Running in Traffic
Larry Claassen doesn’t want runners in the streets:
I’m not sure how the mind rationalizes that running in traffic is a healthy or wise activity, but let me tell you that neither of us wants you as a hood ornament. Running in the street is definitely bad for your health and my nerves.
Actually, Larry, it’s pretty easy to rationalize running in the street, albeit in limited situations. Granted, Lincoln is blessed with a great network of trails and a pretty respectable sidewalk infrastructure. But trails and sidewalks aren’t available everywhere, and they have their downsides. Trails and sidewalks themselves are quite safe for pedestrians, but crosswalks can be incredibly unsafe. I’m not sure how safe crosswalks are in other parts of the country, but in Lincoln, drivers almost always blow through crosswalks without a second thought. When approaching, say, a stop sign or a stop light at an intersection at which they want to make a right turn, most Lincoln drivers pull through the crosswalk and then look both ways. Now imagine you’re a runner entering that crosswalk right about then.
Sure, running in ‘O’ Street is probably unwise. But running in the street in residential areas with lots of intersections can actually increase a runner’s visibility to drivers, and therefore his safety. That can be especially true at night, when pedestrians approaching crosswalks can be very difficult to see until the last second. Assuming, of course, that the runner in question does her part to be safe, such as wearing bright clothing and obeying the law.
To the extent that Mr. Claassen is concerned for safety, I agree with him. But I disagree that sticking to the sidewalks and trails ought to be a runner’s only option. If street runners are really so bad for Mr. Claassen’s nerves, perhaps he just needs to pay a little more attention while driving.