Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Near-Blind Runner Reaches Accord on Street Workouts; St. Charles Neighbors Expressed Concern over Potential Accidents

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Near-Blind Runner Reaches Accord on Street Workouts; St. Charles Neighbors Expressed Concern over Potential Accidents

Article excerpt

ST. CHARLES - Marathon runner Dennis Atkins says his daily jogs on streets in his subdivision provide a sense of independence despite a worsening retina disease that has left him nearly blind.

But his exercise routine spurred complaints from some nearby residents worried about the potential for a vehicle running into Atkins or vice versa.

Atkins, 57, and others hope that the flap has been solved by a compromise reached at a residents meeting held recently by Mayor Sally Faith, who said police had received complaints about the issue over the last three years or so.

"It's a very unusual situation," Faith said.

Asked if he is taking a risk, Atkins said, "there's always a possibility of danger, but I've been running with this eye disease for 33 years and I do everything I can to avoid getting injured."

He said he's bumped into two parked vehicles in the past 5 1/2 years but wasn't injured.

Atkins, who can see only shadows of objects and differentiate between light and dark, used to run down the middle of streets in the Hollow Brook subdivision, near Highway 94 and Zumbehl Road. He guided himself by focusing on black-line expansion joints.

Now he has agreed to instead stay close to street sides where parking already was prohibited, concentrating his eyes on where the grass meets the curb.

Atkins also promised to wear bright-colored clothing and to stick to less-traveled streets in the subdivision. Moreover, he no longer uses a hands-free cellphone while running. Some people, he said, mistakenly thought that made him less likely to hear approaching cars.

Meanwhile, the city will erect a "No Outlet" sign at the subdivision entrance to ward off drivers who may incorrectly think they can cut through the neighborhood and a sign or signs alerting drivers to watch out for a visually impaired person.

Faith also is asking the City Council to reduce the subdivision speed limit to 20 mph from 25.

His new running regime is "going pretty well," Atkins said. "I've got a new spirit of peace."

Atkins said about 10 residents had raised concerns about his mid- street running while others didn't mind.

Sandi Bohler, who was among those concerned about possible accidents, said she also hoped that the issue had been resolved. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.