The subject of this article is safety awareness for pedestrians and drivers at the crosswalk near the intersection of Melton Lake Greenway and Emory Valley Road Greenway (pictured at left), which I have dubbed the “Death Zone.”
To establish some credibility on the subject, I’ll note that I’ve been running competitively for 34 years, running nearly 75,000 miles, placing in all race distances and age categories. I’m also a board member of the Oak Ridge Track Club, an organization dedicated to promoting fitness through safe running and road racing in the Oak Ridge community.
Running as much as I do, and traveling as much as I do, I find myself at the subject intersection almost daily, as well as many other intersections throughout Oak Ridge, Knoxville, and the United States in general. With this running experience, I am keenly aware of the importance of running safely, and I advocate safety while running above all other interests. After all, if I don’t get home alive, my run wasn’t very successful at improving my health, right? Although an experienced runner, I have no legal experience, so I speak only as an educated layman on the legal aspects of Tennessee pedestrian law.
With regard to the “Death Zone,” a few weeks ago I came the closest to being killed by a vehicle while running than ever before—that is, other than the deliberate attempts by drivers to kill me while I’m running, which could easily be the subject of my first book. This near-death experience occurred because of three key factors, some of which are unique to this crosswalk, while others are universally applicable: