Safety Gear for Runners

You’re finishing your final mile when a distracted driver rounds the bend. Do you have the proper running gear to prevent your morning jog from becoming a tragedy? In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians died and 70,000 were injured in traffic incidents. That includes everyone on foot—from runners to hikers to walkers. In order to keep yourself safe while exercising outdoors, we’ve found the best medical ID bracelets, lights, and reflective gear for runners. Take a look to see how you can improve your safety while you’re running on the road.

The Prizm LED Vest

You Saw Me

List price: $59.99

Find it on YouSawMe.com

People will see you coming when you wear this light-up safety vest—up to one mile away. That’s because this vest features 36 sewn-in LED running lights with 20 different color options and eight brightness levels. The vest itself is made entirely of reflective material which makes it more visible to drivers too. Runners, walkers, and bikers can enjoy the safety that this lightweight, water-resistant vest brings to your exercise routine.

Pros:

  • One-Mile Visibility. When this vest is lit, people can see you from one mile away. 
  • Price. This vest is $59.99. Other safety gear is easily twice this price.
  • One-Size Fits All. An adjustable strap makes it possible to fit different sized runners.
  • Lighting Options. Choose from 20 different colors, eight brightness levels, and different flashing patterns for better visibility.
  • Waterproof. LED lights are covered by a reflective material, so it’s okay to go out running, walking, or biking in the rain.
  • Long-Lasting Batteries. The batteries that come with this vest last 50+ hours. You can also purchase rechargeable batteries.
  • Storage. This Prizm has a velcro front pocket in the center of the vest to distribute weight evenly. You can put your keys, ID, and phone in there.
  • Lightweight. At only 11oz, it’s a barely there safety measure that won’t negatively affect your workout.
  • More Options. You can purchase other types of vests from the company to suit your style.

Cons:

  • Design. This isn’t the most stylish vest, but it is functional.

Nathan Light Spur


List price: $20

Find it on Amazon

Most sneakers come with reflective elements. However, you can enhance your visibility and improve your safety with these LED shoe spurs. Designed to clip onto your heel, these spurs fit runners of all sizes and can be worn for night running. You can set the LED lights to blink like a strobe light or maintain a solid light. Don’t shy away from wearing these in wet weather. The engineering includes waterproofing.

Pros:

  • Cheap. Bring this safety device home for $20.
  • Lightweight. Clip these spurs onto your shoes and forget they’re there.
  • Waterproof. Run through puddles and the rain without worry.

Cons:

  • Not Rechargeable. You’ll need to replace these batteries when they die.

Road ID

List price: $27.99

Find it on Amazon

If you are hurt while running, will people be able to identify you? A medical armband or bracelet addresses this issue. With Road ID, you can get a custom, engraved bracelet with your name, address, phone number, and emergency contact. That way, if you’re unconscious and need to go to the hospital, doctors and EMTs can get the information they need to alert your loved ones. It’s also a permanent design, so it won’t get crumpled or damaged like paper versions.

Pros:

  • Engraveable. This bracelet goes beyond a simple piece of paper slipped into a pouch. Your information will be engraved on a piece of metal, so it’s much more durable.
  • Colors. Choose from 20 wristband colors and two faceplate styles.
  • Customizable. Add a personalized “badge” like a football or mustache to personalize your ID band.
  • Fits Multiple Ways. You can choose a band for your wrist, neck, FitBit, shoe, or ankle.
  • Ranging Prices. Choose a slim version for $19.99, more substantial options for $39.99, or a model that’s in between.

Cons:

  • Permanent. If you move or if your information changes, you’ll need to get a new bracelet.

Nite BeamsTM Leg and Arm Bands

 

Night Beams

List price: $25

Find it on NightBeams.com

Maintain your visibility while you run with these VelcroTM arm and leg bands. For the best results, you should wear one on each extremity, since you never know which direction a car will come from. With four bands, you’ll be visible from one half mile away. With one, that will decrease to one quarter mile. Made of waterproof yet washable material, this is a durable and convenient safety option for runners.

Pros:

  • Colors. Choose from red, white, blue, pink, green or orange LED lights.
  • Long Battery. These last up to 80 hours.
  • Size Options. Each band is adjustable up to four inches plus they come in small, medium, and large.
  • Durable. These are made out of washable material that’s waterproof.
  • Flashing Options. Choose from flashing LED options or a steady light.

Cons:

  • Shorter Visibility Range. You’ll need to wear a band on both of your arms and legs to be seen from one half mile away. If you only wear one, you’ll only be able to be seen from one quarter mile away. Other models like Prizm can be seen from double that distance.
  • Not Rechargeable. You’ll need to replace batteries.
  • Pricey. One band is only $25, but for optimal safety you’ll need four. This makes it more expensive than a reflective vest.

TIKKA® RXP

List price: $99

Find it on Amazon

If you already have reflective gear on your body, don’t forget about your head. The TIKKA RXP headlamp will not only make you obvious to drivers, but it will light your way too. It’s also very advanced. This particular model comes with “reactive lighting,” so it’ll adjust its beam to accommodate ambient light. It’s some of the best night running gear you can incorporate for enhanced safety.

Pros:

  • Smart. The “reactive lighting” will adjust the beam’s brightness in changing light to preserve battery. You can also change this to “constant lighting” to ensure a steady beam throughout your run.
  • Beam Customization. Change this from wide to focused depending on where you’re running.
  • Added Safety. You’ll be visible to drivers and will be able to see your footing better—keeping you safe from injury.
  • Rechargeable. You can recharge this device, so you won’t need to replace batteries.
  • Washable. You can wash the headband, so it’s okay to get sweaty.

Cons:

  • Expensive. This costs $99.
  • Not As Bright From Behind. Cars will see this like a headlight if they’re heading straight toward you. However, if you’re going the other way the light won’t be as bright.

Zephyr Fire 300 Hand Torch

List price:

Find it on Amazon

Light your way with the Zephyr Fire 300 hand torch. You can slip it over your wrist for a grip-free mount and allow its angled light to illuminate the path in front of you. Unlike other reflective vests and lights, this torch has a built-in siren you can sound if you get into trouble. While it doesn’t have the reach of other devices, it makes up for it in brightness.

Pros:

  • Bright. This hand torch is brighter than headlamps at 359 lumens.
  • Weather-Resistant. You can run with this in the rain without worrying about it breaking.
  • Rechargeable. Plug this in to charge instead of changing batteries.
  • Angled Light. This device is built to angle light downward to illuminate your path.
  • Four Light Modes. Choose from flashing options or a steady light.
  • Built-In Siren. If you’re in trouble, this flashlight also acts as a siren.

Cons:

  • Not Hands-Free. This has a hand, strap so you don’t have to grip it, but if you fall and need your hands, it’ll get in the way.
  • Low Battery Time. This lasts three to six hours depending on brightness.
  • Short Distance. The light only extends 341 feet compared to other lights that reach up to one mile.

Safe Running Tips

Now that you know about the best safety products out there for runners, you should freshen up on tips too.

  • Don’t blast your music.
    Being able to hear your surroundings is important while you’re running. If your headphones are blasting, you won’t hear a car swerving toward you or someone sneaking up from behind. From 2004 to 2011, the amount of pedestrians seriously injured while wearing headphones went up 300%. Of those hurt, 70% were killed. If you have to listen to music while you exercise, try keeping one earbud out, or keep volumes low enough so you can hear what’s happening around you.
  • Tell someone where you’re going.
    No matter if you’re running around the neighborhood or on a mountain trail, you should tell someone where you’re going. If you don’t come back, they’ll know to alert the authorities or go looking for you. Whether you don’t come back because you sprained an ankle or something worse, you’ll want someone to know where you are so they can help.
  • Wear Safety Devices.
    It takes an average person traveling 55 mph on a dry, sunny day 279.5 feet to come to a complete stop after seeing something in the road. Compound that with darkness, bad weather, or a distracted driver and it can take even longer. Since most reflective devices give you at least 300 feet of visibility, you can help drivers see you earlier to avoid a terrible accident. Make sure you wear some sort of reflective or light-up gear to keep yourself safer while running.
  • Wear Reflective Clothing Too.
    If you’re running at night, don’t do it in all black. If you can, incorporate reflective pieces to complement your LED vests and other running safety gear. Choose bright colors that will easily be spotted in the headlights of cars. While less is more in some cases, it’s not when it comes to safety.

Running is a great activity that can blow off stress and help keep you healthy. Just make sure you do it with the proper safety gear. Reflective vests and medical IDs can alert drivers of your presence on the road and get you help if you ever need it.

Are you an avid runner? Share your safety tips in the comments section below.

Written by Caroline Maurer

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