Fellow Oregonians, the time has come again (for the last time?!) for daylight savings to come to an end. And for those with the fortitude to brave the darkness during their runs, there are a few things that Rose City Physical Therapy would like to share to keep you as safe as possible.
Last year, nearly 6,283 pedestrians were involved with traffic fatalities in the United States, a 3.4% increase from the year before. And while programs like Vision Zero can help reduce these fatalities, there is still plenty that runners can do to protect themselves during these sunless days and wet glaring weather we contend with in the Pacific Northwest.
Here are a few general principles to keep you safe:
A great approach to running in the dark is to stay on the defense: assume drivers cannot see you and always be aware of your surroundings. For example, running against traffic will allow you to know where cars are in relation to you. If you are crossing at a stop sign, go behind a stopped car, or wait for them to drive on. Finding long stretches of flat road will also allow you to see other pedestrians or motor vehicles ahead of time. And speaking of roads….
Find a good route
Stick to well lit streets that are easily accessible to pedestrians. But where can you find such a Shangri La you ask? Luckily in Portland, there is almost 70 miles of roadway specifically for pedestrians and cyclists with the Neighborhood Greenways initiative. And the City of Portland also provides a map of these streets!
Stay Reflective/Get Lit
But running defensively in safer areas is only half of the solution! The other half is having the best gear to stay visible. Our good friends at Fleet Feet made this great video on different products they recommend. Our neighborhood Fleet Feet PDX in the Slabtown neighborhood of Northwest Portland also have some great items:
Another great option are these affordable reflective strips you can attach to your extremities.
Run with friends!
What better than one set of eyes and ears? More! Get a friend and run together to keep both of you safe. Portland has plenty of running groups going on all year round to join with friends or meet new friends with similar interests
Run with music?
Keep the volume low or wear only one earbud to allow you to tune in to sounds on the road easier.
These are some tips on how to stay safe out there on your runs. See and be seen. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Have fun and stay safe out there!
Check out our Runner’s Safety Infographic Below!
About the Author
Ryan Bourdo completed his undergraduate education at the University of Oregon and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. He is an avid runner and enjoys treating runners of all skills and ability. He believes in treating the whole person and creating an environment that best enables the body to heal through exercise and manual therapy.