I’m a jogger. Yes, I know, I don’t look like I do any exercise. But I jog and have the chub-rub to prove it.
Since I’m not a morning person, I choose to do most of my runs after work. And in the winter, this means in the dark.
Sounds dangerous right?
Not so fast. I take precautions.
First and foremost, I wear a heinous construction vest that I stole from work. Add a reflective backpack, legs as pale as snow and a blinking headlamp and you’ve got the sexiest nighttime jogger this city has ever seen. But even with all my night-running precautions, I’ve still seen my life flash before my eyes on multiple occasions.
Before you jump to conclusions and assume that this article is a bitch-fest about pedestrian rights, I want to say one thing: I get it. Driving sucks. Traffic seems to be getting worse every day. Your favorite station started playing Christmas music and now you’re stuck with your second favorite station. I’ve been there.
But while on your misery ride, you have to understand that other people are around you, a lot of them without the benefit of a steel box to protect them. (Side note: Are cars made out of steel? Never mind, I don’t care.)
All I’m asking is that as a city we try a little harder to be aware.
Aware of stop signs, yield signs and crosswalks. Aware that I am attempting to burn off calories from the two pounds of Portofino’s Chicken Parm I accidentally ate for lunch.
And to further convince you, here are four places where you should pay extra special attention. Why? Because these are places where you, yes YOU, have almost plowed me down with your car.
(1) The sidewalk on the corner of Queens Road and E. 3rd Street
As a runner, I understand that I need to be careful venturing out into the road because that’s car-zone. If I decide to run into the road willy-nilly and end up getting hit by a car—that’s on me.
But if the road is car-zone, then the sidewalk must be pedestrian-zone, right? Apparently not.
A few weeks ago while turning the corner of Queens Road and 3rd I was surprised when a car making a right turn came UP ONTO THE SIDEWALK barely missing my feet.
As far as I know we’re not in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” so there’s no reason to take turns so sharp.
(2) The intersection of Camden Road and S. Tryon Street
This one also happens to be on the list of the most dangerous intersections in Charlotte.
I understand this intersection is tricky. The lanes mash together and make zero sense.
However, I feel like this should only make you want to drive slower through this intersection.
Instead, drivers seem to think that the faster they go, the safer they are. 31 accidents and countless almost-accidents since 2012 say differently.
(3) Central Avenue: All of it
Although most of Central Avenue is a pedestrian death trap, my personal favorite place to put my life in danger is the turn into the Healthy Home Market parking lot.
Charlotteans must really love their bulk chia seeds because it seems like everyone turns into this lot with reckless abandon.
And I’m not just talking about jogger safety here.
There are always a ton of people walking along this part of Central Avenue. The bulk chia seeds can wait. Please use caution.
(4) Providence Road near Strawberry Hill
In my experience, people do their most inattentive driving in places where they are most comfortable.
To prove this, I give you the death row known as people pulling out of their driveways on Providence Road.
I’ll admit, I’m not always 100% aware when I pull out of my driveway. I may still be putting on my seatbelt or tuning my radio to any station that plays the Chainsmokers. But, then again, I live in a sleepy neighborhood where the sidewalk is on the opposite side of the street.
The people on Providence Road, however, live on a main road that is frequented by pedestrians. When they pull out of their driveways without looking it gives us pedestrians two choices: 1. Get pancaked by a Land Rover or 2. Jump into 50 MPH traffic and hope for the best.
BONUS: Intersection of Park Road and Sharon Road
This is a special bonus because this is where you DID hit me with your car.
Let me refresh your memory: It was 3 p.m. on a Saturday. (AKA: daylight.) You slowed down at the yield sign. You looked up and I thought you saw me. But then as I ran across the intersection, I felt a hard thump on my right leg. It was your bumper. As I turned to you with a look on my face that said “Excuse me, I believe that you just me with your car,” I noticed that you weren’t looking at me. You were staring down at your phone.
Instagram, I assume.
I got out of the way of your bumper and yelled “Hello?!” This is when you finally looked up at me. As you put up your arms in the “What are you complaining about?” manner and made the right-hand turn I saw that your toddler was in the backseat. He wasn’t on his phone and saw everything.
I’m not going to be dramatic. Getting hit by your car didn’t hurt. But your vanity plate did create a small snag in my Plato’s Closet leggings which was not appreciated.
Plus, your toddler now thinks it’s ok to hit people with cars and that’s going to cause major issues when he gets his first Power Wheels.