Pedestrian safety tips from Atherton Police Department that are applicable to walkers and runners in all towns

by Contributed Content on April 24, 2020

During the current COVID emergency and Shelter in Place (SIP) order, we have seen a huge influx of walkers and runners on the streets, avenues, and lanes of Atherton. This is a great way to support positive mental health, reduce anxiety, and to spend quality time with family and friends.

With the increased number of walkers and joggers on the Atherton streets, we want to make sure everyone is staying safe when walking and running outdoors. You can do that by maintaining a safe physical distance (6 feet), especially if you encounter other walkers/runners. Per the current SIP order, you are not required to wears a face mask while walking, running, or biking. However, it is strongly suggested you carry one in case you encounter a close distance situation.

Run and walk against traffic. A bicycle is considered a vehicle, so it is subject to the same laws as cars and trucks. Cyclists ride with traffic. You are not a vehicle. You are a runner. You are also in a highly vulnerable position if you’re running near cars, trucks, and bicycles especially when your back is to them.

Beware of stopped cars waiting to make a right turn. Stop and wait until they make the turn, or run behind them.

If you run/walk at night, make yourself visible. Wear light-colored clothing and invest a few dollars in a reflective vest, which you can purchase at a local running store or through a mail-order running catalog.

Carry a cell phone and identification.

Don’t wear headsets. This is the No. 1 rule for safe running. Why? Because when you listen to music or the radio while running outside, you can’t hear car horns, cyclists, or, heaven forbid, the footsteps of someone coming up behind you.
Don’t stop to give directions to strangers in cars if you are running alone.

See something, say something. Always call the police if something happens to you or someone else or if you see something or someone suspicious.

Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. Always walk or run on the left side of the road, facing traffic, and stay out of the travel lane portion of the road as much as possible.

Cross at intersections. Most people are hit by cars when they cross the road at places other than intersections.

Look left, right, and left for traffic. Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again for traffic. Stopping at the curb signals drivers that you intend to cross. Cross in marked crosswalks and obey the signal.

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