Tag Archives: jogging

[OPINION] Drivers, Bikers, Joggers, Strollers: Be Careful!

Peter Blau is a marketing consultant. He grew up in Westport, lives in Weston, and bikes often. He writes:

I’ve been out cycling a lot recently. So have lots of other people. And way more pedestrians too, than before COVID.

Trouble is, traffic is back with a vengeance now that retail and recreation is reopening. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed or seriously hurt. Here are some of the most dangerous things I see:

Drivers approach a biker, pedestrian or even a pedestrian/stroller duo, and swerve across the yellow line without slowing down. Sometimes they’re actually accelerating to “make it” before the oncoming car passes. I have seen near misses, and fear that someday one of these drivers will swerve back into his lane and kill whoever is walking or cycling by.

Pedestrians who walk well into the roadway, with their back to car and cycle traffic, sometimes while distracted by operating their mobile device. Or pedestrians who use the road when there’s a sidewalk available.

That was the case in a near-miss between my bike and a jogger in the road on Hillspoint just north of the beach. The guy yelled at me to “watch out!”” even though I could not swerve away from him, because a car was passing. My only choice was to brake, but he could have easily moved onto the sidewalk, or the grassy verge in between.

Group cyclists riding 2 or more abreast so they can converse more easily. This prompts unnecessarily wide swerving by cars. When there’s lots of oncoming traffic, it forces drivers to move at a snail’s pace, sometimes provoking angry motorists into an aggressive driving maneuver.

Now that COVID is less of a worry around here, we all need to focus on sharing the road safely. Remember: Let’s be careful out there!

Unsung Hero #136

Westport’s roads are filled with joggers.

They’re all different types: men and women, old and young, in shape and trying to get there.

With their jogging gear, headphones and determined looks, though, they all tend to look the same.

Except for Julie Van Norden.

Julie Van Norden

You might have seen her running, from her home near the Merritt Parkway through town and back. Or a longer run, toward the train station or Staples.

She’s the one holding a couple of empty beer cans.

Or (to be fair) other garbage.

No, she doesn’t have a problem. Just the opposite: She’s doing her bit to fix the problem others have.

You know, the ones who throw trash out the car window, wherever they want.

“I love where I live. I want to keep it clean,” she says.

So she “plogs.” That’s her word for “picking up litter while jogging.”

Julie Van Norden, at work.

Right now, Julie may be the only Westport runner who does this.

She focuses on items that can be recycled. She scopes out what needs to be picked up on her her way out. On her way back, she picks up whatever she can carry.

Back home, she sorts it all out into her recycling bins.

Wouldn’t it be great if we saw other folks running with beer cans too?

Then maybe one day, none of them would have to.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)