Running and Cycling Safety for Drivers: If You Drive a Vehicle You Need to Read This
If you're like me and live in a rural area where there are no parks or running trails nearby, and you love to run or bike, then you are forced to run and ride on the sides of the road. This is not always safe, so this post is mostly for those who drive on these roads.
I have been very fortunate enough to have not been injured from a vehicle while running or cycling. However, there have been some close calls and just too many bad decisions made by drivers that I have witnessed. This is why I am writing this post. I hope to inform drivers out there of the dangers we as runners and cyclists face out on the roads while being so vulnerable.
Vulnerability is what I want to talk about first. Drivers have a car to protect them in so many ways. Even from the smallest things like a piece of gravel flying up from another vehicle. From a runner's or cyclist's perspective, this piece of gravel can easily hit a runner or cyclist causing injury. Although throwing up a piece of gravel cannot really be avoided by a driver, but it can be minimized by slowing down.
Yes, SLOW DOWN when you are approaching a runner or cyclist on the side of the road. I deal with drivers every time I run that feel no need to take their foot off of the accelerator for a few seconds or tap the brake and slow down some. I run on country roads, and there are those that will slow down, and that is GREATLY appreciated! However, when you're already going too fast and then you pass by someone on the side of the road only two feet from your vehicle, you could be setting yourself up to injure or kill someone. Is someone's life really worth losing 15 seconds of your life? And really, that is all you lose, just a few seconds. You will not lose a large amount of time by slowing down to go around someone.
Give some space! If I can reach out my arm and touch your vehicle, then you are EXTREMELY too close. If you are within 3-4 feet of me, you are still too close. Unless you're are on a blind hill or curve or another car is approaching, it is perfectly acceptable for you as the driver to move completely into the other lane to go around a cyclist or runner. We thank you greatly for doing this. I don't know how many times vehicles have passed me so close and so fast that the wind from their vehicle almost knocks me over. Very dangerous.
It is also safer to keep some space and slow down, because the runner or cyclist may not see you or know you are there. He could easily veer out from the side of the road and be struck by your vehicle. This is why I do not ever wear earbuds while running or cycling, because I want to be aware of my surroundings and try to know if a car is approaching. However, that is not always possible when there is wind or other background noise.
The last thing I want to mention is PUT YOUR CELL PHONES DOWN! This does not only apply to the safety of just runners and cyclists but to everyone out on the roads including yourself. I have seen drivers looking completely down as they pass by me while I'm running. Never acceptable. It is never worth someone's life or yours for you to be texting while driving. I know we hear this preached at us all of the time, but people are dying as a result of it.
So to summarize everything, slow down, move over, and put your phone down. Pretty simple stuff to help save someone's life. Just please be cautious around runners and cyclists. We're out there sharing the roads with you, and we want to make it home safe to our families too. It may be a slight inconvenience for a few seconds, but in the grand scheme, it's worth it to lose those seconds rather than someone lose his or her life.
Be safe, everyone!
Disclaimer: I use affiliate marketing, which means that I provide links to products that I make a small commission on when they are purchased through my links. Any information I provide about the products are my own personal opinion.
I am not a professional; therefore, any information that I provide should not be taken as professional health advice but is my own personal opinion and from my own personal experiences. Please consult with your medical professional before you start running or cycling. Running and cycling are not for everyone.