Aug 3, 2013

Posted by Jo W. 8/03/2013
Almost all of my training is done solo, and early in the morning. My runs are mostly in my neighborhood, which feels really safe (hello, I'm in the middle of suburbia). There's a soccerplex near my house with nice paths with plenty of walkers, runners, and bikers during the later hours of the morning and in the evening. I also run along a more major road that has a nice path along it. If you can, try running in an area that's not deserted, so you can call for help when needed, but not with too much traffic that you risk of getting hit by a car every time you cross the road.

Here are some safety habits that I think are important when running or biking.

Tips for safe running:

1) Always let someone know where you're running and how long you'll be out

2) Headphones- turn down the volume and don't use noise-reducing headphones. Running isn't a time to enjoy the fine nuances of your music with fancy noise-cancelling headphones. You want to be aware of your surroundings at all times and be able to hear and respond to cars/runners/bikers/random people approaching you

3) LOOK both ways when crossing a street, every time. Come on, you learned this in kindergarten

4) If you must run when it's dark, wear a headlamp, reflective vest/clothing, tail lights, knuckle lights, glow sticks, etc. Maybe not glow-in-the-dark stars...

5) If you have to run on the road, generally run on the left side, so that you can see traffic approaching you. If the road has a sharp left bend where you can't see cars ahead of you, carefully cross to the right side of the road until it straightens out again

6) If you feel unsafe on any part of your route, consider carrying pepper spray or a loud whistle with you

Tips for safe riding:

1) See #1 above

2) Helmets- USE THEM

3) Headphones- DO NOT USE THEM. Doh. I see some kids wear huge headphones on their bikes sometimes. What are they thinking

4) If it's slightly dark out (sunset, sunrise, really shaded area, midnight rides), use a head and tail light. Get some reflective gear. You want to be as visible as possible

5) Know and follow traffic rules! When riding on a road, you should act like a car and be predictable. You don't swerve around or drive through traffic lights and stop signs in a car (or I really hope you don't), so you shouldn't on a bike, either

6) Use hand signals- like using turn signals in a car, use hand signals when biking

For more tips on road cycling safety, check out WikiHow

If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend the RoadID app. When you go out, you start the app and it texts a link to notify up to 5 people. The link takes them to a map with a dot on your most recent location. There is also a feature that sends an alert if you are stationary for more than 5 minutes in the middle of your ride or run. I use it every time I go on a solo ride and it makes me feel a lot safer. I mostly ride on very low-traffic roads in the countryside, so it's nice to know that someone (my mom) can track my position in real-time.


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