Still on The Folly of Joggers



Before I conclude   my discussion on pedestrian and joggers’ safety, please permit me to sincerely apologize for the error committed last week in publishing the first part of this piece instead of the second part which I am doing this week. I take full responsibility and promise it will not happen again .As you ponder on whether to forgive me or ground me, please remember the number one rule which demands that pedestrians and joggers must avoid backing traffic when walking or jogging. Recently, I noticed a fresh oddity when on two different occasions; I stumbled on senior joggers who prefer biking to jogging. They were seen in dark clothes at the early hours of the day and were riding without the appropriate helmets. Generally, the norm among a greater number is to wear dark clothes while jogging.

There are other pedestrian behavior such as walking against a pedestrian walk signal, crossing a street where there is no crosswalk, crossing a street outside of a marked crosswalk where one is present, and walking on a street along with the traffic flow (ignoring designated pedestrian pathways).Because of their vulnerability, pedestrians or joggers while walking in the dark must  wear  or carry white, bright colored or reflective clothing so that they can be easily seen because  it is difficult for motorists to see a pedestrian dressed completely in dark clothes on the road. Wearing a light-colored jacket or trousers and if possible an item of clothing with a reflective strip on it is also recommended. It is extremely important to ensure that while jogging, you jog on the left side of the road facing oncoming traffic whether footpaths are provided or not.

 Almost every jogger thinks it is a vogue to wear headphones while jogging. You must avoid wearing headphones as it is often possible to hear traffic before you can see it and if you are wearing headphones, the sound might drown out the traffic and make you more vulnerable as a pedestrian. 

There are other unsafe pedestrian behavior which also increases the risk of injury or fatality and these behaviors are among the oddities that I observe daily as I jog. They include failure to yield, jogging/walking in the wrong direction which is common not just among joggers but a greater percentage of pedestrians including adults and wearing dark dresses at night or even early in the morning.

Before I close my thoughts on this piece which is closing today, please permit me to share my near miss experience with you as I was almost knocked down even though I complied with all of these safety rules. I am hoping that by sharing my experience with you, you will learn and adjust from any form of arrogance or showoff while jogging. As a personal rule of thumb, I comply with the rules for safety while driving or jogging. I am also careful to remember that there is the possibility of being knocked down by a crazy cab driver or even a private car owner even when all the rules have been complied with. I therefore do not joke with the sacred rule that says face oncoming traffic.  

On this fateful day, I was doing my stuff, jogging and sweating and very conscious that I had done everything possible to stay safe such as ensuring I am very visible to traffic. I guess I had forgotten the Nigerian maxim that acknowledges the look left, look right rule but expands it by urging you to also look up, look front, and look back because you stand the risk of being run over from any direction within our clime. I was very sure that I had looked at all the possible directions but I missed one of the greatest caution and that is that whenever you are approaching a fuel station, or even a possible T-junction or   Y-junction, you must watch out for drivers who after buying fuel would rather choose to drive against traffic instead of using the legal route of driving.

Such drivers usually exhibit their deviant driving behavior using the hard shoulders or even the walkway. What saved me on that fateful day was that even though I was jogging and facing traffic, I also ensured that I jogged very far away from the hard shoulder. I would have been a dead meat if I had been jogging as if I had a right of way of the hard shoulder like most of us do.

My startled near miss experience immediately flashed my mind to how one of our foremost journalist, Dimgba Igwe lost his life while jogging. Although it is about four years since the September 6th 2014 incident, the memory is one we must always remember. The Media captured it thus: ‘’ Dimgba Igwe, is dead. Dimgba Igwe died on Saturday morning after being hit by a car while jogging on his street in the  Okota area of Lagos. According to The Sun, Dimgba Igwe who was the Vice Chairman of The Sun Publishing Limited, sustained a fatal injury and was immediately taken to the hospital where he underwent surgical emergency, unfortunately he died afterwards. In a statement by Managing Director, Femi Adesina, “Mr Igwe passed on today around 10 a.m at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) of injuries suffered from a hit-and-run driver, as he jogged in his Okota, Lagos, neighborhood.“ First aid was administered to him at St. Raphael Hospital, Ago Palace Way, before he was moved to LASUTH for surgical emergency. He did not survive.”