The weather may be getting a little cooler, but it is perfect if you are an outdoor runner or cyclist. A crisp morning run while the world still sleeps can be peaceful, but it can also be very dangerous. Runners, cyclist and motorist alike have a responsibility to share the road and respect each other’s safety and space.
Road warrior athletes can follow a few simple rules to avoid a tragedy. First, I know it is tempting, but avoid wearing headphones when you are on roadways. Headphones may pull attention away from strenuous activity, but they also distract you from your surroundings. If you must have music, try just putting in one earbud and hold the other in your hand or tuck it in your shirt.
Another suggestion from the Road Runner of America’s (RRCA) is to run against traffic to make it easier to see what is coming. The morning sun, fog or clouds limit everyone’s visibility.
The site also reminds you to look both ways when crossing the street. Yes, pedestrians have the right of way, but proceed cautiously. Assume cars will not stop and cross when it is all clear, not taking any chances.
Wearing reflective material and having something with you that makes noise may help as well, especially if the sun has not quite peeked out yet, or if it is a rainy morning. Also avoid wearing all black, navy, brown or dark gray tops. Aim for brighter colored shirts when running outside. Running or riding at night also increases the risk.
Both Active.com and RRCA suggest carrying your cell phone and setting up your “in case of emergency” (ICE) contacts. Everyone should work to keep each other safe; it is a shared responsibility.
UPDATE: Maryland law states when riding a bike that you should follow laws as if you are a motor vehicle operating on the road. A detailed description of the laws as well tips for staying safe can be found on the MVA website.