Barbara, grandmother of five, recently sent me this feedback:
I’m a worrying and loving grandmother [and] would like to suggest an emphasis on colored clothing or some bodily adornment for safety. On occasion, runners are in colors that blend with the colors of nature along the roadways they choose for their course. Highway crews and police and fire are attuned to visibility for a good reason.
Grandma Barbara’s note struck a nerve because I have had road safety on the brain, lately. I just spent a week at my grandparents’ retirement community. I love it there. My grandparents and their friends are amazing people. And the Q-tips (as my grandparents call themselves, given their white hair) have FUN. It’s like visiting a resort mixed with a college dorm environment. We had cocktail parties at 2 PM. We played scrabble to our heads hurt. We exercised (water aerobics or speed walking anyone?). We talked about life.
This visit’s hot topic: my Grandmother’s driving test. She has failed it several times. This was her last chance to pass the test. We spent a lot of time practicing parallel parking/hitting barricades and running onto curbs. This prompted tales of “worse” drivers my Grandmother knew, who had: driven through a garage door (and parked car), mistaken a church parking lot for a train station, and ran several joggers off the road.
Road running safety
Undoubtedly, some of my grandmother’s buddies shouldn’t be on the road. But the geriatric set is probably more concerned (as evidenced by Barbara’s note) and less of a threat to runners’ safety than most drivers. They aren’t texting or fiddling with their GPS. They probably aren’t driving around at night. They likely aren’t speeding past you on a bicycle or motorcycle.
Running safety and vehicles
Cars aren’t the only vehicles that we need to be aware of, as runners. A runner was recently tragically killed on our local running trail. She was wearing headphones and collided with a cyclist when she went to turn around. I don’t say this to scare you, but this incident highlights that it’s not just roads and cars that pose a threat. Be aware of all vehicles (cars, motorcyles, bicycles, etc.) and their operators. Pay attention to your safety wherever you are running.
Grandma Barbara is worried about you! Will you commit to running safely? If so, do me a favor and let me know by doing two things:
1) Post a picture of you and your grandmother (or a special friend/family member who you want to stay safe for) to our facebook page.
2) Read the 14 running safety tips in my next post.