by Coach Jenni Nettik
As urban dwellers, many of us run several days a week on the city roads–even if it’s just so we can make our way to a park. There are a few things that all road runners should keep in mind to stay safe around the town.
1. Be alert: It always important to pay attention to your surroundings. Use your eyes and your ears to predict possible danger. Be particularly aware of blind alleys, driveways and curves–cars will always win.
2. Run against traffic: Many road runners prefer to run on the road rather than on the sidewalk because of ice, snow, people and the smoother surface. When running on a road, one should run against traffic so that oncoming cars are visible–that is, unless there’s a blind curve or something else that makes it safer to be on the other side. Remember, drivers aren’t expecting to see pedestrians in the street, so be alert and have a plan of how to get off the road quickly if needed. Also, keep in mind that roads are slanted for drainage, if possible, run far enough from the edge that you’re on a flat surface to avoid foot, knee and hip injuries.
3. Make eye contact: Drivers are often distracted behind the wheel or in hurry to get somewhere. Even if you have the right-away, make eye contact with the driver before stepping in front of a vehicle. As you’re crossing, a friendly wave doesn’t hurt.
4. Be seen: Wear bright colors, reflective gear or a headlamp when running in dim or dark conditions.
5. Follow traffic signs: It’s a bummer to get stopped at light when you’re in your groove, but getting hit by a car is worse. Cross streets at designated spots where vehicles are expecting to see pedestrians. Even if you have a green light or walk signal, give a quick glance over your shoulder to make sure a distracted driver hasn’t missed you.
What are your tips for running in the city?