Every year, millions of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution to get into shape. Most gyms see a massive influx of new members during the early months of each year, while the streets of Houston see more bicyclists, joggers, and pedestrians. Despite the fact that many people are trying to get in better shape, they may ultimately wind up suffering injuries because of negligent drivers and other risks. It is important for everyone gearing up for a year of physical fitness resolutions to take proper precautions to avoid accidents.
Prioritize Pedestrian or Bicyclist Safety
If you plan to exercise outdoors by running through your neighborhood, acknowledge the risks of traffic-related injuries. Running outdoors may be preferable to a treadmill, but it is more dangerous. Texas’s pedestrian death rate is the 13th highest in the country. In 2017, 614 pedestrians in Texas lost their lives in traffic accidents. Pedalcyclist deaths totaled 57 the same year.
Although 2017’s numbers were both improvements from 2016, they still show a serious risk while jogging or biking on the roads in Texas. If you wish to take your new fitness regime outside instead of staying within the walls of a gym, do so safely. Take steps to actively reduce your risk of becoming a pedestrian or bicycle accident victim in Houston.
Exercise During the Day
It is more dangerous to bike or jog at night than during the day. Reduced visibility can increase the odds of a driver not seeing a crossing exerciser in time to avoid a collision. Keep your workout routine to the daytime as much as possible. Not only will this increase your visibility, but it can also reduce the odds of drunk and drowsy driving accidents. Drivers are typically most alert during the daytime, whereas early in the morning or late at night they are more prone to dangerous and reckless driving.
Wear Bright Colors
Sometimes it is not possible or convenient to bike or jog during the day. If you plan on fitting in a new workout before or after work, when the sun is low, reduce your risk of a collision by improving your visibility to drivers. Wear bright colors, such as neon yellows and oranges. Invest in a safety vest with reflectors. If on a bicycle, obey the state’s mandatory equipment laws and make sure you have a bright enough rear red reflector and front white headlight. If you are bringing a pet, use a leash that lights up or has reflectors to warn drivers.
Stay Predictable to Drivers
Although many bicycle and pedestrian collisions occur from drivers’ fault, vulnerable road users must also obey the laws applicable to them. Texas has many bicycle and pedestrian statutes regarding where they can ride or walk and how they must travel through traffic. Obeying these laws can help keep you safe as you exercise in downtown Houston or in your neighborhood. For example, always wait for the walk signal at a crosswalk and look both ways before stepping off the curb, even if you have the right-of-way. On a bicycle, signal your intents to stop and turn, and obey traffic laws as you would behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Wear a Bicycle Helmet
Texas may not have a universal law requiring bicycle helmets, but that does not mean you should go without one. Helmets can significantly reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries to the head and brain. It can also prevent lacerations and broken bones in the face, including mouth and eye injuries. Always wear a helmet when bicycling through Texas. It could potentially save your life if a driver strikes you. Check your local municipality to find out if different helmet rules apply. Some cities in Texas enforce helmet laws for children or adults.
These are just a few of the ways to prevent injuries while working out in 2019. Keep you and your family injury-free while following a New Year’s exercise resolution by practicing traffic safety. If you get wrongly injured and want to pursue legal action, speak to our Houston personal injury lawyers.