other side for a short period and then return to the left when safe to do so. Wearing something bright and easily seen is also a good idea. Rules are a fine thing but common sense will tell you to make exceptions from time to time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#5
ALWAYS against oncoming traffic. For most of us that means on the left side of the road, as we are walking.

This is sometimes mildly confusing and amusing to our British Commonwealth and former Commonwealth friends, as it is contrary to their traffic pattern.

Walking against the flow of traffic, so oncoming traffic sees the FRONT of you as you are walking, gives the driver the best view of you, AND gives you a view of the oncoming vehicle(s).

Were you to walk WITH the flow of traffic, with the oncoming vehicles approaching you from behind, you would lack that instant of view where you could leap out of the path of a dangerously close vehicle. Conceptually, this is very similar to bicycles silent sneaking up on you while on a remote Camino trail, without warning you they are coming...

I also recommend that everyone either wear a safety vest (neon-yellow), OR similarly very bright and contrasting color so you attract attention from oncoming drivers. BE SEEN!

Hope this helps.
 

Isca-camigo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Various ones.
#6
Like most people have said have above walk on the side facing oncoming traffic, unless the oncoming side can not see you and you them, that's usually on bends. Of the times I have walked that has only happened on leaving Toulouse on the Arles and leaving Porto on the central way
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#7
ALWAYS against oncoming traffic. For most of us that means on the left side of the road, as we are walking.

This is sometimes mildly confusing and amusing to our British Commonwealth and former Commonwealth friends, as it is contrary to their traffic pattern.

Walking against the flow of traffic, so oncoming traffic sees the FRONT of you as you are walking, gives the driver the best view of you, AND gives you a view of the oncoming vehicle(s).

Were you to walk WITH the flow of traffic, with the oncoming vehicles approaching you from behind, you would lack that instant of view where you could leap out of the path of a dangerously close vehicle. Conceptually, this is very similar to bicycles silent sneaking up on you while on a remote Camino trail, without warning you they are coming...

I also recommend that everyone either wear a safety vest (neon-yellow), OR similarly very bright and contrasting color so you attract attention from oncoming drivers. BE SEEN!

Hope this helps.
Really Sorry to disagree t2....:)but, as was already described by Trecile, Bradypus and myself...there are instances when the roads sharp turns make it safer to go to the other side. T2, Have you ever walked the road down from Acebo to Molinesca?

Bonnie, more than likely you will “feel” when it is dangerous to remain on the left...
Go across keeping an eye out for what is coming from behind as well as what might come around the bend and then when safe go back to the left hand side.
To reiterate what Bradypus stated: Rules are a fine thing but common sense will tell you to make exceptions from time to time.
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
#8
This is sometimes mildly confusing and amusing to our British Commonwealth and former Commonwealth friends, as it is contrary to their traffic pattern.
Most Brits are inured to the fact that much of the world drives on the wrong side of the road. I do get caught out sometimes when I come home from a European trip, and look the "wrong" way when crossing the road.

On the plus side, roundabouts hold no terrors for me!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Mozarabe Almeria (2017)
Cherhill to Canterbury - Pilgrims' Way (2018)
Via Francigena (2019)
#9
confusing and amusing to our British Commonwealth and former Commonwealth friends
FYI - It's not just Commonwealth countries. Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand and a few other enlightened places have left side traffic today. Quite a few countries outside the Commonwealth (e.g. China, Sweden, Portugal) changed from left side to right side during the 20th Century. Until 1924, traffic in Madrid drove on the left, whereas traffic in other parts of Spain was on the other side. Just think how confusing and amusing that must have been for wandering pilgrims.

Samoa changed from right to left side traffic in 2009, so the tide has turned. This is definitely a trend. Start practicing. ;-)
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#11
Historically, you kept left, when passing each other, as right hand would have to grip the sword, hanging on your left side, to thwart the opponent if malice was intended!
You had to swing & cut from left to right with your right arm !
- this was especially the case when wading a ford, a small strip of land on a horse and when passing on a narrow bridge!
Whoever put down swords first is a riddle, wrapped in the cloak of time .... Wuaaaaooohhh !!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#12
I suppose this put the knights in the British Isles at a competitive disadvantage in a sword fight. If they were right-handed, they would have to cross-draw...takes more time and is a good way to lose an arm...

;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - central from Porto (2018 - planned)
#13
I think the general idea is you want to give the car the best chance to see you and avoid you and yourself the best chance to see the car and get as much as possible out of it's way. That is generally facing oncoming traffic. As others have mentioned there are other factors that can affect this general rule:
- blind corners. There is a sharp bend in the road that I walk when training. If I walked facing traffic, the oncoming car wouldn't see me until it was hitting me. The safest thing to do is to look for a safe opportunity to cross the road ahead of the turn and cross back afterwards.
- cresting a hill. The same principle applies when nearing the top of a steep hill. I well remember walking up to Hontanas. It was less than half a km in front of me and I couldn't see the top of the church tower. You could be similarly invisible to oncoming traffic as you head up a hill. Better to be on the other side where at least the traffic coming up behind can see you.

Those factors are judgement calls. What other judgement comes into play for the typical pilgrim on hot, cloudless days when traffic is scarce and the shade is only on one side of the road I won't go into.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
#14
I suppose this put the knights in the British Isles at a competitive disadvantage in a sword fight. If they were right-handed, they would have to cross-draw...takes more time and is a good way to lose an arm...

;)
no, think of it as saving time in a draw, drawing from right, and swinging right saves time.
thank goodness we have no need for that now.....
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
#15
Goofy question...On roads where you share with cars, do you walk with or against traffic ? I assume sign posts are on same side While I won’t be running on the camino, as a runner , I run against traffic for safety. Thanks!
NEVER turn your back to oncoming traffic
 

Rex

Pilgrim Trekker
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago (2013)
Lisboa to Santiago (2018)
#17
Agree with the general rule of walking so as to face oncoming traffic. This requires a bit of common sense on the C Portuguese as there are several stretches of highway walking with almost zero verge/shoulder on the left so crossing over to the right (for the shortest distance possible) is smart/necessary. Worst case, which we encountered multiple times on the route from Varao to the north were pilgrims walking on both sides of the road and drivers honking and giving all of us the universal “you’re #1” middle finger salute. We pilgrims are guests in these countries and it is only proper to mitigate the disruption to the local residents that occurs from our passing through. So, as an old curmudgeon, I suggested to all walking on the right (with traffic) that crossing over to the left would be a courtesy to the local drivers. Pilgrims generally were happy to acquiesce. Bom Caminho.
 

Mark Barnes

Old Engineer
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - September - November (2017)
#18
I was on the Frances this time last year and met a man walking towards me. We where in the middle of nowhere and it was obvious he was a pilgrim as well. I stopped and watched him walk by and thought to myself, ”am I going the wrong way”? I walked on for about 1/2 a km and thankfully ran into a marker with an arrow. So if you walk “the wrong way”, please let a person know if they look at you questionably.
 
#19
If you are walking on a road, the road will be small enough that you will be able to see the signs, regardless of whether the signs are on the left or the right side of the road.
 


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