For joggers, one of the cardinal rules while running on the shoulder of the road is that they should run toward traffic. Cyclists, meanwhile, ride with traffic. Why is it different for runners?
The goal, naturally, is safety. It has been determined that running toward traffic, as nerve-wracking as it can feel at times, is safer for runners.
Reacting to drivers’ mistakes
The general idea is that cars are going to have to pass close to you either way. If those cars are behind you, you have no idea what they’re doing and you just have to hope that they pass safely. If they’re in front of you, at least you can watch them and react to any mistakes that the drivers make that put you at risk.
For instance, a driver may get a text message and decide to read it. While looking down to unlock their phone, they may drift onto the shoulder. You can certainly still get hit by this driver, even if you know it’s coming, but even a slight bit of advance warning allows you to try to dodge out of the way.
On the whole, there is nothing that can really protect a runner during an accident. They can suffer catastrophic injuries. The best way for runners to stay safe is for drivers to avoid mistakes and prevent accidents.
Since we can’t always count on that, though, runners need to be aware of the issues around them. Those who get injured also have options to seek compensation for their injuries, damages and other losses from the at-fault drivers and their insurance providers.