Running Safety while Sharing the Road

November 18, 2012: A jogger on Ponte Vedra Boulevard in St. Johns County has been hospitalized in serious condition after she was hit by a car last Wednesday.  The jogger was taken to Shands Jacksonville after she was hit from behind by a sport-utility vehicle about 5:50 a.m., according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators said the vehicle was northbound in the first block of Ponte Vedra Boulevard when he struck the jogger.
Many of Florida streets and roads were laid out when there was little expectation of future pedestrian use. New streets and highways are designed to facilitate motor vehicle travel at higher speeds and to minimize delays at controlled intersections so that slowing or stopping to observe the legal duty to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks became an unaccustomed inconvenience. Such conditions shape a culture in which pedestrian use is usually sparse outside business districts and drivers and pedestrians have not acquired the shared experience that informs a sense of mutual obligations. Traffic law-enforcement must be based on a recognize code of behavior.
Florida traffic laws state who must yield the right away to whom but do not assign an absolute right-of-way. Signals, crosswalk markings, lane markings, and other traffic control devices do not confirm an absolute right-of-way for any user. Right-of-way must be exercised in a reasonable manner with due care for the safety of oneself and other road users.  Pedestrians may cross at most midblock locations but must yield outside a crosswalk. A driver is obligated to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully crossing in a crosswalk. If the sidewalk is provided, a pedestrian traveling along a road or street is obligated to use it if it is practical practical otherwise to keep to his far left as practical on the shoulder or other area available on left side of the roadway.  Section 316.075, F.S., and Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
Regardless, the primary goal of any road safety program is to make streets safe for vehicles, bicylclists and pedestrians.  Florida Highway Patrol suggests the following tips to stay safe:   Walk/run on sidewalks; cross at marked crosswalks or intersections; dress to be seen (wear visible clothing); and follow the pedestrian signal, not the overhead signal.
Read more at Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles
Remember, you bear primary responsibility for your own safety.  Pay attention at all times and keep your mind on the most important thing you’re doing: sharing the roadway or sidewalk with other people, vehicles, or animals.
Running or jogging outdoors is good for you. Just remember, make your run a safe one!

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