Posted on Monday, September 24, 2012
Recent events, both good and bad, have generated talk around our trails. This 68-mile network of paved paths is one of the most heavily used assets in our city. August alone saw an estimated 59,000 trips on our trails, an average of about 1900 per day. Most sections are highly visible, and many are monitored by the Fort Wayne police officers who regularly patrol our parks, as well as a volunteer group of Greenway rangers.
Nevertheless, it is a good idea to review personal safety rules from time to time. These guidelines, as published by the Road Runners Club of America, represent good advice for walkers, runners, and bikers alike ANYtime they are on the go—not just on the trails:
- Don’t wear headphones. Use your ears to be aware of your surroundings. Your ears may help you avoid dangers your eyes may miss during evening or early morning runs. If you do wear headphones, only use them in one ear.
- Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles. By facing on-coming traffic, you may be able to react quicker than if it is behind you.
- Look both ways before crossing. Be sure the driver of a car acknowledges your right-of-way before crossing in front of a vehicle. Obey traffic signals.
- Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information.
- Always stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
- Carry a cell phone or change for a phone call. Know the locations of public phones along your regular route.
- Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React on your intuition and avoid a person or situation if you’re unsure. If something tells you a situation is not “right”, it isn’t.
- Alter or vary your running route pattern; run in familiar areas if possible. In unfamiliar areas, such as while traveling, contact a local RRCA club or running store. Know where open businesses or stores are located in case of emergency.
- Run with a partner. Run with a dog.
- Write down or leave word of the direction of your run. Tell friends and family of your favorite running routes.
- Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Avoid unlit areas, especially at night. Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
- Ignore verbal harassment and do not verbally harass others. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
- Wear reflective material if you must run before dawn or after dark. Avoid running on the street when it is dark.
- Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers.
- Carry a noisemaker. Get training in self-defense.
- When using multi-use trails, follow the rules of the road. If you alter your direction, look over your shoulder before crossing the trail to avoid a potential collision with an oncoming cyclist or passing runner.
- Call police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary. It is important to report incidents immediately.
We LOVE to see people using our trails and want to see more people enjoying this tremendous community asset to get healthy and get social. Be smart, be aware, and enjoy the outdoors!