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HillRunner.com Forums => Running Forum => Topic started by: ksrunner on November 05, 2012, 10:21:35 AM

Title: Being visible
Post by: ksrunner on November 05, 2012, 10:21:35 AM
As the days are shortening, I was wondering how many people wear reflective or illuminated clothing when running in the mornings or evenings.

I probably get most of my mileage in each week while running to or from work -- usually during a relatively high-traffic time of day. As the days get shorter, I end up doing at least half of my runs in the dark. I've worn reflective vests for years. But last year, a friend saw me while I was running past one of the most dangerous intersections on my route and later told me that he did not see me until the last minute. I resolved to replace my vest with something better.

Since I had come to the end of the season for needing the reflective gear, I waited until recently to replace the ineffective gear that I had. In the end, I bought an Amphipod Xinglet Flash LED and some reflective strips from Road Id to put around my wrists and ankles. I chose the Xinglet because one of the things that I do not like about reflective vests that I have owned in the past is that they were loose fitting and the wind would push them off to one side or the other. I see that the Xinglets provide more reflective material than most vests. I did not decide to get the Flash LED version until I read something that referred to a study that showed that florescent reds and oranges are more visible in low light than the florescent yellow. (I would provide a link if I could find it again.) If that's true, why don't they make visibility gear for runners and cyclists out of florescent orange. Anyway, I decided that flashing red lights would meet the red/orange color requirement. I chose the ankle and wrist straps because those are points of greatest motion and motion is always more visible. I chose to get them from RoadId because I had a gift certificate and I was already ordering a new RoadId anyway.

So, I hope that this year, my visibility gear will be effective. I did notice today that the flashing lights on the Xinglet illuminated the reflective signs on a bridge from about 120 feet away. I thought that a car was approaching from behind until I realized that the light was pulsing in time to the lights on my vest. That seems a good sign. I'm hoping that the only use that my RoadId gets is to help me remember my parent's cell phone numbers.  ;)

Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Andrew A. on November 05, 2012, 11:42:36 AM
I do not have RoadID, though I typically carry an old drivers license on me.  I used to feel that stealth mode was best, to not give drivers anything to aim at, intentionally or not.  I have since reversed that and have acquired reflective gear, partly because I often stick to bike paths with cyclists whose lights might not be as strong as a car's headlights.  Since I have had a deal for Brooks stuff, I got several of their Nightlife items, gloves, headband, vest, cap, jacket.  There is even a cap that has light-up LEDs in the back.  The Saucony High-Viz stuff looks pretty good, too.  I tend to use a headlamp (PrincetonTec Corona) for any run after dark during winter months, simply to avoid stepping in potholes, ruts, and other things that could try to turn an ankle.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Ryan on November 05, 2012, 08:21:36 PM
As with Andrew, I used to believe stealth mode was best. I still wouldn't rule it out for certain areas. I think it depends on the drivers and the lighting of the location. In some areas, drivers like to give runners a hard time. If this is the case, it's better if they don't see you in the first place. In other places, like where I now live, drivers are very courteous. In this case, you want to be visible because they will usually turn off their high beams and move over for you.

I currently only have a Brooks reflective vest but I want to add to it. The area I run in has no artificial lighting and has some tree cover in some areas, making visibility horrible. At times, I'm left just following the white line along the side of the road because that's literally all I can see. I need to begin researching headlamps. I'd also like to get some LED lights. I've seen some you can strap to your arm or others you can attach in various ways to your gear. These interest me because you can wear your normal gear, which would be nice for this guy who runs 5 days a week during the middle of the day.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Charlene on November 06, 2012, 11:07:47 AM
I have a big neon yellow reflective construction vest with huge reflective stripes on it.  Not all reflective stripes are the same and these are professional grade. My husband bought it for me at Farm and Fleet. I will admit it fits rather like a dress.  My friends laugh at me but have also confirmed that they start laughing at me from very far away.  I am always on the look out for neon running clothing of any color.  Blaze orange is a bonus as I can use it for deer hunting. 

It is best though no matter how visible you are to pretend that cars do not see you as they are unlikely to check the crosswalk  before turning left or right or pulling out from a stop sign.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: ksrunner on November 06, 2012, 11:48:38 AM
I generally do not run with my driver's license, but I made an exception today so that I could stop and vote on the way to work.

I'm thankful that the drivers that I've met while running have limited their abuse to kicking up huge clouds of dust (though I think this is usually carelessness) or yelling verbal insults. I had not considered the possibility that drivers intentionally targeting runners would be more of a threat than careless or unobservant drivers. Do they swerve toward you, throw things? If the former, I hope that the intent is to scare and not to hit.

Though I have never had any threatening incidents while running that I think were intentional. I did have an incident while walking home from school once. I was walking home from junior high -- passing the high school. As I walked on the one road in my route without a sidewalk, I had noticed how cars swerved around me to give me lots of space. Then, one car didn't. I noticed that they were acting differently well before they got near me and was very alert. As they approached, the passenger door flew open and I jumped out of the way. If I hadn't been paying attention, they would have nailed me.

I definitely agree that awareness of our surroundings is our best defense against either accidents or assaults while running.

I have considered a head lamp or a belt lamp, but the times that I have felt the need for one have been rare enough that I've never acted on it. Generally, the moon or the glow from the city illuminate my route well enough for me to avoid the potholes and I especially enjoy running under the moon. It is likely that I will turn off the front lights on my vest when there are no cars and a good moon in the sky.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Andrew A. on November 06, 2012, 04:13:36 PM
Though I actively plan to avoid getting hit while out running, I have known (or just heard of) too many people being hit to go running alone without ID.  If nothing else, it allows emergency responders to look up my insurance and thus next-of-kin more easily.

Something I have noticed, in addition to the occasional entitled jerk behind the wheel and the inattentive/phone-using drivers, is the tendency to go in the direction of whatever draws your attention.  Like in trail running or in mountain biking, where it is advised to pick a line and stick to it because if you look at where you do not want to go then you will wind up there.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Ryan on November 06, 2012, 08:43:35 PM
Charlene, absolutely you have to assume nobody sees you until they show differently. The bane of my running existence is the "look left, turn right" driving maneuver.

Steve, I do believe most, if not all, are just trying to scare you. Some are just being immature, others think runners "don't belong" on the roads and are trying to "scare some sense" into you.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: ksrunner on November 07, 2012, 08:39:55 AM
Like in trail running or in mountain biking, where it is advised to pick a line and stick to it because if you look at where you do not want to go then you will wind up there.

Though not running related, I find it interesting that my wife says the same about horse riding. You need to look where you want the horse to go otherwise the horse is likely to go where you're looking.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Charlene on November 08, 2012, 06:47:24 PM
The mention of being assaulted has a bit of a different spin on it as the very rural area where I do many workouts and my long run has had numerous  day time burgularies in the last month.  Normally I do not worry at all about strangers but I do think it might be a rather tight spot to surprise these rather bold burglars by running by as they carry the TV and computer out of someone's house.  Esp if it was a friend or relative's house in the area.  I guess my only option would be a cross country escape if pursued.  They can follow me on the road with a car but I highly doubt it that they will hoof it across the cornfield and marsh.  Ironic is that my downfall would be the high visibility of most of my running shirts. 

I have been curious if I have came up as a person of interest in police reports as the last house robbed is right near where I usually take a short walk break between tempo intervals.  I guess I don't look too suspicious though as I don't normally take my TV for a run.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: ksrunner on November 09, 2012, 09:30:11 AM
Charlene, I live in a similarly rural area and have had similar thoughts on a run. I've wondered if the van coming out of some driveway was the owner's van or perhaps someone who shouldn't have been there. That was on a  long run, so I was not as familiar with those houses as with the ones closer to home. We have a couple of friends who have had items stolen (horse tack and a large six-wheeler). The people who stole the horse tack were caught after our friend spotted her items on craigslist.com.

Have you ever encountered loose livestock? A few times, I've stopped to tell people that their cows or horses were out. In one case, I found a lone horse wearing a halter standing in the road on the other side of the fence from some other horses. I walked/jogged with that horse for about 3/4 of a mile until I met a woman who was walking out of her driveway to look for it.

Recently, our farrier found a lost steer wandering along the road. He spent hours trying to track down the owner. He contacted all of the nearby farms and no one was missing a steer. So, he and his dad took the steer to the butcher and filled their freezer.
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Charlene on November 09, 2012, 05:44:01 PM
Ksrunner,  I have not chased loose cattle since I lived back on the farm.  After my grandfather passed on they did seem not to get out anymore.  I guess Dad was right when he blamed Grandpa for leaving the gate open.  I have never encountered any on a run but about 10-12 head were loose in the area the entire winter a few years ago.  They were sighted on both my father and Grandpa's farms even though the farm they escaped from was 8 miles away.  They really got around that winter.

Nice of you to return the horse and give the heads up about the livestock. I am sure that the farmers appreciated it.  We do not always know it but the people that we regularly run by do watch out for us.  Many people feel like they know me as they see me run by so often.  This does lead to very awkward conversations in the grocery store and once at a stop light.

 I have returned quite a few little dogs that I thought were in danger as I suspected that they escaped the house without their owner's knowledge.    Some of these I have rescued out of traffic on the busy hwy going through town.  Of course, if the dog starts chasing me with their owner on the lawn making a way too feeble attempt to stop or retrieve their dog, I just run faster :)
Title: Re: Being visible
Post by: Charlene on November 09, 2012, 07:06:38 PM
As for the visibility clothing I recieved this e-mail from Saucony today;  We here at Saucony are working to improve the wear test program for our apparel items. Part of improving the apparel wear testing is ensuring that we recruit a group of wear testers who not only wear the correct test size and run a whole heck of a lot, but who also “know” running, running culture AND have proven themselves reliable and thoughtful testers in the past.  That’s where you come in! You guys are my best footwear wear testers. And now I want to invite you to be a part of the apparel testing program.

I have tested 4 pairs of shoes so far so I am excited to test apparel too.  The survey I took with regard to  this made it sound as if I will be testing  winter and high visibility wear.  I love it that companies are willing to make high performance gear rather than just market to the larger fitness market that buys according to style rather than function.