Chicago Traffic Accidents Research Offers Valuable Information for City Runners

I’m not one for guest blogs – not because I don’t think so many people offer valuable information but because I prefer this forum to be in my own voice and guest blogs to be in an interview format. However, when Jim of Auto Accessories Garage approached me about doing a write-up on the most dangerous intersections in Chicago (number 1 being Lake Shore Drive & E 57th Drive right near the Museum of Science and Industry), I knew this wasn’t something I would ever be able to speak to and was a topic people could really benefit from so I jumped on it. Thank you, Jim for keeping us safe and thank you Jake for the phenomenal & informational post!


Jogging on a tread mill or park track is a great way to work out and can generally be expected to be pretty safe. But not everyone has access to a tread mill or a suitable jogging trail which leads many of America’s joggers to strap on their running shoes and head out to break a sweat on the city streets. But running in a large metro area is very different from running on a designated jogging trail or even running in a suburban neighborhood.

There’s always a risk involved when you share the road with vehicles in any capacity. But when you are a jogger sharing the road with cars, the risk is multiplied. In a study published by Auto Accessories Garage which used data provided by the City of Chicago and includes an interactive 3D heat map of Chicago traffic accidents, it was found that of the reported accidents that involve multiple vehicles, a vehicle and a cyclist, or a vehicle and pedestrian or jogger, vehicle on vehicle collisions report a 8.86% rate of injury, cyclist and vehicle collisions report an injury rate of 64.5%, but pedestrian and vehicle collisions top of the list with a 90.5% rate of injury. The 3D heat map also provides insight into where the most dangerous areas of the city are with regard to traffic collisions.

Make no mistake, getting struck by a vehicle during a jog can be incredibly dangerous, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jog in the city, it just means you need to be extra-vigilant. For example, as this same report points out, most collisions occur during the morning or evening rush hour periods. The more cars that are on the road, the higher the instance of collisions. So it’s best to avoid running during peak traffic times.

But conventional wisdom tells us that running in the daylight is safer than running after dark. And as this study shows, while most collisions occur during rush hour, there is a higher instance of injury after dark. So, with this in mind, the best time to jog would probably be in the cool early-morning and evening hours or in the mid-afternoon. But, if your schedule insists that you run after dark, be sure to wear bright reflective clothing and be on the lookout for vehicle traffic. Luckily for city runners, most metro areas are fairly well lit even at night.

The sidewalk is always a safer place to run than on the street itself. But if you must run on the side of the street, unlike with cycling, runners are encouraged to run against traffic rather than with it. This way, should a distracted driver swerve into your path you will have a few split seconds to react. These split seconds could make a huge difference.


Jake McKenzie is the Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage (@aagarage), a fast-growing, family-owned online retailer of automotive parts and accessories. He manages all written content for the website including research guides, product descriptions, and other informative articles. He also enjoys attending the annual SEMA Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event held every November in Las Vegas. Jake often lends his opinions and expertise to a variety of online blogs, websites, and news sources.

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2 Comments

  1. August 12, 2019 / 9:11 pm

    This post makes me want to find if there is something similar for NYC.

    • Connie
      Author
      August 22, 2019 / 10:22 am

      I’m sure there is! I wonder if Auto Accessories Garage would be able to point you in the right direction – jim.m@autoaccessoriesgarage.com was my contact 🙂

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