I think every runner or cyclist’s biggest fear is getting hit by a car. I got hit by a car running! Disclaimer: the car was going slower than I was and I am more than OK. Here’s how the situation went down.
I had the day off on Good Friday, April 3. I had plans later in the day to cruise over to Montana so I thought it’d be nice to start out the day with some fitness and get some movement in before sitting around most of the day. I set out on a run, I was thinking 9-10 miles. It was quite brisk so I bundled up with a few layers and set off. I’d say it was going well. It took a few miles to warm up – both body temperature wise and mentally/physically. I had to say this because I never wanted to be “one of those” people but it takes me a few miles to warm up and get in a little bit of a groove. I was feeling good and set out going east on Main St in Hazen, I was on about mile 7. I was running directly into the sun, it was about 9am I’d guess. I was coming to an intersection and a car was approaching the stop sign and would be turning right – the direction I was coming from. The car was going very slow, almost to a stop. I (foolishly) assumed she would stop since there was a stop sign. I couldn’t make eye contact with her since I was running directly into the sun. I was about half way through the crosswalk when she clipped me with her driver’s side bumper.
Not impressed. For a brief second, I knew I was going to get hit. Time went in slow motion. I was going to jump onto her hood but I just kind of jumped out of the way. FYI, a Mustang comes to just below your knee on a 5’11” woman. I was pretty stunned and from the look on her face, she also was. She wasn’t on the phone or fidgeting with her radio that I could tell. She was just distracted. I get it – it happens to me daily. Especially in small-town Hazen where there were approximately 0 other cars on this quiet holiday morning. I kind of just kept running and she finally rolled down her frosty (maybe she couldn’t see through it?) window and asked if I was OK. I said I was and continued on. She said are you sure? I said I was just surprised. I didn’t know what to do but I was fine. She was going so slow. So I kept going.
That small, very light colored mark on my shin is where I was hit – I told you it was really nothing.
Only about ½ block down, I was running by the drug store. I saw a checkbook on the group, opened it and flipped it open and didn’t recognize the name. I took it into the drug store clerk and she knew immediately it was a little old man who had parked hi mobile scooter outside the drug store. She thanked me and I continued on. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was held up with the car thing so I could reunite this man with his wallet? Who knows? But then my mind started going into overdrive on what if? What if she was even going 10mph? I can’t imagine the fear. What if she was going faster? What if I did get hurt? I nearly started crying and decided I wanted to get home and just process all my thoughts. I ended my run at a little over 8 miles and told my husband what went on. There was barely a red mark on my shin and no damage was done. But I kept thinking what I could have done to prevent this.
- Don’t trust a crosswalk – I might have the right of way but I never know what a driver might be doing/thinking/seeing/hearing
- Wear brighter colors – I make it an effort to wear bright clothes when I cycle but this day my colors were all darker. Even though it is a sunny day – dress bright
- Don’t be distracted – I don’t run with headphones or an iPod or whatever as I want to hear what is going on around me or who is approaching. I still let my mind wander and could focus better on the now
- Never trust a stop sign – A LOT of people don’t come to full stops at a stop sign, including myself. This is especially true in our small town where apparently everyone is also out of blinker fluid
One of my biggest fears when I am cycling is getting hit by a vehicle. If you’ve never been to Hazen I’ll tell you a little about the layout. You could probably run one end to the other and maybe cover 3-4 miles? If you are running or cycling consistently you know a person really prefers variety and seeing different sights. I have a favorite path I take but it gets old and there is little to no shoulder on that road. Just a few summers ago, Hwy 200 (main thorough way) was widened to include shoulders. I am happy about this as it gives me another option – but the speed limit is 45-65 mph so it is scary. I have no idea what is coming at me since you are supposed to cycle with traffic. I am good with wearing my helmet when I ride but I often wonder how much protection it would really offer if I was hit. I don’t want to find out. Traffic goes fast and there usually is not much for other cyclists. I think I have seen about 2-3 others on a given ride. In town it’s OK but I really like to try to pick up speed and in town with kids and pets and short roads and what not, it’s not ideal.
I kind of feel like when I run at least I can see what is coming at me. So be safe – I never want something like this to happen to anyone or myself again.
I obviously quickly recovered. This was a fun sign at Boots Bar in Medora where we stopped. It says” “A fine beer can be judged from one sip but it’s better to be thoroughly sure!” Perfect!