It’s no secret that runners like pain.
We force our bodies to run farther, to move faster, and to work ever harder on our quest for pain and suffering. But all the marathons, hill sprints, and Yasso 800′s in the world have nothing on a vehicle-on-runner collision.
Of course, drivers generally try to avoid hitting pedestrians (honest!). Between the nasty mess created by the human body when struck at high speed, and the subsequent legal nightmare such a collision tends to cause, most drivers prefer to “just go around.”
How, then, is a budding masochist to entice such careful and courteous citizens to hit him?
It turns out that drivers can’t avoid what they can’t see.
According to the Runner’s World study cited in The Runner’s Field Manual, a runner equipped with a headlamp or other white light is clearly visible from a ½ mile away. Worse still, a measly reflective vest still buys a driver a ¼ mile in which to avoid you.
However, clad in all black, a driver gets a mere thirty to forty feet to avoid hitting you. Even assuming you only own white clothes, the driver still only gets ten additional feet. And, according to this stopping distance table, they’d have to be going between ten and twenty miles-per-hour to avoid you at that point.
But, you’ve worn your best emo running gear (all black, like your tortured soul), and drivers still don’t seem to be hitting you?
Maybe your problem is that you’re being too predictable.
Let’s go back to our earlier assumption that drivers really don’t want to hit runners. To help them avoid collisions, they rely on our behaving predictably. Here are some of the things drivers hold to be true:
- Runners will run on the designated “appropriate” side of the road (I.e. facing traffic)
- Runners will only cross the road at a designated intersection
- Runners will neither speed up, nor slow down, nor change direction suddenly
- Runners will not emerge suddenly from behind visual obstructions (E.g. parked cars, buildings, bushes)
In a driver’s mind, a runner would never break one of these fundamental assumptions. As modern economics assures us, human beings always behave predictably. You would never willingly violate that code, would you?
Especially not by, say, emerging from between parked cars on the wrong side of the road, sprinting to the middle of the road, then stopping. They’d never see that coming, that’s for sure. In other words, the best way to stymie a collision avoidant driver is using the element of surprise.
Dressing in all black. Using the element of surprise to your advantage. You’re getting to be a real ninja, aren’t you?
But you’re still not causing collisions?
You know, maybe you’re just not cut out for this “getting hit by passing vehicles” thing. It would probably be best if you just went back to focusing on getting your pain through running.
But before you head out, don’t forget to grab your headphones. And you should probably turn the volume way up. You wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to rock out just because of the sound of some cars that can’t even be bothered to hit you.
While we’re at it, I’m pretty sure that “look both ways” thing is just a suggestion. Since you’ve been doing such a bad job at finding a car to hit you so far, I doubt you’d even need to bother.
Now that you’re all geared up, go on out there and have a killer run.
But if you come up with any more tips to convince drivers to hit you, you will come back here and leave me a comment, won’t you?
For as much as I joke – accidents do happen. Run safely out there!