Spreading the Word about Virginia Bicyclist & Pedestrian Awareness Week

As a runner, I see it a lot: distracted drivers.

Folks fumbling on their cell phones, eating, shaving and countless other things that could change their lives and others in a few seconds.

Reese Witherspoon’s scary moments

Just last week, an 84-year-old woman reportedly struck actress Reese Witherspoon with her car while the Legally Blonde and Water for Elephants actress was jogging in Santa Monica, Calif. Paramedics took Witherspoon to a nearby hospital where she fortunately was released with just minor injuries.

A local reminder in Richmond

Locally in Richmond, a similar incident had a tragically different turn on Aug. 25.

Henrico resident Michael John Fawell, 38, died after that afternoon on a cycling ride in Hanover County when an oncoming pickup truck turned in front of his Cannondale racing bike.

We’ll never know why the truck driver was distracted on that tragic day that left a 14-month-old daughter and 4-year-old-son without a father and a wife without her husband of 10 years. Fawell’s horrific accident is a sobering reminder of just how fragile our lives are and how quickly they can change.

A Richmond Times-Dispatch cover story on Sept. 8, 2011 recounted Fawell’s “infectious smile” and passionate approach to training.

Learn about Virginia Bicyclist & Pedestrian Awareness Week

DRIVE SMART Virginia and Bike Walk Virginia recently announced that Gov. Bob McDonnell has proclaimed Sept. 11-17 Virginia Bicyclist & Pedestrian Awareness Week. Read the news release.

The two organizations launched a communications blitz to remind drivers to “Share the Road” with cyclists, runners and pedestrians in order to save lives and reduce injuries.

Unfortunately, last year 88 people died walking or cycling on our Virginia roadways; 621 cyclists and 1,585 pedestrians were injured.

Learn how you can get involved and spread the word with a variety of resources for companies, including how your organization can become a safety partner.

Stayed tuned this week for more on our blog about what you need to know about distracted driving.

Jonathan Rhudy is a fan of Road ID for anyone exercising outside including cyclists, walkers and runners. The simple ID bracelets could save your life in providing first-responders critical information about you in case of an accident.