Jacksonville Running Community Loses One of Our Own
By: Doug Aldred
This past October, Jared Bynum was struck and killed by an SUV in the midst of a 100-mile bike ride. Jared’s friends from the PRS Running Club and plenty of other local runners met on October 9 for a four-mile memorial run through Historical Springfield in Jared’s honor. All runners were encouraged to wear the jerseys of their respective clubs to show the unity of Jacksonville’s running community.
Though Jared’s story involved a cycling accident, this unfortunate tragedy reminds how unsafe our roads can really be for cyclists and runners alike. Jared’s death calls for a need for more cycling and running areas in town. While Jacksonville is considered a running town, with a vast community of local runners, there aren’t many options so people are forced to run on the road.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, pedestrians only belong in the road at intersections and crosswalks. Runners shouldn’t be in bike lanes or anywhere else on the road for that matter. For runners, asphalt is better on joints than sidewalks and since many of the city’s sidewalks are in disrepair, the road can be a safer bet.
Not only should you take steps to protect yourself from accidental injury, you should also protect yourself from being a victim of a crime. Here are some safety precautions to keep in mind:
- If you run on the road, run against traffic.
- Never run on the road with headsets on. Headsets also increase your vulnerability to crime. Never run alone with a headset on.
- Always run with a buddy.
- Be careful as a man or woman. Crime can happen to anyone.
- Don’t succumb to a false sense of security because you are running in a busy area. More people means a greater chance of someone trying to commit a crime.
- Never assume drivers can see you – always assume they can’t. Be as visible as possible. Always wear reflective gear and wear a lighting system when it’s dark.
- Slow down at intersections. Never compromise your safety just to keep time. It’s not worth it.
- Get the equipment you need to help keep you safe but never underestimate the power of human error.
3 Off- Road Pedestrian Friendly Places to Run:
- Jacksonville Northbank River Walk from the Riverside Arts Market to the Hyatt is a great pedestrian friendly circuit.
- Black Creek Trail is a state-of the-art six mile trail that runs from downtown Orange Park to Black Creek.
- Doctors Lake Drive Trail is a recently renovated four mile long 12 foot wide recreation path.