The Salt Lake Tribune reported another tragic death of a runner hit by a car. Renee Fleckenstein, a 62-year-old Sandy woman, was struck while in the crosswalk by a female driver who said the she was "turning and didn’t see the runner" as the runner apparently ran across the crosswalk. It is difficult to tell what happened since only the deceased runner and the driver were present at the time of the collision. It is unclear who had the green light. However, this kind of accident happens all too often. Ms. Fleckenstein was the 19th pedestrian killed this year in Utah. There were 45 total pedestrians killed in Utah last year.
The article in the Tribune contains admonitions of the police that runners/bikers should always have forms of I.D. when they run, which will allow responders to identify injured athletes on the road. Also, an iPod was found on the runner. Certainly, the use of an iPod does not excuse the inattentiveness of any driver who ignores a person in the crosswalk, whether running against or with the light. However, as I’ve pointed to before in other blogs, runners and bikers sharing the road with motor traffic have to take every precaution to avoid losing the battle for space on the roads. All your senses should be attuned to the surrounding environment to avoid the distracted, inattentive, or even hostile driving public.
Even though an I.D. probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome of this horrible accident, it is still a good idea to carry important identifying information with you as you go out on the byways for a workout. One of many such permanent and handy forms of I.D. is Road I.D. bracelet. I’ve been wearing mine for the last couple of years. There are many stories where the personal contact/emergency information has assisted responders in properly treating injured and unconscious athletes found on the road, many times, far from home.
Drivers need to take greater care to observe the road to avoid these tragic accidents. Runners, bikers, and walkers also need to take precautions to protect themselves. With the increasing number of health-conscious people hitting the roads, particularly in the morning, we all- runners, bikers, walkers, and drivers- need to observe a much higher level of vigilance. 19 pedestrians killed is too many. One person killed is too many. Watch out for each other!