Shed a Little Light

Running, Night time, Bozeman, safety, lights

Shed a Little Light

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Cody Birram

Stay Visible While Running. 

If you’re a road runner, you understand the importance of visibility. You need to make sure that drivers notice you, especially in the fall when sunrise and sunset line up with morning and evening commuter traffic. When you’re visible, you’re much less likely to be hit by a car or involved in an accident. Here are a few tips to make sure you stand out.

Dress to Impress
Traditional colors blend in with the landscape and surroundings. When you put on fluorescent colors, you’ll stand out in the crowd. Don a safety vest, such as those that highway workers wear. They cost just a few bucks and offer bright colors as well as reflectors. Or you could choose a jacket or vest that’s fluorescent, such as lime green, neon yellow, hot pink, or bright orange.

Don the Reflectors
If you’re out after dusk or before dawn, or if you’re running in inclement weather such as rain, snow, or fog, wear some reflectors. Reflective tape or strips across your chest and back are very helpful, as are reflective bands for the ankles and wrists. Be sure to use reflective tape on your legs and arms. Even add reflectors on your shoes if they don’t already have some. Consider a flashing LED light to hang from your chest and back to get extra attention.

Buddy Up
Consider running with a friend—two people are easier to see than just one. Plus, if one of you gets injured or ill, you’ll have help along the way. When there are two or more people wearing fluorescent gear, they will stand out that much more. Not to mention that you’re more likely to run farther and faster in a group!

Mind Traffic Laws
Start by running in a predictable fashion. Never cut between cars or run through traffic. Always stop at intersections and make eye contact with others, so that you know they see you. When running in the street, be sure to stay at least four feet from parked cars so you don’t get doored. Always listen for the clicking of door locks and for people entering and exiting vehicles. Run toward traffic and keep on the lookout for vehicles that are heading toward you so you can jump out of the way. Distance yourself from parked cars, staying far enough away to avoid mirrors. Better yet, run on the sidewalk, but be mindful of pedestrians.


This article was adapted from the Big Sky Wind Drinkers newsletter. For more running info, visit winddrinkers.org.

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