Specifically, automobile traffic.
We have all dealt with cars when we are out on the streets getting our miles in. When I started running on my own, it was almost all street running. I was actually running with the flow of traffic then. A lot has changed over the years. One of the changes that I have seen with growth in the popularity of running as a sport, are the experts that have come forward to study what we do and advise us on how to stay safe. What I’ve noticed was an increase in the number of close calls I was experiencing. Let’s face it, people in cars are dealing with an unbelievable amount of distractions as they drive. Looking out for runners (or for pedestrians in general) is not high on their priority list. That’s why we need to take our safety into our own hands.
Recently I asked my son as he was starting to go out on his own runs, “When do you have the right of way with a car?” When he hesitated to think about his answer I shouted NEVER. You never have the right of way. People like to quote the law when I say this. They says things like “pedestrians always have the right of way according to state law”. I would like to point out the fact that I am talking about the Law Of Physics! You will never win an altercation with a car. Never! In my other job I’ve seen the results of car vs. person accidents. These people, if they survive, are messed up for the rest of their lives. For what? Some of these people saw the car coming but still walked into it’s path! There was a red light, there was a stop sign, I was in the cross walk… it doesn’t matter! If you get hit, you will go to the hospital, the driver will go home with a traffic ticket, IF they stop.
Running is a great sport. You know this. It can be done anywhere. It can be done at little cost. Today there are more bike/running paths than ever. We have the knowledge and the resources to stay safe out there. We just have to think about it. Be prepared to let it go. Let that car or truck go through the stop sign, or turn right on red right in front of you. YOU are in charge of your own safety.
Something to think about: Walking or running into the path of a moving vehicle is actually against the law! Article X of Chapter 11 of the Illinois Vehicle Code covers “Pedestrians’ Rights and Duties” It states that pedestrians shall not “suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle.” Period! It doesn’t say anything about crosswalks or red lights, etc. You can read more here.
Know the law. Know your right of way. Be aware of your surroundings. Have fun! Just realize that no one is responsible for your safety but you.