Is it just me or is the pedestrian vs. car problem getting worse?
After reading the comments on the and the recent tragedy of a , it seems like it's becoming a bigger problem.
I’ve had several close calls myself while running around Alameda or Bay Farm Island. If I can run on a path or the beach that’s the best, but getting there is like running the gauntlet.
As one reader commented on the Most Dangerous article, you can’t ever expect a driver to see you let alone stop for you. Living in San Francisco taught me that no one ever sees you – you’re on your own to ensure your safety, but this is true no matter where you live.
The first rule is to always keep your head up. Be actively aware of your surroundings at all times. This is wise not only to avoid a close call with a car but for general personal safety, especially for women. Always know where you are and who (or what) might be around you.
Second rule: Whether running or walking, never, ever wear headphones. I know it’s fun, I’ve done it, but I’ve been surprised one too many times by cars getting too close and sometimes dogs coming out of nowhere. Now I go without and I don’t miss it. I let my brain go blank or meander its way around a problem with work or other issues. I’ve solved a lot of problems that way.
Third rule: If you’re running in the bike lane or in the street, as I do (when there’s room to do so safely), the correct side of the road is on the left – going against traffic. Many runners choose the street over sidewalks because asphalt is a wee bit softer than concrete. Also, and this is just me, but I feel safer with a wider field of vision in the street and sidewalks are rife with tripping hazards. Just move to the left, toward the curb, for oncoming cyclists. They should know you’re in the right place and not give you any lip.
Facing traffic as you run (or walk) ensures that you can see cars coming at you, because we know they won’t always see you. If you’re on the wrong (right) side of the street, they’ll be behind you where you can’t see them and that’s a problem. If you’re out after dark, always wear light-colored clothing. Wrap yourself in a string of blinky lights, wear a head lamp or a reflective vest – something.
I cross streets all the time behind cars that never look in my direction to see if anyone is there and they always get a friendly knock on the trunk. I’m sure it startles the drivers but that’s part of the fun. They might remember to look next time. It’s an ongoing challenge to stay safe but we have to assume no one in a car is paying attention.
“Let’s be careful out there.” (Golf clap to anyone who can name where that line comes from.)