Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in people choosing to exercise and work out in the great outdoors, whether that be running, walking, or cycling. As the seasons move from summer to fall this month and the amount of daylight steadily decreases toward the end of the year, many such outdoor exercisers may find themselves in the precarious position of getting their workouts completed in the dark.
With that in mind, here are a few outdoor exercise safety tips from our Kansas personal injury lawyers to make sure that your pre-dawn or post-sunset workout can be done safely. After all, whether a pedestrian hits a car or the car hits a runner or bicyclist, it’s likely going to be much worse for the pedestrian than for the driver or the car.
#1: Wear Bright Clothing to Increase Visibility
First, whether running or walking on a sidewalk, or riding a bicycle on the street, visibility is an important issue, regardless of the time of day. It goes without saying, however, that staying visible is more difficult in the dark than during daylight hours.
As a pedestrian, it’s a good idea to wear bright clothing that does not blend in with your surroundings. Additionally, some clothing or accessories, such as running shorts or shoes, may have reflective strips on them that make it easier to be seen by others.
#2: Use a Flashlight or Bicycle Light At Night
Some specialty accessories can also make pedestrians and cyclists more visible in low-light areas and times. For instance, carrying a small flashlight while you walk or run, or installing a small headlight on the handlebars of your bicycle will both illuminate your path and keep you moving safely, as well as alert nearby vehicles to your presence.
A flashing red light clipped to the back of a runner’s belt will also help with outdoor exercise safety. Another accessory that makes you more visible is an LED vest. These lightweight vests shine brightly and have other reflective qualities that really draw the attention of drivers and remind them that they need to pay attention.
#3: Follow the Rules of the Road
In addition to clothing and accessories, it is also important to understand the environment where you are and to follow the rules of the road. For instance, if you are walking or running, always use a sidewalk whenever one is available to you. If there is no sidewalk available, always run or walk facing traffic rather than traveling with traffic.
For cyclists, many communities prohibit cycling on sidewalks unless they are wide enough to be considered bike paths. Where there is no bike path available, always ride with the flow of traffic on the far right side of the road.
#4: Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
If you must be on the road, pay especially close attention when approaching intersections where vehicles could be turning in front of you, and slow down appropriately when you spot a vehicle that could put you in danger if the driver does not see you.
It is good practice to assume the driver of a vehicle does not see you until and unless you make eye contact with the driver or are otherwise able to discern that the driver has seen you. A kind wave or thumbs up to a driver as you pass them is a nice gesture to thank them for paying attention and doing their part to keep you and other pedestrians safe.
What to Do If You’re Injured While Exercising Outdoors
These are just a few ways to practice outdoor exercise safety while enjoying the freedom and beauty of nature and staying in shape. As always, if you or someone you love has been injured as a pedestrian or bicyclist in an auto accident and have questions about your case, the Kansas personal injury attorneys at Patterson Legal Group can help. Our lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with car insurance companies to secure the best possible settlements for our injured clients.
Patterson Legal Group is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Give us a call at (888) 687-2400, connect with a LiveChat representative, or submit your inquiry using our secure contact form for a free consultation. Remember, our team works on a “no win, no fee” basis, and winning your case is our highest priority.