The truth hit me with the sting of a punch in the gut.  The words “Another runner was hit by a car” jumped out of my iPhone from a text by a friend.

The news of runner-vehicle accidents and bikers hit by cars has become way too common, especially here is Florida.  Personally, I’m highly allergic to car grills and hungry dogs.

From 2000 through 2009 in the US, almost 48,000 pedestrians were killed on our roads.  That’s equivalent of a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing roughly every month!  Hitting close to home, the top four (4) most dangerous cities in the US for runners and walkers were right here in Florida.

A list of Runner Safety Tips may seem elementary for most runners but we’ve all seen runners put themselves in dangerous situations by not following these suggestions.  Taking a mere 4 minutes, equivalent to running about a half a mile, to read these tips and email it to a fellow runner/walker friend could save a life.

Runner Safety Tips

  • Expect a Text – Assume every car driver approaching you on the road is texting.  The frequency of drivers texting is staggering.  In 2011, 23% of all auto accidents involved cell phones.  You can see an approaching car much better than they will see you so give all vehicles and bikes plenty of space.
  • Look Them in the Eyes – Pedestrian Rule #1: Run on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic.  The No Brainer: If a sidewalk is available, use it.
  • Bright and Active – Wearing bright colors/lights will draw attention to you for an unattentive driver.  A few right arm side waves should become a normal habit when approaching a car.  Reflective gear and a hand-held flashlight should always be used whenever darkness is involved.
  • Ears & Eyes – I’ve been clipped by bicycles and have been surprised by a “quiet” electric car.   I make a point to keep all my senses on high and my iPod on low when running on the road.  Off-road, the wildlife will have to deal with my load music and singing.
  • ID ASAP – In 2002 my best friend Rod Chaplin laid dead on a gurney as a “John Doe” while his wife, his friends and I searched for his whereabouts after not returning from a run.  A Road ID is your best option to keep you and your family safe and informed.
  • No See ’ems – Intersections and cars entering a roadway put runners at the greatest risk.  Simply putting your guard up and turning your music down when approaching all intersections, risky driveways and parked cars will help you avoid a free ride to the Emergency Room.
  • Exit Strategy – As you would do when driving a car, have an exit strategy as a runner when approaching a dangerous situation before you need it.

Being Smart About Being Safe

Revisiting these tips could save your life.  Keeping yourself and your fellow runners safe doesn’t take much if you’re being smart.  Protecting yourself by following these simple safety tips will help you to continue to enjoy the greatest fitness sport in the world.

Thank you for caring enough to email these tips to fellow runners in your world.