Pedestrian

A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot, whether walking or running. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road but this was not the case historically. Nowadays, roads often have a designated footpath attached especially for this traffic, called the sidewalk in US English and the pavement in UK English. There are also footpaths not associated with a road which are used purely by pedestrians, particularly ramblers, hikers or hill-walkers and there are roads not associated with a footpath. On some of the latter, pedestrians share the road with horses and vehicles whilst on others they are forbidden from using the road altogether. Also some shopping streets are for pedestrians only. Some roads have special pedestrian crossings.

Efforts are underway by pedestrian advocacy groups to restore pedestrian access to new developments, especially to counteract newer developments where 20 to 30 percent do not include sidewalks.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, pedestrianism was a popular spectator sport just as equestrianism still is. One of the most famous pedestrians of the day was Captain Robert Barclay Allardice, known as "The Celebrated Pedestrian", of Stonehaven. His most impressive feat was to walk 1 mile every hour for 1000 hours, which he achieved between the 1st of June and the 12th of July, 1809. This feat captured the imagination of the public, and around 10,000 people came to watch over the course of the event. During the rest of the nineteenth century attempts to repeat this particular athletic challenge were made by many pedestrians including the renowned Ada Anderson who developed it further and walked a quarter-mile in each quarter-hour over the 1,000 hours.

Since the nineteenth century, interest in pedestrianism has dropped. Although it is still an Olympic sport, it fails to catch public attention in the way that it used to. However, pedestrians are still carrying out major walking feats such as the popular Land's End to John o' Groats walk or traversal of North America from coast to coast. These feats are often tied to charitable fundraising and have been achieved by celebrities such as Sir Jimmy Savile or Ian Botham as well as by people not otherwise in the public eye.

External Links

Ultramarathons
Early Pedestrians in North America
Pedestrian Advocacy Groups
Transportation Alternatives: Pedestrian Advocacy
America Walks



copyright 2004 FactsAbout.com