The Legalities of Running

I’m so happy to be hitting the pavement again y’all but even if I wasn’t running you know I’d be out walking every day and that being said I’ve been meaning to present this post for quite some time but with the hurricane last week I had to postpone it and that’s a good thing because after what happened to me on Tuesday I couldn’t think of a better time.

In case you’re wondering what happened to me, let me tell you.  I was finishing my five mile walk in the park near my house.  I was feeling pretty good, it was breezy, a little overcast and cool, which if you live in Florida means it felt like pure Heaven.

Anyway as I was coming out of the park I looked over to the wooded are by the railroad tracks and saw a guy standing there…. with his pants down around his ankles.  I’m not sure why but I just assumed he was a biker or a runner who had just trailed off into the wooded area to the use the restroom.  Mind you, the port-a-potty is a mere 10 feet away and the door was open.

shocked

It should have knocked some sense into me and I should have screamed or yelled or said something but I didn’t and I’m still mad at myself regardless of why he did it.  Because there are all kinds of people utilizing that park and he had no business exposing himself in that manner, it doesn’t matter why.

That’s just one way in which we runners need to be aware of our surroundings and stay safe, here are other ways as well.   Is it just me or does it seem like I’m always writing about people trying to kill me with their cars and their dogs?

Well, anyway a few weeks ago I was all set to present you with a guest post all about the legalities of Running and written by a legit attorney from an actual law firm.  But then I didn’t post it because I’m horrible.

And then Hurricane Matthew happened.

And then I saw a naked idiot and I remembered that I wasn’t being all that safe and that I had this great guest post and I needed to post it immediately and so without any more delay and before any more hurricanes pop up, compliments of the Benenati Law Firm I present to you the following article.

(Please enjoy and feel free to leave any comments or questions at the end.)

The Legalities of Running

Central Florida offers many great spots for runners. You may choose to run on one of Orlando’s top trails such as the Cady Way Trail or the Orlando Urban Trail, or you may prefer making your own path. Regardless of where you choose to run, your safety must always come first. As a runner, you need to know your legal rights and your legal responsibilities. Further, you should also be aware of some basic strategies that will help reduce your risk of injury.

Your Legal Obligations as a Runner

Runners have a legal right to access public trails, roadways and sidewalks. However, this does not mean that runners have free reign. There are some simple rules and regulations that must always be followed. More specifically, you can find your legal responsibilities under Florida Statute 316.130.

  • When a sidewalk is available: In Florida, runners must use the sidewalk whenever one is available. If a sidewalk is only available on one side of the street, you must cross to that side to run. Whenever possible, you should cross the street using a designated crosswalk.
  • When no sidewalk is available: Many roads in the area are not lined with sidewalks. In this situation, you can usually still run on these roads. However, you must run on the shoulder of the roadway, in the direction that is facing oncoming traffic.

By following your legal obligations as a runner, you will go a long way towards protecting yourself from harm. Unfortunately, in some cases, harm may find you anyway. It is important to remember that as a runner you also have rights. For example, if you are injured while running due to the fault of another party, you have the right to seek compensation for the full extent of your damages.

Four Quick Runner Safety Tips

  1. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration present a major threat to runners. Do not underestimate the damage that can be caused by simple dehydration. Even during the winter months, it can get hot in Florida. Whenever you are running, you need to ensure that you will have plenty of access to fresh water.

  1. Know the Traffic Patterns

Remember, runners are pedestrians. As a pedestrian, oncoming traffic is perhaps the most serious safety threat that you face. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 500 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents each year in the state of Florida alone.

  1. Be Visible

Drivers have a legal duty to look out for your safety. Unfortunately, too many drivers fail to live up to that duty. You should take steps to help them see you. Try to make yourself as visible as possible. This is especially important at night. Please wear running attire that will reflect a vehicle’s headlights.

  1. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Finally, it is always important to stay vigilant. You should be sure that you are fully aware of your surroundings. This includes knowing where traffic will come from as well being ready for other safety threats. Sadly, if you run at night, you might be threatened by a bad actor such as a mugger. Please try to stay in areas that are well lit and in which you are comfortable running. In some cases, it may make sense to bring a defensive device such as pepper spray along with you.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

Injured runners may be entitled to seek compensation. If your running injury was caused by a vehicle, a third party attack, unsafe premises or any other type of negligence, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney today. Your attorney will comprehensively review your case and determine the best way to protect your legal rights and financial interests.

I hope you guys enjoyed this guest post and if so please leave a comment and/or any questions.   

Also ladies I’d love to hear from you, What’s the worst experience you’ve had while out running and do you carry pepper spray when running alone?

How a murder and a stabbing changed the way I think about running.

Hello, How are you today? I hope your week is off to a good start so far.

I took the day off from all exercise on Monday and sat on my ass while I caught up on some work. It was pretty nice actually but by this morning I was in exercise withdrawal and I had to go running. I ran 6.3 miles around my neighborhood. I am tweaking my training a bit and I’m hoping it’s going to help me with my future races. I actually wanted to run a little longer this morning but I didn’t have time because I had to leave almost an hour later than I normally do, but I’ll tell you why a bit later.

There is something really scary that I need to tell you about first.

Last night I decided to go to Walgreens at around 8:00pm. MacGyver was tired from working all day and didn’t feel like going so I hopped in the car and headed off. About 2 minutes after I left the driveway I spotted several police cars across the road and what looked like a CSI van. I got an eerie feeling instantly but I kept driving.

On the way to Walgreens I knew that something bad had happened. I knew in my mind that it was bad and I don’t know how to explain it. It was gut instinct or something, but I’m telling you, I just knew.

Anyway, I went to Walgreens and then made a quick stop at the Dollar Tree and headed back toward home. I didn’t think about what I had seen just 30 minutes earlier. I have a tendency to do that. I convince myself that I’m over-reacting and not to be a Drama Queen. So, I took another route home and I forgot all about it, I didn’t even mention it to MacGyver….. Until 10 O’clock that evening….

That’s when I logged on to the local news station to check the weather and saw a headline that grabbed my attention: Man turns himself in saying he killed mother

Uh, remember what I saw earlier on my way to Walgreens? Yeah, same address. Literally 2 blocks from my house and an area that is typically very safe, an area that I run in all the time and a house that I run by at least 4 or 5 times a week.

I have always run on that side of the street and in that part of the neighborhood because I assumed it was the safer area. How wrong I was. How horribly wrong. What does that say about my judgment?

This is two times in less than a month that something bad has happened where I often run. About two weeks ago a runner was stabbed in broad daylight on a route I often run near my house in Venice, by a 13-year-old boy! That neighborhood is also considered a very safe and quiet neighborhood.

I thought about this a lot last night and I think what’s really bothering me is the fact that I’ve never been scared. I have never once been alarmed by anything or anyone while out running, (other than the occasional animal) but I do have fears while running in other areas that I’m not familiar with. I think I’ve gotten comfortable in my familiarity both here and in Venice. Even when MacGyver and other family members tell me to be careful and make sure to be safe, I kind of shrug it off. I’ve always thought I couldn’t be any safer. I’m running close to home in areas where I know a lot of the neighbors and they know me.

So, this morning I left after the sun came up, almost an hour later than I normally leave and while I didn’t feel unsafe, I felt safer than I would have if I left when it was still dark outside. I almost always run alone so I’ve decided to adopt some safer tactics and adjust my schedule to accommodate them. It’s not something I planned on doing and may not even be necessary but I just feel better about it.

Because even though the murder may have been an isolated incident and the stabbing near Venice may have been a rogue attack by a disturbed teenager, I don’t feel as confident or carefree as I used to and I’m going to take precautions because I think it’s the smart thing to do and I hope that you’ll take precautions too. Please keep running but be safe.

Do you run alone? What precautions do you take to stay safe? Got any suggestions?