14 September 2015

Creating safer routes for runners in Northampton and advising motorists to be aware of athletes pounding the pavements are the focus of a new initiative in the town.

Northamptonshire County Council has linked in with Northampton Road Runners to create signs which will be put in place on popular running routes.

What do the signs do?

While the vast majority of running in towns takes place on pavements, inevitably runners need to cross roads occasionally on their routes. The signs advise motorists to be on the alert for athletes.

Runners can also help themselves to be seen by wearing hi-vis clothing and using flashing lights which will help drivers to spot them from a distance. Find these and other tips for runners at Running Safe.

Cllr Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “There’s no doubt that running is a great form of exercise but working closely with the Northampton Road Runners we’ve discovered that more than 94 per cent fear for their safety when out on the roads.

“Obviously there is the possibility that this could put people off taking up the pursuit so what we’re trying to do is raise awareness with motorists and encourage them to drive carefully when they encounter a runner.

“Conversely, athletes can also do their bit by doing things like wearing hi-vis clothing and hopefully with this two-pronged approach we can improve road safety.”

Stephen Kennedy from Northampton Road Runners and www.runningsafe.co.uk said: “Earlier this year a dedicated, well respected and long standing member of NRR was hit by a car and killed whilst out on a training run.

“The impact on family, friends and fellow runners was profound and will be long lasting.

“Runningsafe was created as a result of this terrible and shocking event and our aim is to try to make sure it doesn't happen again.

“Many runners, me included, have been subject to 'near misses' whilst out running, regardless of the time of day. This is very unnerving and can put people off the sport altogether as they don’t feel safe.”

Display a sticker

Drivers can also display the specially designed ‘keep right away from runners’ stickers which can be ordered, for free from Running Safe, or can be collected from the Northampton Road Runners clubhouse in Kingsthorpe.

Northamptonshire Highways, working on behalf of the county council, works with many groups to make the roads safer and to encourage people to choose different ways of getting around and choose healthier lifestyles.

The road safety team works with schools and communities across the county and believes everyone should be able to walk, cycle and run for health and enjoyment, and as a cheap and sustainable travel choice, without their lives being endangered.

For more information follow @nnhighways and @rsnorthants.