Friday, September 16, 2011

Is it safer to run on the road or in the forest? And what about bicyclists? Statistics

My family, friends and acquaintances constantly question why I run in the forests with the "wild life." I have heard it over and over from them that it isn't safe, how could I go alone?, don't I know there was a cougar sighting recently? Don't I know that if I get attacked, that I am good for dead?

Okay and?

A Lehigh Acres woman is in the intensive care unit after being hit by a car while riding her bike. She was supposed to be heading to the Duathlon World Championships in Spain Friday and competing for the first time as a U.S. citizen.
Lisa Buohler was training on her bike Wednesday on SR-80 near Charleston Park when she was hit by a car.
Now, she's got a broken back and bruised liver.
"Being propelled 20 feet in the air and landed on the grass, I have to consider the facts - I'm extremely lucky to be here," she said. "You can be as careful and safe as you like, and it just takes one."

Below is a list of  incidents involving drivers and runners. All information taken from my Facebook page:

"Ralph was hit by a pick up while running about 20 years ago--ended up with a broken leg. He started running only trails after that." This is Mr. Ralph Hirt, a 74 year old runner, who has completed The Western States 100 mile endurance run 5 times!

"I've almost gotten hit a lot as well. Drivers look for cars making a right rarely look for pedestrians. They look to their left for cars and that is it."

"I have almost been hit countless times and it is so frustrating. Usually the situation Cliff speaks of but not always."

"I cant believe coming to an intersection, I watch the drivers who are making turns only look one way, just to make sure that "they" dont get hit by another car, they never look both ways, I was almost hit a few weeks ago, she never even saw me, jumping up and down to have her take a glance to her right!!! Its crazy out there!"

"Yes, I make eye contact with drivers before crossing, giving a little wave of thanks. I once was a road marshal for a triathlon (running portion) and it was UNBELIEVABLE how many drivers looked one way and not the other. I had to yell quite a few times that runners were on the road. We had a couple close calls."
"I was nearly hit today on one of the few routes I run where there are cars. It will be dark when I run soon so I'll be on the Esplanade through February. Boring but safe."

"I've been hit twice by cars, both times I just slid up on the hood. Even if you make eye contact with them I almost always go behind them."

I too have almost been hit, numerous of times by a car. Almost killed by a car! Never, have I even come close to being killed by wild life!

So lets look at some numbers. Just facts:

In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians died in traffic crashes - a 7% decrease from the number reported in 2008. 
In 2009, an estimated 59,000 pedestrians were injured; 13,000 of those injured were age 14 and younger, and males accounted for 55% (7,000) of those 13,000 injured.
In 2009, 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States were among people age 65 and older.

Now lets look at incidents involving "wild life"

In 2010, there were 7attacks from bears. Not everyone attacked died.
In 2000, 27 attacks from bears

Now Mountain Lions, and in California:

There appears to be 13 attacks, 6 deaths from 1890 and 2007

List of fatal cougar attacks in North America:
Before 1970=5 attacks

Oh and here is something fun, how many different kinds of animals have killed runners?

In 2009, 630 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 51,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities, and made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.

The majority of pedalcyclist fatalities in 2009 occurred in urban areas (70%). In respect to vehicle crash location in relation to an intersection, most pedalcyclist fatalities in 2009 occurred at non-intersections. Compared to 2008 these numbers increased by 5 percent.

Almost three-fourths (72%) of the pedalcyclist fatalities were killed during the daytime between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 p.m., a 6-percent increase from the previous year. The remaining 27 percent were killed during the nighttime hours, a 13-percent decrease from the previous year. Table 2 shows the pedalcyclist fatalities
by time of day for 2008 and 2009.

Here is a great website to check out, it offers tips to bicyclists and drivers:

So there you have it, proof that running in the forest is clearly safer than running on the road.

Stay safe out there, there are cars!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great work and great post! running in the forest is the way to go i guess!