This Should Be Against the Law for Dog Walkers in Massachusetts
The days are getting shorter as fall in New England sets in and we all know what that means. Winter is right around the corner, which means soon it will be dark right after lunch. Ok, maybe that's slightly dramatic, but seriously, the days you need your headlights on by 5 p.m. are on the horizon.
The earlier sunset can mean a lot of changes in our daily routines and can make simple everyday activities a little more complicated, like your commute home from work. Something that drives me nuts year-round, is when people are out for a walk in the dark and wear all-black clothing with zero lights or reflectors.
As a runner and dog walker myself, I'm on the road pretty often. I completely understand that it's the driver's job to be aware and share the road with pedestrians, but if you are on the roadways or sidewalks after dark or before dawn, by all means, help drivers out and protect yourself at the same time!
In fact, I think there should be state guidelines surrounding this issue. I know there are already so many laws and regulations in place in Massachusetts, but when it comes to preventing accident injuries or worse, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Every time I go out for a run or take my dog out on a walk, I bring a lightweight handheld flashlight and attach reflective tags to my dog's collar.
If someone is out on public roadways after dark, whether they be a walker, runner, bicyclist or whatever, you should have to wear bright or reflective clothing or carry a light. To the people who walk outside at dusk or later, if you're wearing all black, YOU ARE NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE!
They make so many attachable or hand-held lights and reflectors these days, there's really no reason not to have one. Or just carry a regular old flashlight. Not only are you keeping yourself safe, but you're also helping out drivers. Motorists who accidentally injure or kill someone suffer from the trauma of the incident as well. I'm saying this excuses negligence, but just simply makes the roads safer for all involved.
There is a woman who I drive past almost every morning on my way to work (when it's pitch black year-round, oh the glamourous life of a morning radio show host) and she walks her dog a dimly lit street, but always wears reflectors and has them on her dog as well. As soon as I turn the corner on the road, I immediately see them, slow down and give them ample space. It's what we should all be doing.