If you are reading this right now, you are probably a runner, walker, endurance athlete...or a friend of my mom on Facebook! Debbie Marsh will definitely share this post to help ensure the safety of those out-and-about in Greater Lansing.
With warmer temperatures on the way, my plea to those reading is to watch out for each other in 2019 as both fellow drivers and pedestrians. This is a plea for drivers, to be extra vigilant as we follow traffic laws and safety best practices. This is also a plea to the pedestrians to act safely, smart and work in cohesion with vehicular traffic.
According to statistics, there were just over 16 pedestrian fatalities nationwide every day in 2017 due to automotive accidents. One fatality is too many, but nearly 6,000 each year is WAY too many!
The theme of this blog is not to dwell on the side-effects of sharing the roads or convince people to give up on running, walking and biking in Greater Lansing. With most tragedies, there is a lesson. We can all make small changes on a daily basis to help ensure that the roads are safer for pedestrians AND automotive traffic.
Contrary to popular belief, I too, am not perfect. I have driven distracted and I have also run, walked and biked while not following basic safety principles. Maybe it was reading a quick text, checking the weather, or interacting with my wife and daughter. I have not always worn reflective clothing or lights when I am out at night and am guilty of running with traffic, instead of against.
I can improve.
I aim to make an intentional effort to concentrate on what’s most important: driving and running in a safe and responsible way, respecting the drivers around me AND others who are running, biking or walking.
This is my call to action: let’s all join forces and vow to improve our habits.
Here are some simple guidelines for safe drivers:
Put phones down while driving
Give bikers, walkers and runners a little extra room when passing. The more room, the better!
Slow down when pedestrians are present
Pay attention to what matters most – the road
Double check intersections for pedestrians when proceeding through, especially turning
Here are some safe guidelines for runners, walkers and bikers:
Exercise with others, or let friends and family know when and where you are going
Wear bright and reflective clothing, especially at dusk and night
Always carry a form of identification
Use the correct side of the road
Avoid wearing headphones, or at least wear bone conducting headphones to allow ambient noise to be heard
This is not a comprehensive safety list for drivers or pedestrians, but it’s a start. This start can be a catalyst for an active community that is watching out for each other and actively thinking about safety and the lives of others.
I can’t think of a better way that I can honor those who have been involved in a automotive pedestrian accident. I think with a little effort from many, we can have a positive change on the Greater Lansing Area.
Andy Marsh grew up in Grand Ledge where he ran cross country and track and field at Grand Ledge High School followed by competing for Michigan State University in both sports and serving as a grad assistant coach. In 2017 Andy was inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame for his time competing and his continued involvement in the sport. He works at Playmakers on the Events and Marketing Team and is a Fit Specialist on the Sales Floor.