How Planet Fitness Made Running Dangerous

I’ve been running for years — almost always before dawn and on the road. I’d never see many cars along my route, and when one did approach I turned on my headlamp so they would notice me. Some mornings, out along the road at 5am, you wouldn’t pass a single car.

Then everything changed.

Suddenly there was a steady stream of traffic between 5am ands 6am. I wondered where they all came from — but soon realized that it wasn’t where they came from, but where they were going: Planet Fitness.

The populist mega-gym moved from the other side of town to a grand new location — and brought with it a throng of early morning exercisers. Suddenly there was an influx of vehicles — not exactly like rush hour, but by 5am standards it felt like the Northway.

The interesting thing is that these people seem less mindful of a pedestrian on the side of the road. In the past almost every car would give me some leeway when they saw my light and reflective vest. Now? Not so much. These people on their way to exercise can’t be bothered with… someone exercising.

This is a great example of how a tiny change can alter traffic patterns. It’s just one more of a hundred things that have made where I live more crowded and hectic. I used to see deer and hear the turkeys off in the field before dawn. Now there are just more cars.

4 Responses to How Planet Fitness Made Running Dangerous

  1. That’s what you get for exercising.

    Just teasing. As a frequent walker, I notice too that drivers couldn’t care less about my safety. Between passing me with about 1 foot of clear space between us and completely ignoring the fact that I am crossing a road, it sometimes feels like life & death.

    • I actually feel safer early in the morning darkness. There are less cars — even with the Planet Fitness effect — and peple seem to notice me more readily. Since 1994, I’ve only had to leap off the road a handful of times.

  2. Planet Fitness – Is that where Mercury and Jupiter turn all the earthly divas into Venuses?

    BTW – thanks for moving the traffic from my neighborhood to yours.

    • Indeed! That place is crazy busy — particularly in the afternoon. It must have been a madhouse when it was on Hudson Ave.

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