Runners at risk from oblivious drivers

It seems too early in the season for my usual post complaining about drivers not watching for joggers. But a guy almost ran me over today, so here goes.

I’ve seen more runners wearing bright fluorescent clothing – searing greens and yellows and UDOT-caliber orange. Increasing visibility, the logic goes, lowers a runner’s odds of getting flattened.

It’s potential carnage out there these days, with distracted texters, drunks and even teenagers bobbling muffins. Pedestrians, including joggers, often are most at risk.

Maybe joggers, bicyclists and motorcyclists should combine their lobbying efforts against the irresponsible driving public. We’re roadkill in waiting, so why not?

Of course, there are plenty of witless runners, cyclists and bikers, and they deserve the criticism they get as well. The point is, the roads need to be shared without bodily injuries.

The cold truth is that no one is 100 percent safe, even if all precautions are taken. That’s why, after almost 30 years of jogging in the Ogden area, it’s in my DNA to stay alert at all times when any motor vehicle is anywhere close.

Today was no different as I jogged north near the Weber County Fairgrounds north gate, in a bright red Classic Race shirt. About 100 yards ahead, I watched an obese, bearded gentleman in jeans and a plaid shirt walk from the softball fields to his pickup truck, no other parked vehicles near. I thought he had seen me, but I kept attention on him and his truck anyway. As I approached his back bumper, he started the engine and gunned it in reverse. I stopped in time and he kept backing. I couldn’t see through his tinted windows to check whether he was surprised.

I’ve lost count of the near misses, and it’s depressing to know that nothing is very likely to change.

Runners, keep right on wearing your fluorescent jerseys. At least you’ll know you’re trying.

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13 Responses to Runners at risk from oblivious drivers

  1. Midwinter says:

    I am constantly astonished at how close cars will come to me when I’m running even short distances on the roads. They usually don’t even move over at all just to be safe. I try to stay off the roads and on the trails; I just don’t feel safe running on the roads.

    • ma says:

      I have an idea. Run on the perfectly good sidewalk. Joggers are just as, if not more rude. Did you ever think about the fact that runners are HARD to see? Especially in traffic.

      • ma says:

        Roads are for driving. Not running.graphe ndsswha

      • Mark Shenefelt says:

        ma, I run on sidewalks a lot, but many places don’t have sidewalks. Roadsides also are used by people who walk, some of them hoofing it because they don’t have transportation. Pedestrians are allowed on the edges of roads by law, anyway.

  2. hawg says:

    you see the guy get into the vehicle and run behind him anyway.
    good call

  3. ctrentelman says:

    You forgot the first rule of the paranoia school of driving/riding/walking/living, Mark — everyone out there is trying to kill you and make it look like an accident. If they can’t make it look like an accident, they’ll still take a shot at it.

    To the guy who said run on the sidewalk — sure thing, as soon as you build some.

    to hawg, who always has something intelligent to say — you weren’t there, thanks for assuming that mark’s an idiot. He’s not, but what do you care?

    • hawg says:

      geez carles, really?

      exactly what part of:
      I WATCHED an obese, bearded gentleman in jeans and a plaid shirt walk from the softball fields TO HIS pickup truck, NO other parked vehicles near, is not what i said?

      and what part of:
      gunned it in REVERSE. I stopped in time and he kept backing, is also not what i said?

      the only car around, it can only go in two directions, one SHOULD suspect it might actually move in one of those two directions. you called him an idiot, I didn’t.

      • lvncare13 says:

        Run on the sidewalks problem solved! Stay out of the road that’s where the cars are. It’s simple they taught it to us in grade school.

  4. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Hawg, you’ve got it all wrong. I expected him to put it in drive, jump the curb and drive across the park. [ rolls eyes ]

  5. lvncare13 says:

    Don’t jog, run, walk in the road. For example A CARS LANE OF TRAVEL. Problem solved. Duh

  6. GNCG says:

    Say what you want about joggers, I ride a bike to work. While psychologists may say that paranoia is unhealthy, it is absolutely critical when trying to stay alive when sharing the road. My biggest concern is side traffic. I have learned that in order to stay up and alive to assume 1. That the driver doesn’t see me, and 2. If the driver does see me, he/she doesn’t see me. In both cases I am prepared to stop or swerve. I do not want to be dead right. I have been hit a a car once and I feel that a good deal of the fault was mine, even though the driver stated that her brakes weren’t very good. Fortunately for me, only the rear fender on my bike was bent. The wheel made it out just fine. In broad daylight with a bright orange flourescent vest. It made me a lot more careful. I also had a helmet on but did not need it that day.

  7. Melissa says:

    I am a runner and a driver. I remember in driver’s ed I was taught to look at the sidewalk as well as the road when I was backing out so I didn’t hit anyone. I was also taught to be aware of my surroundings. Look for people and things on the road. This includes runners, bikes, kids, etc. It’s called defensive driving.

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