I have always walked a lot. Every morning, I walk for two hours before breakfast. Sometimes it’s light, and sometimes it is pitch BLACK with only a few street lights guiding my way to 10% body fat.
When I lived in France, my friend said, “This guy walks like a soldier. He walks everywhere.” Because I walked a lot and was sociable, another friend called me “The Mayor of Angers (ahn-zhay),” where I lived for two years. One benefit of walking is that you get to cross paths with people on the street and say hello. Anyway, as walking became a daily part of my life (like brushing my teeth or taking a shower– I get out of bed and I walk), I became increasingly conscious of road safety, especially in the areas where the sidewalk ends, and there is limited area between me and the road. I think I became an even more defensive walker– looking both ways etc.– having spent the first half of this year working in Hilo, Hawaii– land of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen in my life! You can read about that in my post “Life in Hilo- Drivers.” Still, being a defensive walker or jogger is not enough to fully protect yourself on the road in dark conditions.
So how can you best protect yourself as a walker or jogger? I have examined all the options. Out on the road, you see different types of gear: crossing guard vests, neon gloves, arm bands, wrist bands, shoelaces, jackets, flourescent hats, tee-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, flashing lights, and thermal bodywear. I have nothing against the crossing guard vests; they do the job. I just prefer not to look like a crossing guard when I’m walking. Flashing lights seem quite effective, but I don’t want to look like a walking street light either. I was about to get flourescent bicycle rain gear but it was pretty expensive for just being essentially a piece of plastic. I seriously considered arm bands which are carried by Big Five Sporting Goods, but suddenly I found the brightest flourescent sweatshirt online– for an outstandingly great deal at Sierra Trading Post, and it was one of my Christmas gifts. This sweatshirt is sooo bright, that I feel like I’m about to light up half of Oregon! The electrical company should think about sending me a check! The cool thing is that I can wear a jacket and the hood itself will do the trick. Here is a picture of me trying on my new sweatshirt.
As motorists, we know what it’s like to suddenly see a pedestrian appear at night with dark clothes on. It’s like seeing a shadow. So as a walker or jogger, protect yourself and be visible– whether it’s the crossing guard vest, the flashing lights, arm bands, or a bright, flourescent sweatshirt like mine! Be safe!
La vie est belle, profitez de chaque moment