Let me begin my rant with a disclaimer:
I am a runner. After a long winter of being confined to running indoors on treadmill the urge to be one with the Earth, and feel nature, is irresistibly strong. You walk out the door, MP3 player ready for the latest motivating playlist, GPS training device primed and ready to record the activity for the day, cool air fills your lungs, and off you go. You are filled with an energy you haven’t felt since the previous season.
With that having been said, I understand the desire to get in an early morning run. I understand that in some cases the particular course you’ve chosen to follow that day may lead you to areas where running the street will be necessary. Most know that when running in the street you run as relatively close to the curb, and on the opposite side of the road; against the flow of traffic so you can see on-going vehicles.
There are street runners in my neighborhood all of the time. There are times where it’s more than obvious being in the street is a choice; while others it is a matter of necessity. My housing area was built in the early 1950’s. On most streets there’s only a sidewalk on one side, and on some there are none.
Now, to me, common sense would indicate that even if you’re on the proper side of the road, when you encounter an on-coming vehicle you move as close to the curb as possible, if not even the grass until said vehicle has passed. This helps with safe passage for yourself and the car.
On the way to the store early this morning I turned down a main thoroughfare and saw about 50 yards ahead of me a group of 5 runners out for an early morning workout. Given that it was just after 7am I can recognize the reasoning that there aren’t many people driving about yet so running side-by-side would be safe.
However, one would think that this group would have formed a single file line when seeing a car approach.
They certainly made a fool of me. As I drew closer they didn’t move.
They just kept on running straight ahead, side-by-side, 5 people across from curb to the center line of the road. What was the result? I had to drive in the entirely opposite lane to continue on my way.
Does that make any sense to you? Imagine if another car would have been coming in the other direction. If this running group would have continued in their 5-wide formation I would have had to come to a complete stop. In the world I like to call Rational Thinking World, wouldn’t have it made better sense for them to form a single file line on the curb? This would mean that they could keep on moving, the other car could keep on moving, and even I could keep on moving.
Rational…right? It’s efficient.
Here’s the deal Street Runners. You can keep running in the street. When you do please remember to be safe, be courteous, and remember to follow the rules when faced with oncoming traffic. Above all else remember this one thing:
Streets were made for vehicles, move your ass to the curb.
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