Tips to stay safe and injury free while performing exercise on the roads this winter
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of indoor exercise venues, outdoor exercises such as walking, jogging and cycling have become popular ways to get out of the house and keep fit and healthy. In fact, in the first few months of lockdown, government figures showed that the UK had seen an increase of 200 percent just in the number of people cycling.
With some gyms still closed and a lot of people concerned about returning to indoor exercise at this time, this increased popularity seems set to continue for the foreseeable future. However, with the nights drawing in before many people finish work, cycling, walking or jogging can present hazards, especially from vehicles.
Safety tips when out and about on the roads
For those who are exercising on the roads, there are a few simple steps to follow to stay safe:
- Be vigilant and aware of other road users
- Be aware of your surroundings – keep an eye out for potholes or other uneven surfaces that could cause you to trip or fall
- If you need to move into the road to maintain social distancing, always check to ensure that the road is clear before stepping off the pavement
- Don’t rely on cars to give you space – many motorists move over when they see a jogger or cyclist and pass them at a safe distance but don’t assume that they always will. If you are running on the road and a car is approaching be prepared to move onto the verge or pavement
- If you are running or walking in the road, keep to the right hand side so that you can see oncoming traffic and they can see you – if you are facing the oncoming traffic you will be able to react more quickly than if they approach from behind you.
- If you are out in the evening or early morning, run or cycle in an area with street lighting – this gives drivers a better chance of seeing you from further away.
- Wear bright, fluorescent or reflective clothing so that you can be easily seen by other road users, especially when it is dark. If you use reflective materials, these can be seen by drivers using headlights up to three times further away than wearing non-reflective materials. If you have lights on your bike, make sure they are working before you set off.
- If you are walking or jogging, look both ways before crossing a road – do not assume that a driver has seen you even if you have seen them
- Avoid distractions – if you like to listen to music, keep the volume low so that you can hear approaching vehicles and don’t use noise cancelling headphones
If you have been injured and the accident is not your fault, it may be possible to bring a personal injury claim however, you should be aware that if you have not followed the advice above the other side may raise an argument called contributory negligence. This means that they are alleging that you are responsible or partly responsible for your injuries by not taking reasonable care for your own safety.
If they are successful in their argument, it will result in any compensation awarded being reduced by the percentage that you are found to have contributed to the accident; for example if you are found to be 20% responsible your compensation will be reduced by 20%.
What steps should I take following an accident?
- It is crucial that if you are involved in an accident that you stay calm and get the details of all of the parties involved and including any witnesses who may be able to confirm your version of events. If you have tripped over a pothole or defect in the road, make sure you take pictures and measurements as soon as possible.
- Seek medical attention urgently if you have been injured and report the incident to the police or Local Authority (if your accident was caused by a pothole) and ensure that you give a clear account of what happened and that it is recorded accurately.
- If you believe that you may be able to make a claim for compensation as a result of an accident, seek legal advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer.
If you have suffered an injury while exercising outdoors which was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free initial consultation with one of our Personal Injury experts call 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.