It was nearly two weeks ago when Linda Ethier died after being struck by pickup truck while running home after a group run in Lacombe.
I didn’t know Linda but I was rattled by her death. Then I got pissed.
Now I don’t know the circumstances but I do know the driver was charged with careless driving.
This tells me he did not see or noticed Linda too late.
It is a sad reality that runners have to face every time they step on the pavement.
We take our lives into our own hands when we choose to share the road with motorists. I know it seems a dramatic statement but it is the cold hard truth. Ask any pedestrian.
I can’t count how many times I have been forced to jump into the ditch or nearly had a heart attack because some driver did not see me or wanted to play the jerk.
It seems lately I can’t even walk on a crosswalk with confidence knowing I will make it to the other side safely.
Chances are you or someone you know has similar stories.
As it is the month for resolutions, I want to remind new runners and experienced runners to take control of their own safety. The one piece of advice I would give is to assume the driver does not see you or is messing around on his phone.
Be alert and engaged in your surroundings. I always err on the side of caution. Even though the the little white man signals walk, I will wait to make damn sure the driver knows I am crossing and I will take my bloody time too.
But out of this senseless tragedy, I was reminded once again of the strength of the running community.
The Lacombe Running Club ran in Linda’s memory while others in Red Deer dedicated their kilometres to Linda last weekend. It’s something runners do to mourn and to honour the runner.
Sadly this is becoming all too common.
Be safe out there.
Reader Road Safety Tips
1. Constant vigilance.
When crossing the road, look around corners. Make eye contact and wave to drivers, making sure they acknowledge you. You can still do everything right: no headphones, bright clothes, reflective gear, and inattentive drivers still won’t see you. – Elizabeth Koleyak
2. No music, no distraction – Anna Sherwood
3. Run facing traffic. Be seen – Paula Chisholm
4. Consciously look for visual confirmation that a driver has seen you and is reacting (waiting for you, slowing down, etc.). Ditch the headphones, they are a safety hazard. – Peter Mitchelmore
5. Show courtesy.
If you can safely and reasonably stay out of the way of cars and other vehicles, consider making the effort; otherwise, express some appreciation when traffic offers you a decently wide berth. This can go a long way in terms of encouraging thoughtful driving behaviour and could benefit your fellow runners. – Patrick Voo
6. Lots of reflection and different type of lights.
Before I was a runner, I was once driving my car on a back road at night and saw this lone bobbing white light on the side of the road. I had no idea what it was, thought it might have been an animal’s eye reflecting. I turned on my high beams to see. Turned out to be a runner with a headlamp. He gave me the finger for blinding him. – Kristen Bobbitt
7. Wear a light especially at night, and on bike paths.
We’ve seen a number of runners almost taken out by a bike in the dark. I also try to run on bike paths or sidewalks, never on roads, if possible, much safer. – Terry Toffelmire
8. Tell someone where you are going, when you’re likely to be back. Use Road ID (the bracelet and the App) – Rachel Crocker
Find Running with Rhyno on Facebook and @CrystalRhyno on Twitter. Send your column ideas, photos and stories to email@example.com.