Safety is an important part of fitness activities. Our friends at Fleet Feet Sports along with our Daggett Shuler team recently put on a Safety Clinic for runners. We weren’t sure how big of a draw “safety” would be, but were impressed when close to 100 runners, both beginners and advanced, showed up for the discussions.
We were joined by Sergeant (and Ironman) John Morris of the Winston-Salem Police Department, Captain Todd Smith of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department, and Sergeant Alex Justice of North Carolina Highway Patrol. Between them they have more than 60 years of law enforcement and accident reconstruction experience. They also have experience in event and course safety and security. Unfortunately, they also frequently see injury and death. In fact, Sgt. Justice sees death almost daily.
The officers made us all starkly aware that injury and death are real. Fortunately, good safety habits can make our fitness activities fun and safe. So, let’s review a few of the safety tips that apply to all runners and pedestrians.
Follow the law! Run on the left side of the road facing traffic, or on the sidewalk or shoulder if available. Cross only at crosswalks or at intersections. And, please obey all traffic signals.
We also reviewed the practical realities. Cars don’t see you when you are running. Accordingly, you need to be seen, be aware, and be alert. Wear visible, reflective clothing; and, please never, never wear earphones while running. I get a lot of push back on the last part, but it is never safe to wear earphones. You can’t hear traffic, or other predators, and are not as aware of your surroundings. So, please, PLEASE, enjoy the sounds of nature, be alert, and stay safe.
Another important consideration is to have good insurance. Health insurance is very important. Also, review your auto, homeowners, disability, and hospital/medical indemnity coverages. All of the coverages may cover you while exercising, bicycling, or as a pedestrian. It is also a good idea to carry I.D. and medical information while running.
Lastly, it is important to be good examples for others in the fitness community and good ambassadors to the community at large. Please help spread the message of safety. You can also download safety tips here.