Today ended up being a pretty good day. Why? Because my eyeliner came out perfectly. Scoff if you will but if you are a wearer of liquid eyeliner then you understand. You have one chance to make it perfect and if it comes out badly your whole day is pretty much shot. But if it comes out exactly the way it should it's bound to be a banner day.
I was in Rochester today and at one point I was in a really pretty but very busy neighborhood. I was leaving one of my hospitals and came to a stop sign to turn right onto the road in front of me. There were parked cars on both sides of the street and all along the street in front of me (the road I was on and the one I was turning onto created a T shape). It was hard to see because of all the cars parked on the road but I fully stopped, checked both sides and turned right. What I couldn't see, because he was on the ROAD on the other side of the parked cars and not the sidewalk where he belonged) was a runner. I didn't come anywhere near hitting him but I did cut him off because I couldn't see him at all so as he ran by me he whacked the back of my car.
Of course this whole thing annoyed me because as a runner I know that I did nothing wrong. I couldn't see him, he wasn't running where was supposed to be and it was the middle of the day in a busy neighborhood. I drive a different rental car every week for work and this week I had a Kia Sportage which has a million more blind spots than my little Mazda3. Yes, pedestrians have the right of way but they need to be aware of the fact that there are a lot of blind areas in a situation like that and act accordingly. Likewise cars need to be as aware as they can of runners as I know a lot of people who have been hit or run off the road either by accident or intentionally. I do most of my running on trails but there are some places I like to run when I am traveling (Stroudsburg, PA is a prime example, I love running in that town) so when I am in a city or busy town I am always more aware of cars.
Here are some rules of running that I stick by in urban situations:
1) Don't wear dark colors. You're not a ninja and people need to see you. My favorite running clothes are bright fluorescent colors with reflective strips so that people can see me coming.
2) Don't run on the road if you can run on the sidewalk. I know that sidewalk running can be difficult but you vs a car isn't a battle you want to partake in.
3) Be aware that you seeing an oncoming car is easy but it's not always easy for them to see you. Likewise a huge shoulder you're running on can be very small to a car so try to run as far to the right as you can if there is traffic.
4) Don't run on roads with ear buds in. I've already squawked enough about how I feel about running with music anyway but this is too dangerous.
5) Stop at red lights and stop signs if you see a car coming. You need to obey traffic laws, too.
6) You aren't invincible and you won't always win even if you think you are in the right. Always assume that they didn't see you if you're not sure.
7) Please be aware than not all drivers are friendly to runners and they may very well try to run you off the road or even hit you.
8) If a car is rude to you or clearly saw you and still didn't stop or slow down give the side a whack but only if you're not sure that they won't get out and beat you (which is why I never do it because I am pretty much convinced that I am only 5 seconds away from someone's road rage at all times).
9) Most of these rules apply to a road race too, especially a small one. Not all races shut down roads or if you're at the back of the pack like my disastrous Mountain Goat this year then even if they had the roads closed they will eventually start to reopen them.
10) If you're running in a group and see a car either ahead of you or behind you yell "car!" to let everyone know. Usually they're more aware of a group but you can never be too safe.
Or you could ignore all of this just run trails to avoid this. That's what I usually do :)