David G. Smith, Attorney At Law
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How runners can stay safe on California roads

As a runner, nothing is better than lacing up your shoes and stretching your legs for mile after mile. Running is an excellent escape from the stresses of everyday life and offers you a chance to re-center after a long day.

Unfortunately, your daily run comes with the risk of serious injury. Motor vehicle collisions with runners are becoming all too frequent. Their large size and considerable speed can cause runners severe injury, paralysis or even death. Do you know how runners can increase their visibility and safety?

Safety tips for runners

Remember that you are much more vulnerable than drivers. Even if you legally have the right of way, run defensively and be ready to yield to motorists. Below are some critical tips for staying safe while running.

  • Increase your visibility.Vehicles have trouble spotting runners on the side of the road. You are smaller than the other motorists that drivers are expecting, so you need to work extra hard to gain notice. Wear bright colors and reflective gear to catch drivers' eyes. You can wear headlights, or clip-on strobe lights, to attract attention. Motorists can see you up to half a mile away when you wear a headlamp, and a quarter mile away when you wear reflective vests or blinking lights.
  • Research safer running routes.The less time you spend on roads, the safer you are. Find running routes that take advantage of sidewalks or park paths. You may need to run on a road to access these paths but aim to spend the bulk of your runs off of streets. If you are on the street, face oncoming traffic so you can see approaching vehicles.
  • Avoid distraction.Many runners enjoy running with headphones or a cell phone. Unfortunately, earbuds prevent you from hearing oncoming traffic and make you more vulnerable. If you run with a cell phone, keep it in your pocket. You should not read or respond to a text message while running. This will take your attention away from the road, and you may not notice a car backing out of their driveway, or coming around a corner.
  • Consider what time of day you run.Many runners choose to run early in the morning, or late in the evening. These may be the most convenient times to go for a run, but they are also the most dangerous. Dim light at dawn and dusk make it harder for drivers to see you. Additionally, drivers are typically groggier at these times of the day. In the evening, you should be aware that drivers may be coming from a happy hour event. Even if they are under the legal drinking limit, they will have dulled senses and reaction times.

In case of accident

If you are injured by a motorist while running, seek medical attention immediately. If the driver stops their car, collect their name, number and insurance information.

You should also consider calling an attorney. An attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine whether the driver was negligent. They will represent your interests and help you gain the compensation that you deserve.

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David G. Smith, Attorney At Law
2201 Broadway
Suite 506
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone: 925-308-6484
Fax: 510-893-2701
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