I was recently in a race with hundreds of runners when a car sped toward the crowd on a narrow road in a thickly settled neighborhood. Instead of waiting for the crowd to run by, or at the very least slow down, the driver revved his engine, peeled out, and charged at us. Quite a few of us cried out in fear as many runners were forced off the road!
I couldn't help but wonder: What was so urgent that this driver risked inflicting major injury—possibly death—to others on a Saturday morning? Did he even realize the potential harm he was causing? Or was he just annoyed there was a race in his neighborhood?
Runners are not objects or inconveniences; we're people, and we're not out to ruin anyone's day. Our only agenda is to run, and we just want to be safe while running. So I've created a list for non-runners and runners alike to keep everyone safe on the road.
2. Make eye contact.Just because a runner is coming toward you doesn't mean they see you. Make eye contact when possible so you both know you're aware of the other and can move accordingly. If you don't have time to make eye contact, you're driving too fast. Review tip #1.
3. Do not honk or shout out.Treat runners like other drivers on the road. Do not honk incessantly, whistle, or catcall out your window. Sudden noises cause panic in runners, and panic can result in erratic movement, which can result in an accident. Also, it's a jerk move. Don't be a jerk.
4. Please be patient.We runners understand that we're slower than cars and that we might get in the way in some circumstances. We appreciate your patience as we do our best to move out of your way. We just want the same respect as everyone else who shares the road.
The responsibility of safety is not entirely on drivers. We runners must take precautions every time we hit the pavement.
A. Follow the rules.Whether you're in a race or running solo, follow road rules. For example: run facing traffic, stop at intersections, use crosswalks, obey traffic signals, and use hand signals to signal drivers. When possible, run on pedestrian paths and sidewalks.
B. Pay attention.It's so easy to zone out when running, but that can lead to injury. To stay alert, play mental games like "how many [animals, car colors, plant/flower types, etc.] can you find while running." If you listen to music, avoid earbuds or noise cancelling headphones. Play music through your phone's speaker (not during a race; that annoys other racers), or buy bone conduction earphones so that you can hear your surroundings.
C. Wear bright, reflective clothing.
|Shining bright by sunlight|
Women's reflective bling vigor singlet in charcoal
|Wait for it...|
Because you're reading this post, you can receive 15% off your entire IllumiNITE order with my discount code RUNBRIGHTLY. Spread the safety by sharing the code with all your running, and walking, friends!
D. Take extra safety precautions.
|Running gear for Kintyre Way Ultra|
Runners and non-runners alike. Let's help keep the road a little safer. It may save a life. What safety tips do you find helpful? Leave a comment below.