As we all know, one of the major perks of living in Southern California is the opportunity for outdoor exercise all year. We’ve all called our friends and family on the East Coast or in the Midwest to gloat about the temperature in January. However, in order to take advantage of outdoor exercise opportunities most of us have to bike, run or walk are in twilight or nighttime hours. Night workouts can be fun, exciting and dangerous; especially when it comes to seeing others and being seen after the sun goes down. In order to put accidents in perspective; the following are some statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- 69 percent of pedestrian killed in 2009 were males.
- 70 percent of pedestrian accidents occurred at night (4 p.m. – 4 a.m.).
- Almost three out of every four pedestrian fatalities occur in urban areas (72 percent).
- The top four states for pedestrian fatalities are California, Florida, Texas, and New York. These four states make up 41 percent of pedestrian fatalities nationwide while only accounting for 5 percent of the total traffic fatalities across the country.
- Nearly one-half (48 percent) of all pedestrian fatalities occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (16%, 17%, and 15% respectively).
The following are some tips for staying safe when running, biking running and walking at night.
- Always cross at crosswalks. Limited visibility (including drastically reduced peripheral visibility), glare and distractions, crossing mid-block is almost twice as likely to result in an accident.
- Always wear reflective clothing. This ensures that others can see you clearly at night and reduces your chances of being hit.
- Carry a light, wear a headlamp, put a light on your bike and put a lit collar on Fido. Always check to make sure you have fresh batteries or that your battery pack is fully charged. This is especially important for pedestrians who don’t often carry lights on Multi-use paths. Most people drastically over-estimate how visible they are.
- Establish a route or variety of routes, stick to the route your taking, and tell someone where you’re going.
- Always walk or run facing traffic, always ride your bike with traffic. Note that bicycles are considered vehicles in California and should be ridden on roads or paths only, riding on the sidewalk can be dangerous, because drivers aren’t usually looking for fast moving bicycles.
- Make eye contact with drivers while crossing the street or changing lanes.
- Bring identification with you. Include emergency contact information, blood type and allergies.