Don’t get run over

About 1980, while running in a town far from Chestnut Hill, I was wearing my favorite black shirt when I was run down from behind by a pickup truck that stopped inches before its front tire ran over my legs. (I could clearly see the turning wheel from my position under the truck.) I was lucky that the driver was parking at the time, because he never saw me. Since I was running with my back to traffic, the police said I was partly responsible, even though I was on an unpaved shoulder. (So I had to pay for the ambulance myself.)

This incident comes to my mind every time I’m out walking and see other walkers or runners making the same mistake that could have cost me my life. PennDOT advises pedestrians to “Walk against traffic.” Indeed, the regulations demand that pedestrians use a sidewalk if it is “passable” and if not, to “walk only on the left side of the roadway.”

Another thing that runners and walkers can do is wear bright-colored or white clothing to catch a driver’s eye. Today I saw a young woman running in the middle of the traffic lane on Gravers Lane, but fortunately the car that came up behind her could easily see her light-colored shirt. So many of those I see on the streets of Chestnut Hill are in completely black or other dark clothing, like the young woman whom I saw today running beside a man in a white shirt. I could easily see him two blocks away, but she was invisible. Do yourself a favor and find a bright shirt and/or hat, and remember to face the traffic! When I was run down, drivers were not distracted by their phone or GPS, so it’s even more important today to take steps to keep yourself safe.

Bernice Wissler
Chestnut Hill