Pacer Safety Protocol

As Pasadena Pacers, we are large in numbers and take up a lot more space on the road than you might realize. General safety tips from the Road Runners Club of America can be found here. Below are some safety tips specifically for Pasadena Pacers with notes from our founder, Dr. Steve Smith:

  1. Run no more than two abreast. Run single file on narrow sections of the road. When overtaking other runners, run single file while passing to avoid a four abreast situation.
  1. Always run facing traffic!

Dr. Smith side note:  Drivers can be distracted by many things, moving objects, other vehicles, a light that is about to change, etc. You see it every day on your way to work: road rage, distracted driver, or just marginally skilled at operating a vehicle. These are the people we place our confidence in to avoid hitting us while running the streets. Do you really want to leave your safety, your life up to them?

  1. Don’t wear headphones.

Dr. Smith side note: When you run with your back to the traffic with headphones on you are eliminating two of your most important senses, sight and sound. Your sense of touch will probably soon follow when the impact of a vehicle occurs! Please do not wear headphones and please always run facing traffic.

  1. Always be conscious of bikes. They are very exposed to injury in the event of a crash.

Dr. Smith side note: Cyclists can pose a very big danger to runners. They are silent and they are moving at a speed that can cause serious injury to both of you if they crash. All it takes is one person to cut sharply into a cyclist’s the path and the crash you cause results in a hip fracture that will ruin someone’s life. 

  1. Carry some form of ID on you. In case something happens, this will let other help you. Here’s how to add your emergency contact information on your phone.
  1. Follow all traffic laws. Never run red lights. Never cross barriers, caution tape, or private property boundaries.
  1. Look before crossing streets. Don’t rely on the runner in front of you and simply follow. Use your own judgement. Never make close calls when calculating traffic conflict.

Dr. Smith side note: The bicycle or car you are about to run in front of may not see the impending conflict and their perception of your movements may appear far more dangerous than yours, resulting in overreaction.

  1. At night, wear reflective vests or suspenders to make yourself visible. Wear a headlight to see the bumps and dips in the road that can trip you.

Dr. Smith side note: A light is not nearly as visible as good reflective gear. A vehicle traveling 40mph is covering 58 feet per second. If your light can be seen only at 200 feet, you have less than four seconds before impact. This is probably not enough time for most drivers to react!

  1. For the Rose Bowl specifically, be certain to avoid bolting outside the white line. Stay inside the white line and go counterclockwise around the Bowl.
  1. When starting out, launch the faster runners first to avoid passing. Slow runners wait for the faster pace groups to begin the run. Pace groups should start at 15 second intervals.
  1. Finally, if you encounter conflict realize that most people in collisions view the other person as the cause. Take a positive point-of-view and be helpful. Make sure the other person is okay and if they need help stay with them until help arrives. If you are definitely at fault, apologize to the other party and be sympathetic to their situation.

We are constantly reevaluating the routes to insure minimum traffic conflict and we welcome any safe routing suggestions. The planned routes are a result of careful consideration and have developed out of past experience. Please follow our set routes because although you might be extra vigilant, there may be a new runner who is following you and may not be aware of the danger.

Maintaining a safe and friendly environment is the Pacer way. Be safe and run strong, Pacers.