Staying Safe While Running

Since 1990, the sport of running has seen almost a 300% increase in participation with approximately 28 million people partaking in running events across the country in 2013. [1] Running has many health benefits that include improving health, boosting confidence, and relieving stress. [2]

However, in a recent study conducted by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,735 pedestrians killed and an estimated 66,000 pedestrians injured in motor vehicle collisions in 2013. [3] Pedestrian deaths accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in that same study. [4] This translates into, a pedestrian being killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.[5]

How do you reconcile running with safety amidst motor vehicles?

In Virginia, the law requires runners (and pedestrians) to remain on the sidewalk or path.[6]  If there is no path, the law requires runners to stay to the far left of the road.[7]  This means that while you are running, you should be facing on-coming traffic.  You are also expected to use reasonable care while crossing intersections and stepping out into traffic.[8]

Five Ways to Stay Safe While Running:

  1. Always look both ways before crossing a street.
  2. Be visible.  Wear reflective clothing at night.
  3. Don’t be distracted by electronic devices.  This includes headphones.
  4. Carry identification or write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside sole of your running shoe. Include any medical information.
  5. Never assume a driver sees you.[9]

For more helpful tips click here.  Drivers can stay safe too!  Look for pedestrians everywhere and make sure to stop for them at crosswalks.

About The Author: Danielle Bringard is a personal injury attorney practicing with the law firm of Allen & Allen at their office in Fredericksburg. Her practice is focused in the areas of car accidents, product liability, premises liability, and distracted driving accidents.

[1] See Running USA, 2015 State of the Sport—U.S. Race Trends (July 13, 2015), available at

[2] See Jacquie Cattanach, 6 Benefits of Running, Active.Com, (last visited Sept. 14, 2015).

[3] See National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Traffic Safety Facts 1 (Feburary 2015), available at

[4] See id.

[5] See id.

[6] Va. Code §46.2-928, available at

[7] Id.

[8] Va. code §46.2-923, available at

[9] Richmond Runners Club of America, RRCA General Running Safety Tips, (last visited Sept. 14, 2015).