Dear Vehicle Driver,
Hello. I’m a runner that you might see running around your neighborhood and other places you may drive. I take my safety seriously. I may wear earbuds when I run sometimes but I am still aware of my surroundings. I have gone out of my way to choose routes that include sidewalks so that I do not have to run in the road (even though asphalt is slightly softer than concrete and therefore easier to run on). I just can’t avoid having to cross streets though. So there are some things I’d like you to be aware of as well.
I, as a pedestrian, have the right of way. I’m not going to be a jerk about it though. I stop at busy streets and wait for the walk symbol to light up. I use crosswalks and I don’t jaywalk. If I see that you are anywhere near the corner that I’m at, I stop. For my own safety, I need to see if you are aware that I am in your vicinity. So don’t speed up when you see me coming, man. Not cool. I’m happy to wait for you to go. Or if you wave me across the street, you’ll likely get a grateful wave and smile from me. I realize that your time is precious and the five-ish seconds that it will take me to cross the street are terribly tedious. I’m sure those five seconds will help you get where you are going SO MUCH FASTER. Perhaps you take a look at my not-quite-svelte physique (Hey, I’m working on it! Why do you think I’m out here running in the first place?!) and think to yourself, “Oh crap. She’s probably a slow runner and might take up to TEN SECONDS to get across the street!” Listen. Chances are, even if I’m tired, I run across the street instead of walking if there are cars present. I don’t want to cause too much of an inconvenience either.
As I said before, I strive to be very aware of my surroundings. However, I do not have eyes in the back of my head. So, for instance, if you are coming up behind me and trying to turn left onto a street that I am starting to cross, DON’T JAM ON THE GAS TO GET AROUND ME. It startles me and even though it’s on a lower scale, I liken it to having to slam on my brakes in the car. No one likes slamming their brakes. And if you are behind the jerk who just cut me off, just because he got to go and I am standing in the middle of the street looking surprised, it doesn’t mean that you should blow through there either. That goes for all of the subsequent cars lined up there too. If any of you had bothered to look, I actually had a walk sign.
Now, there are some warning signs that I look for myself. First, tinted windows. I will wait for a car with tinted windows simply because can’t make eye contact with the person driving. Second, old people. Now, listen. I love of old people. Some of my most favorite people on earth have been old people. But sometimes the attentiveness and alertness just isn’t there. So I am overly cautious. Lastly, anyone on their phone. You aren’t paying attention to anything but that phone and everyone knows it.
This is not directed at all drivers. A lot of them are perfectly aware and considerate. I just wish everyone would be.
So next time you are out driving around and you see a runner just trying to get in shape and meet some life goals (because honestly, we wouldn’t be out running if goals weren’t involved), slow down. Maybe let them cross the street in front of you. Make eye contact. We all have to share these streets.
Thighs On Fire
PS – While it is perfectly fine to beep your horn or wave at a runner to express support, screaming “HEY BABY!” out your window as you drive by is less than desirable. This also goes for making lewd gestures, yelling swears, or any other act that you might think will be just hilarious. Chances are, it’s not, dude.