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Which side of the path

GlendaMac

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, May - June 2020 SJPDP to SDC
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
 

Paul Michetti

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Sept "2019" Porto to Santiago
Via Francigena May "2021" Siena to Rome (hoping)
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
Hi Glenda,

Having recently walked my first Camino from Portugal to Spain, when walking on a road we walked on the left facing the oncoming cars. On the rest of the paths we walked on the right mostly leaving room for bicyclists to pass us on the left of the path or anyone walking in the other direction (rarely). Sometimes the paths were too narrow and the bicyclists just had to warn us that we were nearing and we pulled to the right and stopped to watch them as they approached and then passed by. We found the bicyclists were respectful of the situation which might not always be the case.

Paul
 

GlendaMac

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, May - June 2020 SJPDP to SDC
Hi Glenda,

Having recently walked my first Camino from Portugal to Spain, when walking on a road we walked on the left facing the oncoming cars. On the rest of the paths we walked on the right mostly leaving room for bicyclists to pass us on the left of the path or anyone walking in the other direction (rarely). Sometimes the paths were too narrow and the bicyclists just had to warn us that we were nearing and we pulled to the right and stopped to watch them as they approached and then passed by. We found the bicyclists were respectful of the situation which might not always be the case.

Paul
Thank you Paul. Our cyclists are supposed to use a bell to let you know they’re coming but mostly whizz by at high speed unannounced ( and very close too), so this is good news.
Glenda
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Ah, I am a lefty too (UK) - definitely walk facing traffic on roads! and wear a Hi-Viz vest.

A car at 42 mph travels about 20 metres in one second ... if you are 50 metres from a bend in the road and a car appears at 42 mph they have 2 1/2 seconds to see you, react to you being there, and either brake or drive around you (if oncoming traffic allows) - that has to include their awareness level and their reaction time .... and that is in clear daylight, factor in mist or fog or rain or twilight ...... :eek:

so, yes, always face the traffic - you can jump onto the verge if need be! - and a Hi-Viz - (for the insurance claim if they hit you ;)).

If you are intending to walk roads in poor light you can buy small front and rear gel bicycle lights, which easily fit onto your pack and front harness .. they are cheap, very light, battery last for ages, and they give out a bright light too - like these ones

s-l1600 (250 x 250).jpg

and as Paul says above, when on Camino.

As a lefty you will find an interesting problem off Camino, walking pavements and in supermarkets .. when someone is coming towards you you will automatically veer slightly left to pass - they will automatically veer right ... you will almost bump in to each other - so off camino always veer right (is hard to learn this!).

Re cyclists. Pilgrim cyclists tend to be very careful and considerate (and not speedy) but there will be groups of rainbow lycra clad super-fast off-roader day racers, usually in small groups, and they can whizz past you before you even know they are there which can be a bit disconcerting.
 
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GlendaMac

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, May - June 2020 SJPDP to SDC
Ah, I am a lefty too - UK - definitely walk facing traffic on roads! and wear a hi-viz vest.

and as Paul says above, on Camino.

You will find an interesting problem off Camino, walking pavements and in supermarkets .. when someone is coming towards you you will automatically veer slightly left to pass - they will automatically veer right ... you will almost bump in to each other - so off camino always veer right (is hard to learn this!).

Re cyclists. Pilgrim cyclists tend to be very careful and considerate (and not speedy) but there will be groups of rainbow lycra clad super-fast off-roaders, usually in small groups, and they can whizz past you before you even know they are there which can be a bit disconcerting.
Thanks David. I hadn’t thought about off Camino, so will have to restrain myself from signalling and saying ‘keep left please’ in the supermarket😱. I’ll focus on staying left on the roads and hope the rest follows without incident.
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Portugués (2015 - 2019)
de Madrid (2019)
Argentino/Inglés (2020)
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
unless you're on a road where you should be facing the traffic, there are no rules (thank goodness) except caution and pray that indeed the cyclists behave and don't mow you down (God bless them); local wheel-traffic will not be a problem.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
When traffic is present, ALWAYS walk facing oncoming traffic. In Spain, and most all continental Europe, this means on the LEFT. You commonwealth folks sometimes get it backwards. No problem, you will sort it out soon enough...or get mowed down by a vehicle coming up behind you.

The photos of pilgrims all over a road or path are likely because: the road is sufficiently rural that traffic is nil, the road is actually a farm access path on private property, or the pilgrims are just not paying full attention. In my experience, when an oncoming vehicle or piece of farm machinery is spotted folks will usually and quickly move into a single file, mostly on the correct side of the road. I usually find myself yelling "coche!" ('coach-aa' car in Spanish) to get people to look up from their phone screens...

But, seriously, on some very rural roads in some places, you might go 15 - 20 minutes, or more, without seeing a vehicle coming towards you. So, the photos are understandable.

Also, in Spain there is a law requiring pedestrians to wear hi-vis safety vests when walking against oncoming traffic. A viable alternative, of questionable legality, is to wear clothing items that are nearly as bright as the vest, without having to carry the additional vest. I do this. The police have not said anything yet. So, wearing bright clothing items is my considered recommendation.

My ball cap, shirts, outer wind shell parka, my hiking umbrella, and poncho are bright colors that stand out against the terrain and create contrast. You do not have to wear neon-lime yellow or international orange. Any stark and bright color that creates high contrast with the environment will work.

Lightweight clip on, blinky LED blinky lights, like used when riding a bicycle also work. I did this for a few years, but now eschew the added weight...everything adds up.

Headlamps also work in low visibility situations like on a rainy day, much like a bicycle front lamp. But, avoiding walking in the dark hours means I do not have to carry this weight whether... My iPhone provides more than enough light for finding the loo in the dark...

My bright red nylon wind and rain shell works. My bright red, yellow, or green t-shirts or polo shirts also work. So too, do my neon yellow ball cap work, as does my bright wasabi green poncho. I think you get the idea...

Conversely, subdued colors like black, navy blue, dark green, burgundy, brown, olive green, and any shade of grey etc. blend in with the rural and urban background. So, they do not create the high-contrast needed to provide a safety margin. Ironically most all of the rain gear one sees on Camino is usually black, navy blue, claret or burgundy, or a dark green... go figure...

THAT is what gets you seen...bright contrasting colors. I might look ridiculous, but an oncoming driver WILL see me. He or she may die laughing at the sight of me, but they WILL see me.

Hope this helps.
 

peterbells

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2018 (Sarria to Santiago), repeating Sept 2019
Unfortunately the risk of getting mown down by cyclists seems to exist regardless of being on left or right. One of the disappointments of the Camino is the high number of inconsiderate cyclists and hearing a bell is a rarity in my experience. But do not let that put you off as the positives of doing a Camino far outweigh these irritants.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
my question is: on which side of the path, trail etc do you walk?
Kia ora from across the ditch.

I walk roads for preference (with provisos). There is not one rule for all conditions. And you have to trade off.

From my nearly eight years experience my hierarchy includes:

* Never ever think left or right
* Be in the most visible place.
* Friendly wave to all drivers and passengers
* Walk on the side that faces oncoming traffic
* Walk outside any lines marking the road edge (the shoulder)
* Walk on the outside of bends
* For narrow lanes with fences (etc) consider walking in the middle
* Cross where there is the same visibilty before and behind
* Review with aerial and/or ground level imagery before.
* If you consider hitching do so where the vehicle can stop safely


One example:
Ahead was a bridge across a broad deep river.
The alternative was a winding road with almost no shoulders and large and fast traffic.
The bridge had generous lanes and a ledge and handrail.
Visibilty was good in all directions and weather was very kind.
It would take me about 5 minutes to cross.
Traffic was light - one vehicle towards me every 30 to 60 seconds.
I started to cross when no oncoming traffic was visible > 1 km.
I walked near the middle of "my" lane.
When a vehicle appeared I waved my poles.
When they slowed to about 20 km/h I took to the ledge.
And waved my thanks as they "crawled" past.
If traffic was too much I would have considered hitching.

So, Glenda, kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@GlendaMac , for me the positives of walking the roads include:

Better (superior) signage. (Camino Frances excepted)
Better surfaces
Possibility of a ride in wet weather
They go to towns and villages (food and accomodation)
(many walking routes seem to avoid them)
More people to encounter
More examples of the built environment
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino Frances (2018}
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
On the road, I walk facing traffic. Being from Belfast, we learned in the 70s and 80s to always face oncoming traffic especially at night. On the camino, I am a wobbler. Left, right up the middle and to tell the truth, in my experience most everyone is a wobbler
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
There are quite a few signs (at least on the Camino Frances) directing peatones (pedestrians) to stay a la izquierda (on the left)
 

Introibo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
Sometimes "facing oncoming traffic" leaves you hiding round a corner. In the UK the "always walk on the right" means a driver coming round a sharp left hand bend, from his point of view, sees you at the very last moment. Far safer if you can to be on the other side of the road.

Keep yourself as visible as possible might be the maxim we're looking for.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Also, in Spain there is a law requiring pedestrians to wear hi-vis safety vests when walking against oncoming traffic.
Tom,

Is this new?

My understanding has been that this rule applies in limited circumstances i.e "outside of town,between sunrise and sunset and in conditions of reduced visibility " the latter not being defined.

I have not tracked down the Spanish original but "Article 123 of Royal Decree 1428/2003" was referenced on this forum (in Spanish and English) in Jan 2016 ( https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/reflective-vests.38005/) ; the reference itself was from peregrina2000

Mike.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Not new, but very rarely enforced! Nevertheless good advice to follow!
BC SY
I fear that your reply quoting the truncated version of my reply to Tom is more than a little misleading : I am quite clearly (and I hope diplomatically) querying Tom's idea of the "rule".

I shall not reproduce my whole post but merely reiterate that I am not certain that there is such a rule requiring hi-vis clothing at all times when walking against oncoming traffic, as has been suggested.

Incidentally, it is not easy to establish that hi-vis clothing is actually effective in preventing injury/death in vulnerable road users. My knowledge of this is from the cycling world so perhaps someone can quote evidence from studies involving pedestrians.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
In general, the rule of thumb is to walk facing traffic. The idea is that not only can they see (and hopefully avoid) you, but you can see them and get out if their way. Thus it is safer.

Unlike those who make it an absolute rule and ALWAYS walk facing traffic, I tend to use judgement in applying this rule. For example, if the road is long and straight behind me and I am headed into a sharp blind turn to the left where oncoming traffic won't see me until they are on top of me, I am liable to walk with the traffic. It seems safer to walk on the side of the road where traffic can see me well before they hit me. The same situation might apply nearing the top of a steep hill. As well, if I am turning right onto a busy road and then turning right off the road not too far down, I might consider the additional risks of walking with the traffic instead of facing it for a short less than the risks of crossing the busy road twice.

And let's not talk about days when it is extremely hot and the only shade is on the side of the road with the traffic instead of caing traffic and there is no traffic (or practically none).
 

Donjek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPdP - Fisterra
My recollection is of roads too narrow to allow more than one car to pass. The fun part was being aware of cars coming from both directions, often around a blind corner, each driving too fast considering the visibility, as is the norm, and the ensuing screeching of tires as the drivers became aware of each other and took action to avoid a collision. You'll want to be aware of these situations as it doesn't matter which side of the road you are on; you have to get to a safe place right now.

Otherwise, on two lane roads, best practice is to walk on the left, facing traffic, opposite side of your habitual practice at home in Australia. Spain drives on the right side of the road.

It is easy to get into trouble when the driving customs are different. Once, in London, I stepped off the sidewalk to avoid an obstacle without checking because there was nothing coming towards me, and nearly got struck by a bus that was coming up from behind driving on the left at full tilt. I'm lucky to be here. I'm used to right side of road driving.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Tom,

Is this new?

My understanding has been that this rule applies in limited circumstances i.e "outside of town,between sunrise and sunset and in conditions of reduced visibility " the latter not being defined.

I have not tracked down the Spanish original but "Article 123 of Royal Decree 1428/2003" was referenced on this forum (in Spanish and English) in Jan 2016 ( https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/reflective-vests.38005/) ; the reference itself was from peregrina2000

Mike.
I truthfully do not know the origin or current applicability. I DO know that I ignore the literal letter of this law.

But I do try to look as ridiculously bright and contrasting as I walk along. In my view, it makes logical sense to wear bright contrasting colors. Think walking during hunting season...
 

GlendaMac

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, May - June 2020 SJPDP to SDC
Thank you all for your advice and information. I hadn’t thought about hi vis gear, but will have either a very fleuro cover on my pack or some reflective tape fixed in obvious places.
Good to know about and be prepared for very narrow roads where fast action might be needed, and that bell-ringing cyclists are few and far between as at home.
I guess if I start facing traffic on the road and then apply commonsense, as well as being aware on other paths I should be OK.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Appart from roads, you should walk on your right side because is the custom in Spain.
Especially in lane, paths if other person is coming in the opposite direction, the one who has the puddle should stop and let the other pass first.
On steep slopes, the one who is going up has priority. But this rule is not widely followed in Spain.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
As an aside, Spain is known for having lots of rules, many of which are ignored or only honored selectively, or occasionally. Not being critical, just an observation...

The takeaway on this issue, as pertains to being visible while walking is to: (1) think ahead; (2) assume the oncoming driver is distracted (smartphone, cigarette, radio, etc.), or somehow impaired; (3) walk defensively; and (4) walk brightly.

Another thing I have done that works a treat, is to wrap a single turn of 1" wide 3M brand, white reflective safety tape, around each segment of my hiking poles. That gives me four such stripes on each hiking stick.

Remember to apply the tape on the lower end of the segment, so that thinner end of the tapered pole section can still slide into the thicker upper section of the hiking stick. Alternatively, apply the tape to the plastic "collar" around one end of each segment of your poles.

One or the other approaches will certainly work. The result is the same.

As a vehicle approaches, especially in lower light conditions, or on a cloudy, rainy day, when you swing this pole using your wrist, in a 90 degree arc, at oncoming traffic, they see four whirring stripes, like an airplane propellor. It weighs nearly nothing (seriously) and works as well as a blinky lights, especially if the oncoming vehicle is using their day time safety or headlamps.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019
CF 2020
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
We just returned from walking the Camino Frances!!! Must say it was the very best "thing" we've ever done.
While walking on a paved road we thought we were taking a precaution by walking toward the oncoming traffic until a car going the opposite direction overtook a car in order to pass, the driver came dangerously close to us. Watch out Pilgrims! and Buen Camino
 

WalkingJane

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
Ah, I am a lefty too (UK) - definitely walk facing traffic on roads! and wear a Hi-Viz vest.

A car at 42 mph travels about 20 metres in one second ... if you are 50 metres from a bend in the road and a car appears at 42 mph they have 2 1/2 seconds to see you, react to you being there, and either brake or drive around you (if oncoming traffic allows) - that has to include their awareness level and their reaction time .... and that is in clear daylight, factor in mist or fog or rain or twilight ...... :eek:

so, yes, always face the traffic - you can jump onto the verge if need be! - and a Hi-Viz - (for the insurance claim if they hit you ;)).

If you are intending to walk roads in poor light you can buy small front and rear gel bicycle lights, which easily fit onto your pack and front harness .. they are cheap, very light, battery last for ages, and they give out a bright light too - like these ones

View attachment 67052

and as Paul says above, when on Camino.

As a lefty you will find an interesting problem off Camino, walking pavements and in supermarkets .. when someone is coming towards you you will automatically veer slightly left to pass - they will automatically veer right ... you will almost bump in to each other - so off camino always veer right (is hard to learn this!).

Re cyclists. Pilgrim cyclists tend to be very careful and considerate (and not speedy) but there will be groups of rainbow lycra clad super-fast off-roader day racers, usually in small groups, and they can whizz past you before you even know they are there which can be a bit disconcerting.

A lot of good advice! But I did have difficulties on one stretch in Portugal when the path was on a road with a narrow 2 lanes, the level part of the grassy verge was a few inches wide, dipping into a steep ditch about 3 feet deep. Happily the weather was clear so no water at the bottom of the ditch. Besides cars being driven in the usual Portuguese manner (fast) there were some very large trucks. Scary.
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
As an aside, Spain is known for having lots of rules, many of which are ignored or only honored selectively, or occasionally. Not being critical, just an observation...
Maybe you are right, but I think we are improving.
What I said about walking on the right side on paths is not an "official rule" of course. It is just a custom that follows almost everybody in Spain.
In relation to the priority of those who are going up in steep slopes, it is an universal custom of courtesy, that I learnt in the Dolomites (Italy) where everybody did it when I was there.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
What I said about walking on the right side on paths is not an "official rule" of course. It is just a custom that follows almost everybody in Spain.
I don't know much about Spain's laws but I know that in France and in Germany for example the law does say that pedestrians walking on roads outside of built-up areas and without a pavement must walk on the left side of the road in the direction of walking unless it endangers their security and safety or in other special circumstances. It says so in article R412-36 for France and article § 25 StVO for Germany, and I could probably find the same for other European countries. So Spain is no exception in this respect. We were taught this as kids by the adults, without knowing anything about any laws. I used to think that everybody is taught this as a kid but apparently not. 🤔
In relation to the priority of those who are going up in steep slopes, it is an universal custom of courtesy, that I learnt in the Dolomites (Italy) where everybody did it when I was there.
Oh yes ... My knees still start shaking when I think of it. I crossed the Mer de Glace near the Mont Blanc once, tied to an Alpine guide (I'm a chicken) and he instructed me to step aside on a very narrow and very steep trail in the snow where you could fall down the mountain for 200 metres on the right and for 1000 metres on the left because two mountaineers were coming up while we were going down and they had right of way. I do this now also on all kinds of other trails, including on the Camino Frances, but not many people are aware of this convention.
 
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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
I don't know much about Spain's laws but I know that in France and in Germany for example the law does say that pedestrians walking on roads outside of built-up areas and without a pavement must walk on the left side of the road in the direction of walking unless it endangers their security and safety or in other special circumstances. It says so in article R412-36 for France and article § 25 StVO for Germany, and I could probably find the same for other European countries. So Spain is no exception in this respect. We were taught this as kids by the adults, without knowing anything about any laws.
Yes, of course, in roads you must walk on your left in Spain to see the cars coming.
But, in rural paths with no cars involved, better walk on your right side because is the custom in Spain.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Yes, of course, in roads you must walk on your left in Spain to see the cars coming.
But, in rural paths with no cars involved, better walk on your right side because is the custom in Spain.
Yes, I realised belatedly that you were talking about paths and not roads ☺. And I agree that there is a tendency to walk on the right side on paths, not just in Spain but elsewhere in Continental Europe, too.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Maybe you are right, but I think we are improving.
What I said about walking on the right side on paths is not an "official rule" of course. It is just a custom that follows almost everybody in Spain.
In relation to the priority of those who are going up in steep slopes, it is an universal custom of courtesy, that I learnt in the Dolomites (Italy) where everybody did it when I was there.
If in doubt, do what the locals do. It is an effective alternative plan.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
It is an unofficial standard here in the US to stand to the right and pass on the left. This is an adaptation of the generalized motor vehicle traffic rule in the US, and likely in Canada too, that states that slower moving traffic MUST keep to the right, out of the passing (left) lane.

Some of our states do not post signs to this effect. This results in some drivers setting their cruise control for the speed limit, while "squatting" on the left, passing, lane. As most drivers tend to drive 5 - 10 mph over the posted limit, as a matter of standard practice, this always causes a significant backup. Grrrrr! Sometimes, walking in a much better way to move forward...

This is also why, in US airports, where moving sidewalks are common, the signage, custom and practice is always to keep to the right to allow others, in a greater rush, to pass you on the left.

However, in my travels, I have noticed that some commonwealth countries frequently have the moving 'sidewalks" installed so that the left one is moving in the forward direction, like the left lane when driving, and the oncoming traffic is on the right.

Then again, I suppose the direction can be reversed to even out wear on the mechanism.

Hope this helps.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Rule of thumb, in Continental Europe walk on the left side facing traffic -- because then if someone is driving dangerously, you can see it coming.

The major exceptions are when there's a cliff face or similar on the left, or if there's a walkway on the right, and so on.

But keep in mind always not only your own personal safety, but also and always that of the drivers of motor vehicles. Make sure never to endanger them, never to endanger yourself, be prepared at any time to hug a wall or even just the edge of the road to let someone pass without accident either to you or to them, and that should get you through.
 

GlendaMac

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, May - June 2020 SJPDP to SDC
I don't know much about Spain's laws but I know that in France and in Germany for example the law does say that pedestrians walking on roads outside of built-up areas and without a pavement must walk on the left side of the road in the direction of walking unless it endangers their security and safety or in other special circumstances. It says so in article R412-36 for France and article § 25 StVO for Germany, and I could probably find the same for other European countries. So Spain is no exception in this respect. We were taught this as kids by the adults, without knowing anything about any laws. I used to think that everybody is taught this as a kid but apparently not. 🤔
Oh yes ... My knees still start shaking when I think of it. I crossed the Mer de Glace near the Mont Blanc once, tied to an Alpine guide (I'm a chicken) and he instructed me to step aside on a very narrow and very steep trail in the snow where you could fall down the mountain for 200 metres on the right and for 1000 metres on the left because two mountaineers were coming up while we were going down and they had right of way. I do this now also on all kinds of other trails, including on the Camino Frances, but not many people are aware of this convention.
As a child in Australia we learned to walk on the left of paths/footpaths etc, but this seems to have been conveniently forgotten by many today who walk wherever they please despite signs on cycle paths etc stating ‘keep left, share the path’. Good to see the custom of walking on the right still holds in Europe.
 

tominrm

Hiking to Celebrate the End of Working Life.
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2014,2019)
del Norte ( 2015)
Portuguese ( 2016)
Primitivo ( 2017)
VdlP (2018)
If everyone walks on the left side of the road, it not only is safer but also helps move car/tractor move faster using the other side of the road.
When people are present on both sides of the road, it is more difficult for cars/tractors to navigate in the middle.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
Hi,

There are quite a few signs (at least on the Camino Frances) directing peatones (pedestrians) to stay a la izquierda (on the left)
Yes, Trecile, we have seen some of them when reaching Castrojeriz (maybe because the painted strip on the right side could have been an option?) :

P2.JPG
 

LesR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017, 2018; Camino Portuguese 2019
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
I walked on the side of the road (where I had to walk along a road) with the wider path... Sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right - the keepers of the yellow arrows generally had things worked out.

Where the path was restricted to pilgrims (on foot or cycle) I walked where it was flattest and most stable. The one or two oncoming Pilgrims and I readily worked out who gave way if there was any chance of a collision. Cyclists behind me could find their way around me, or wait until the pathway broadened out sufficiently to allow them to pass. If they gave adequate advance warning of their impending arrival, i might have moved sideways to allow them access to my line but if they didn't adequate advance warning, they could find their own way - I was there first and I wasn't going to risk losing my footing or getting wet footwear just so that they continue at breakneck speed ...

-
 
Last edited:

susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
Hi everyone
Coming from Australia where we cycle /walk on the left hand side of paths, trails, footpaths etc, but walk on the right hand side of the road (facing oncoming traffic), my question is: which side of the path, trail etc do you walk on in Spain?

I have seen advice re walking on the left on roads (facing oncoming traffic for safety), but in photos of pilgrims walking I see them all over the path. I don’t want to get mown down by cyclists or get in the way of whatever other traffic there might be, so could someone point me in the right direction please.
cheers
Glenda
I would think that it is just best to choose common sense. I am from Oz. and whilst in Spain, still walked facing the oncoming traffic. And when walking, I tried to keep to the left as much as possible.
 

NavyBlue

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy and Camino Frances. Via Francigena. Tro-Breiz in progress.
Hi,

While walking on a paved road we thought we were taking a precaution by walking toward the oncoming traffic until a car going the opposite direction overtook a car in order to pass, the driver came dangerously close to us. Watch out Pilgrims!
Good point, barnettstakeagiantstep.

Overtaking vehicles are a danger, speeding on your side of the road, with a driver who may not have seen you.
You cannot walk with your eyes looking at your back, but be specially careful when you happen to see or hear some slow/wide vehicle, such as timber trucks, farm equipment etc., likely to be overtaken by others.
 

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