Walkers and Runners: Stay Visible After Dark

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

As Wendy Bumgardner pointed out, it’s dark at night and not so safe for night time exercise:

Changing from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time triples pedestrian deaths from 5 pm – 7 pm, according to two Carnegie Mellon University researchers. An average of 37 more people are killed each year in November vs. October around the 6 pm commute time.

She recommends a variety of reflective and lit items to make yourself visible. After looking at the reflective vests on Amazon, I’m shocked to see that they all are near the twenty dollar mark. Sure, you can’t put a price on safety, but it seems like an awful lot of money for a light little vest.

WALKING REFLECTIVE VEST BY SPORTLINE at Amazon.comI found this reflective vest for walkers for six bucks, but other than that, anything under $15 was meant for construction workers.

Ironically, the best thing I’ve seen walkers do is carry a flashlight. Because it lights up itself, it doesn’t depend on the car headlights to hit it exactly right. The walker that does this in my area always carries it in the hand closest to the street. He lets his arm swing just as it would while walking and the light is moving, so it attracts your attention as a driver. A two buck flashlight and some batteries is a great way to keep yourself visible.

Me? I’m back to the treadmill now. It has gotten a little too cold out there for me and I’m logging my miles while watching my Walking DVDs.

What do you do for exercise when it gets dark and cold?


10 Responses to “Walkers and Runners: Stay Visible After Dark”

  1. Elaine Says:

    I’ve actually been thinking about getting a construction worker’s vest to ride when I bike. And of course I always have my lights on!

    My problem is the rain — I need to get a long-brimmed cap or something to wear under my helmet, so the rain doesn’t completely cover my glasses. I also need new rain pants. (I’ve lost so much weight this year that the ones I bought last spring don’t fit! I gave them to a coworker who wants to get into cycling.)

    What I’m doing now is biking when it isn’t raining, and when it is, using the exercise room at work first thing in the morning. 15 minutes on the elliptical trainer and 15 minutes of stretches & strength-building, while watching a little TV. Workout with Steven Colbert! 🙂 If there’s a break in the rain during the day, I add in a walk around the block, too.

  2. Barbara Ling Says:


    I love walking in the rain! My husband has finally given up trying to understand that; now when it rains, my kids and I run for the outdoors and practice our karate katas in the storm.

    When it’s too dark to walk outside at night, I’ll lift weights inside or do Dance Dance Revolution. It’s a great way to burn off the calories.


    Barbara Ling

  3. iportion Says:

    The vest is neat idea for those who need it

  4. Megan Says:

    I’m a big fan of my treadmill. I don’t have to leave the house and brave the elements. When I do make it outside, I often go with my West Highland White Terrier. Her leash has glow in the dark paw prints on it and the “potty bag” container is also a reflector.

    Once, I saw a man running at night with shoes that had these flashing lights on them. I wasn’t sure what it was at first… until I got closer.

  5. lovelines Says:

    Yeah I really doubt anyone besides a construction worker will pony up the money for that reflective jacket. Honestly, I’ve never had a problem with exercising after dark. I either head out to an indoor gym or walk along the safe sidewalk. Of course, I’m based in lampost-laned suburbia, so it might be different for urban exercisers.

  6. Chief Says:

    I am continueing to run outside, in Upstate NY, so far so good in the cold and the snow flurries.

    I have a reflective vest, a safety orange stocking cap, and a flashing red LED light that clips on my vest from amphipod. I guess it’s working because I haven’t been hit yet!

  7. Elaine Says:

    @lovelines: most of the commuter cyclists that I see this time of year have reflective vests on. then again, commuter cyclists are very often in much closer proximity to traffic than your average pedestrian.

  8. shari Says:

    Just returned from a run wearing a blinking runner’s light. A motorist yelled at me and told me it “wasn’t really safe to run outside like that” I was so angry- i took the time to wear the blinker and to put on my running pants and shirt with reflective tape on them i would love to run during daylight hours, but i am at work, and it is dark before and after and i absolutely hate the treadmill

  9. Laura Moncur Says:

    I am continually shocked at how rude drivers are to runners.

    I think they feel guilty for not taking care of themselves and take it out on us.

  10. Adria Says:

    We just got a headlamp and a flashing red beacon. Where we live the streets aren’t well lit at night. Now if I could just do something about the cold, I’d be out of excuses.

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