Winter's shorter days affect everyone, but 4:30 p.m. sunsets may be toughest for the fitness set. Gone are the post-work outdoor runs and rides under the sun. On the bright side (pun intended), less UV protection is necessary. But safety is a bigger concern. Darkness increases the likelihood of accident or injury while working out. You are less visible to others and your own vision is restricted. Here are a few tips to help maximize your safety and minimize your risk of injury while sweating in the dark.
1) Move in the Right DirectionBike with traffic and run against traffic. This rule of thumb applies for all times of the day. Running against the flow of traffic allows you to watch everything coming your way--cars, buses, bikes, etc. Even at a five minute per mile running pace, oncoming traffic can see you from afar and you should have reaction time to get out of the path of any oncoming danger. As drivers increasingly text and talk on the telephone, all it takes is a momentary swerve of the car to cause an impact. Runners with their back to an oncoming swerving vehicle don't have a chance to react.
Unlike running, bike speeds of 10 mph and faster create a dangerously short reaction time for drivers headed in the opposite direction. So, riding with the flow of traffic is the safe bet. (Note: Most state vehicle codes require bicycles to ride with the flow of traffic anyway.)