• 52°

Be safe while walking, running and or biking

Everyone needs a little sunshine and fresh air even when there is no sheltering in place or social distancing orders.

Therefore, aside from a few stormy days, the recent weather in Vicksburg has been perfect to enjoy the outdoors.

Its evident many are taking advantage of the mild temperatures as seen with all the walkers, runners, and bikers, be it kids or kids at heart.

But remember, although these activities are fun, heart-friendly and relatively harmless, there are safety guidelines that should be followed.

“We encourage everyone to wear the proper safety gear, bike helmets, and reflective clothing and vests as much as possible,” Deputy Chief of Police Bobby Stewart said.

Also, light-colored clothing, as opposed to dark clothing, should be worn.

For walkers and runners, Stewart said, remember to always walk against the flow of traffic, and if there is a sidewalk, use it.

Folks who walk or jog in a neighborhood are also encouraged to cross at intersections or at a corner. “Don’t jaywalk,” Stewart said.

When walking, pedestrians do have the right of way, Stewart said, when there is a traffic control device or a properly marked crosswalk, but it is still prudent to yield to the traffic.

Many people walk and run with their cell phones, so when in use, Stewart said to make sure the volume is not set so loud you can’t hear people behind you or a horn blow.

“Have it where you can still hear what is going on around you,” he said.

Since May is National Bike Month, this is all the more reason for bike riders to demonstrate safety guidelines.

Under the Mississippi code, Stewart said, if bike riders are traveling on a public road, they have the same rights as every motorist. Meaning they are required to adhere to all the traffic control devices such as stop signs and red lights.

Bike riders are to ride with the flow of traffic, “preferably to the far right-hand side of the road,” Stewart said, and use hand signals when turning.

“And if they are going to be on public thoroughfares like the sidewalks or roadways, everyone needs to wear a helmet. It is a matter of safety,” he said.

Furthermore, while distancing orders are still in place, Stewart said to remain six feet apart when walking unless you are with a family member.

According to runcoach.com, additional safety tips for walkers and runners include telling someone where you are going; have water; when possible, go with a buddy and leave a trail.

“Not literally like Hansel and Gretel,” the website stated, but GPS enabled devices can indicate a location if you are unable to.

To enhance the safety of young bike riders, safekids.org stresses the use of helmets.

“It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes,” the website stated.

Other safety tips on the website include selecting the right size bike for the child; actively supervising children until you are comfortable they can ride on their own and modeling proper behavior.

“Wear a helmet, even if you didn’t when you were a kid.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart