Staying Visible While Night Running

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020 by Cory Kawa

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve nearly been hit while out on a night run these last few years.

In the summer it’s generally not so bad, as the weather gets colder, and fewer people are about, I find the driving gets worse, with more cars barely slowing for stop signs, more not looking while turning, and really just generally worse driving overall.

The first few times it happened, I’d blame the driver, then slowly I began to realize that although the drivers typically are at fault, that I’m not doing anything to help my cause.

With that, I started slowly decking myself out in high visibility gear, and various lights. Although I may look like a Christmas tree, and sometimes feel like safety boy, I must say I can’t remember the last near miss.

My setup for safe night running including two flashing arm bands, and a high visibility reflective vest.
Night Gear Including Nathan Vest, Nathan Light Bender, and Nite Ize Slap Lit

Writing this also makes me think about a post I wrote a few weeks ago, Ghost Bikes and Bike Safety. In it I shared the results of two studies, the first uncovered that cyclists overestimated their visibility to drivers at nighttime by a factor of seven, and another study which showed that drivers recognized drivers wearing just black 2% of the time, a fluorescent vest 15% of the time, a reflective vest alone 50% of the time, and a reflective vest plus joint reflectors 90% of the time.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I recognize that drivers are less than perfect, and although I can’t control them, I can control how easy it is for them to see me, hence the Christmas tree setup you see above.

Stay safe everyone,


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