Be smart about running safety

Accidents happen. It's a hazard of sharing the road with others, but sometimes they can certainly be avoided. There's no reason not to do everything in your power to be sure you're seen and safe out there!

A lot of us consider ourselves Safety Captains here at Gazelle Sports. That’s because we’ve either had experience first-hand or heard stories from friends and loved ones about the very real dangers of running. The fact of the matter is, even if you’re always on the sidewalk or only run on trails, there are always hazards out there, and the proper safety gear can help mitigate disaster. Sidewalk runners inevitably cross a driveway at some point (and we all have seen the errant driver just zoom out of their drive backwards with nary a glance in any direction) and maybe I’m being a crazy trail runner, but I have a fear of hunters mistaking me for prey, so both my dog and I wear safety yellow vests on the trails. Below are a few of the key pieces of safety gear any runner should have in their arsenal. Most of them are specific to low-light running and walking (which is pretty much all we do here during winter in Michigan), but I’ve also included some elements that are more about general safety.

woman and dog in reflective running gear

My dog Ford and I always wear our Amphipod vests, even when out for a short post-dinner walk.

Blinky lights are cheap, effective and fun. See if you can clip one on a running buddy without the knowing. Tag. You're it!

Plenty of us at Gazelle Sports have been made fun of for being the crazy people chasing around other runners and handing out blinky lights. But the fact is, blinky lights are a cheap and effective way to ensure that anyone you’re sharing the road with is aware of your presence. It’s important to have something flashing on both your front and back. These strobe lights effectively announce there’s a runner or walker out there.

You’ll also want to invest in some reflective gear, preferably something with 360° reflectivity. This just enhances your overall visibility to drivers - when their lights hit you, you light up (so hopefully their car doesn’t also hit you). A lot of our running apparel will come with points of reflectivity, whether that’s a reflective logo or tape already built into the gear. But remember that safety yellow vest I was talking about earlier? The one I’ve worn for years from Amphipod is safety yellow feature 360° reflectivity, and a row of flashing LED lights on the front and back. #Winning. (Is that hashtag still a thing?) Sorry, I digress.

Alright, so you’ve got some reflective gear, some blinky lights, the last piece of your visual safety puzzle is some active lighting for when it really is dark out there. We have a number of headlamps and handheld flashlights that are made specifically for runners. There are headlamps that start strobing when a car approaches you and flashlights that are ergonomically designed to fit your hand easily while running. These products also come at various price points to fit your needs.

So, now that you’re geared up and there’s a good chance satellites in space can now register your flashing presence, there’s a few other things to think about. For women especially, and especially if you’re running alone or in secluded areas, it’s never a bad idea to carry pepper spray. When it gets slippery out, I’d also encourage a traction product like Kahtoola’s NANOspikes to keep you on your feet and moving forward.

Please don’t hesitate to come into your local Gazelle Sports and talk through your safety needs. We can help you explore the wealth of products we have to keep you moving no matter the conditions. We’re here to make sure everyone can continue on their movement journey in whatever form that might take!

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