This installment in our ongoing Ask BikePortland series tackles a question I’m sure many of you have had. It comes from reader Ian D.
“I was yelled at on Tuesday by a bicyclist who claimed I was doing something illegal by jogging on the street. Was he right?”
I’ve had this experience too, and I have to admit I was mildly frustrated at the person running. I think the feeling stems from the fact that when I’m riding my bike there’s a constant stream of compromises to the space I’m trying to occupy. If there’s no bike lane, not all people in cars are nice about sharing the space. If I’m on the sidewalk (which is legal except for a swath of downtown), than I must defer to people on foot. Even when I’m on a bike lane, there are often delivery trucks and hotel guests who push the limits of the legal exception that allows them to be there.
So, what is the deal with people who use roadway shoulders and bike lanes as jogging tracks?
“The general rule is that when pedestrians proceed along an Oregon highway [which in legal terms means any road], they must walk along either a usable ‘sidewalk’ or, if on a ‘shoulder’, as far as practicable from the roadway edge, facing oncoming (as opposed to overtaking) traffic.”
— Ray Thomas, lawyer
It just so happens that our friend (and faithful supporter) Ray Thomas, a lawyer at Portland firm Swanson, Thomas & Coon, has written extensively on the topic.
In legal terms, someone jogging is the same as a “pedestrian.” That being the case, Thomas (citing ORS 814.070) says that while walkers and joggers rule on the sidewalk, that all changes once they enter the shoulder of a roadway:
“… a pedestrian walking on the shoulder loses the right of way over vehicles that he or she enjoyed on the sidewalk. And if the pedestrian is not walking in an authorized spot and gets hit, the driver [or the person bicycling] will be able to argue in court that the pedestrian violated the law.”
In situations where there isn’t a sidewalk or a shoulder, people on foot are legally required to be “as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway,” says the ORS.
If you are jogging on the actual roadway (which is legally defined as the place that is “designed or exclusively used for vehicular travel”), you must yield the right of way to vehicles — including bicycles.
This was the case in Ian’s situation. He was jogging on NE Alameda (approaching Fremont) where there is no bike lane and he was traveling on the right (with overtaking traffic, although he says he realizes now he should be on the left, against traffic).
To recap, Thomas says,
“the general rule is that when pedestrians proceed along an Oregon highway [which in legal terms means any road], they must walk along either a usable ‘sidewalk’ or, if on a ‘shoulder’, as far as practicable from the roadway edge, facing oncoming (as opposed to overtaking) traffic.”
It doesn’t apply to Ian’s case, but just out of curiousity, we also looked into people jogging and walking on bike lanes. The Oregon Vehicle Code doesn’t specifically mention walking in bike lanes; but since bike lanes are considered part of the roadway, Thomas says the same rules apply to people walking in them as in standard vehicle lanes.
Of course there is Oregon law (which is far from complete when it comes to respecting bicycling and walking as modes of travel), and then there’s common — and even recommended — practice. Thomas points out that while Oregon law technically prohibits walking in bike lanes, the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan not only says the practice is O.K., it includes a photo of an elderly gentleman walking in one (and with traffic no less!)
So, to answer your question Ian: Yes and no. Legally-speaking you shouldn’t have been running in the roadway in that location; but I don’t think it was right for the guy to yell at you about it.
— Have a burning bike question you’d like us to answer? Send it in. Read past questions (and answers provided by our esteemed community of commenters) at our Ask BikePortland page.
Unless the runner was impeding or creating an unsafe situation, I say pass and let it go. I live in this neighborhood and it’s old by Portland standards. Time and trees have tilted the sidewalks in many places and I see a lot of people running in the street to avoid the hazards. I don’t begrudge runners the space as long as they are aware of their surroundings and yield to road users with the right of away.
it’s the responsibility of property owners to maintain the sidewalks in front of their houses. While the removal of a tree, regrading of the area and repouring of concrete is not cheap, it is part of the city code and those who do not are in violation. It is possible to identify such property owners in any neighborhood, and could potentially provide a safe place again for pedestrians that isn’t in the street.
Question so jogging on the opposite side of the road is common? oh on the country roads Ive been bumped as I was rode passed some joggers crazy if you ask me. * but I share the road always * 🙂 cars, joggers,bikes. sometimes no bike lane= trouble for all
IMHO if you were close enough to get ‘bumped’ by joggers on the road, you were passing too close.
I applaud you for even deciphering his jumbled mess of text. I didn’t even know where to start.
Good God. Any biker shouting at a jogger on NE Alameda near Fremont is taking their bike ride way too seriously.
Something about irate drivers yelling at cyclists to get off the road and transitioning to cyclists yelling at pedestrians to get off the road…something something, “trickle down effect” 😛
What’s next? The joggers yelling at people with SUV-sized strollers on the sidewalk then to children riding scooters and push-bikes? This will all end in tears.
(since tone is mono in text form, completely kidding and must be read in a sardonic intonation.) Happy Thursday afternoon!
I know how it goes. I bike alongside a busy street in a bike lane. Off the roadway is a bark-chip path that gets pretty muddy this time of year. With the mud, the runners move out into the bike path.
My only real complaint is that as we approach each other, they always move to the curb-side of the lane (instead of into the car lane), which would require me to move into the car lane. My thought is always, “they can see the traffic behind me and they don’t want to go there. Why would I?”
Anyway, I just pull over to the curb if they don’t give me space and I tell my kids to do the same. Better safe than sorry, but no need to yell at someone over it.
Never understood why joggers run the road with sidewalks to the left and right.
One guy spread his arms on a narrow residential street to prevent me from passing on my bike, while beautiful empty sidewalks languished on either side.
Any joggers tell us why the street is preferable?
though i’m not a jogger myself, several of my friends and i have had this argument many times. most of them say that the pavement of the road tends to be easier on their feet and joints than the concrete sidewalks. i still get annoyed no matter what when i’m squeezed in between a jogger/walker and cars on the road, though. if there’s no sidewalk available, i get it, but if there’s a sidewalk–please please please use it.
road use and pedestrian laws are not designed with good joint health in mind, they’re designed to keep everyone as safe as possible. they need to get on the sidewalk if one is available.
“road use and pedestrian laws are … designed to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
You’re sure about that? I’ll admit I thought those laws were designed to get everyone the hell out of the way of cars so they could get where their drivers want to go, now.
I tend to run on the street for a couple of reasons. First, many of the sidewalks are in poor shape. Tree roots have pushed up many sections, creating tripping hazards. Also, I’m pretty tall, so I’m constantly having to duck for tree branches, etc.
I’m a walker, and I can’t stand many of the sidewalks in my neighborhood. I don’t walk on the street, but if I jogged I probably would, because of all the electric/telephone posts and street signage posts. Walking with someone is like being a sliding puzzle piece. I don’t mind joggers in the road as I bicycle, but I do wish they’d at least attempt to move over a little more in advance.
As a biker and a runner, I understand the frustration. The reason we run on the shoulder and not the sidewalk is twofold. First, when running on the sidewalk it is quite jarring on the knees dropping off of a curb every block. The second reason is that most city streets are made of asphalt which is much more forgiving than the concrete sidewalks which again eases the strain on the knees. When I run and approach a cyclist, I always move onto the grass boulevard to ease the way. I think it is important for all of us to respect that we are human powered and getting some exercise and try to work together to enjoy being outside. Both runners and cyclists have enough hazards and impatient drivers to deal with that we don’t need to exacerbate this situation; we are kindred spirits. That’s my take on it.
I was riding in a bike lane and encountered a jogger in front of me earlier this week. I was a little annoyed because a) it was in a construction zone in which the bike lane is narrowed by orange cones, there’s not much room to pass anyone b) I encountered him on a corner and had no idea he was there, or even to expect him there, luckily I saw him in time to veer around him – didn’t even have time to use my bell or call out c) there is a very wide sidewalk on the other side of the street, empty of people almost all the time and clear of any construction d) he had to have been in the bike lane from very far down the street about a mile down, forcing other cyclists into passing him on a busy trucking route and e) it is illegal for him to be there (in Seattle). But I didn’t yell at him, just shook my head and rode on.
Concurring with JRB’s comment: some sidewalks in Portland are really hazardous, especially in low light. Darn those trees! 😉 Also, asphalt is softer than concrete, so lots of runners prefer running in the road.
Now that I know the law, I’ll be super careful running in the road, knowing that I have yielded my rights.
What about the pedestrians who walk on the roadway at the dead end at Harbor drive and step out from behind the shrubbery into the wide green painted ramp that dumps downhill gliding cycle commuters onto the roadway. Those lazy so-and-sos don’t have enough gumption to just stay on the sidewalk, no they need to jay-walk to save 30 feet walking.
I call them jay walkers when I pass, but I don’t yell.
Major Portland runner here. I put in more miles running through town (~3500 last year) than biking, including commuting by foot eight trips week (bike in Monday morning, and back Friday afternoon).
Here is what makes a good running route: A. No cars, B. Cars that can I can see, and that can see me. While I do as much running as possible away from cars – Waterfront, Springwater, Tabor, Forest Park – it is a necessity to put in some miles on the roads going to and from these destinations. When I do so, and inevitably pass through hundreds of intersections, I want to be out in the open on the roadway. Darting into the street off of, and back onto, the sidewalk is way way way more dangerous, especially on the east side where sidewalks are buffered from the street with parked cars and foliage.
I’ve never been yelled at by a biker, or hit by a car. Much closer to the latter, though I would prefer the former.
And as added bonus: the road is softer, and more consistent, than the sidewalk.
My wife has been yelled at by a guy on a bike (always the same guy) several times on Alameda for running on the side of the road at 6:30 am. Guy obviously has a chip on his shoulder about something. Anyone who complains about it has obviously never tried to run on a sidewalk, which is problematic for all of the reasons cited above.
The “asphalt is softer than concrete” always rings hollow to me. Asphalt is still murder on your joints. Is it less murder than concrete? Probably, but it’s so minute a difference, that using that as your excuse just means that you don’t have a good reason for it.
That being said, if you’re running/jogging in the street, STAY ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD. Never walk/run with traffic, always against it. I remember learning that when I was in grade school. And for god’s sake don’t run down the middle of the road.
It’s not a minute difference at all. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. Concrete is harder than asphalt and over the course of a run all those footfalls add up. Easy to be dismissive when you are rolling on bike tires and not dealing with gravity as a runner does.
Tell the whole gravity part to my twice daily west hills crossing…
An aside, if someone decides to go for a run in ye olde street, can they please not be blasting Slayer? Maybe one earbud out? Thanks!
I give ’em 2 bell rings and then the air horn from at least 5 seconds closing distance.
It works and has gotten consistent results.
The figure I heard is that asphalt is six times softer than concrete. No idea where that came from or if it’s accurate, but on a multiple-mile run or walk there is a huge difference. I have no problem running marathons on asphalt roads, but I would never sign up for a long race on concrete.
fwiw, I run against traffic and move to the sidewalk or shoulder if a bike is coming toward me. I don’t think it’s fair to make bikes move over into a different lane to get past me unless there’s really no room for me to yield. Part of the joy of being a pedestrian is the agility and maneuverability to change terrain and direction as needed!
I grew up running in this neighborhood. Traffic is light and speed limits are low. As others have mentioned, the sidewalks are complete crap. There’s no need to be yelling at joggers in the street. I’m betting this guy was a doucher on a Seven wearing full Liquigas kit preparing for his latest charity “race”.
Everyone knows he’d be riding a Cannondale, as that’s the official bike sponsor of Liquigas, and you wouldn’t want to be caught riding a bike that was different than the one listed on your kit. The horror!
(Nice trolling though – 4/10 for effort but poor execution.)
Some folks who ride bikes are jerks just like some people who drive are jerks, probably some jerky runners out there too. I think that this is kinda like the the guy who gets chewed out by his boss and then goes home and kicks the dog.
Crotchety people annoy me more than joggers in the street.
No kidding! Live and let live people. They aren’t hurting anyone, and are the party held liable of something *does* happen.
There’s a guy that speed walks in that same neighborhood DOWN THE CENTER OF THE STREET. It’s always made for messy passing when there’s cars coming from either direction and I’m also sharing the road. Totally crazy.
I’m more curious about the people that are on a stroll (not even walking briskly) that insist on walking two abreast along NE Skidmore and in the Alameda neighborhood in the street when there’s both a sidewalk on one side and a groomed park path on the other. Seriously, why do you need to be in there in that case?
I hear you on the two abreast walking in the middle of the road thing, don’t get it. I was riding my cruiser heading home from the neighborhood coffee shop on Tillamook, there were 2 ladies taking up the entire road since cars were parked on both sides. I tooted my parrot horn politely to let them know I was behind since I didn’t want to scare them by hollering out “behind you!”. The one on the left moved to the side and acted surprised and said something I couldn’t make out, then scolded me loudly with “Use your words!” like I had done something wrong. Sigh, whatryagonnado.
I pass an older couple most every morning on northbound Oatfield. They walk against traffic and wear reflective vests. The sidewalk disappears at times and they walk in the bike lane. We both make small adjustments: they scrunch toward the side of the roadway and I ride the white line. Perfect!
Then there are the pedestrians walking with traffic, in the dark, with no reflective clothing. Ugh. Of course, I also often pass slow-moving cyclists in dark clothing and without lights or reflectors who are essentially posing the same obstacle.
Sidewalks as the designated place for people walking are as far as I know derivative of the desire on the part of automobilists to drive fast in the road. Before cars everyone walked, biked, rode their donkey in the road, at least as far as I know.
It’s just “The Movies”, but there’s a lot of sidewalks (wooden) in Westerns. I think while the donkeys and wagons were in the street, the peds built themselves a place out of the mud. Long before cars.
I suspect you are right that sidewalks preexist cars, but the distinction I was trying to make was that sidewalks as reservations probably postdates the arrival of the motor car.
There are plenty of sidewalks in old photos that predate cars. I think it was a desire of pedestrians to stay out of the mud. But I get your point.
I don’t know about in the eastern cities, but it rural towns and in the west, sidewalks were provided as a convenience for pedestrians accessing businesses. The street / road was for all modes (walking, horse, buggy, and eventually bicycle).
I have encountered joggers in the bike lane on Interstate at rush hour. Similar to another commenter’s experience, this person was running against traffic, which I appreciate, but remained on the curb, forcing me into traffic. That bike lane often feels inadequate for the speed people drive, and I feel that joggers should either stay out of bike lanes or run in the road and ask the cars, not the bikes, to stop or get out of their way while they jog past. However, I do feel that if it is not a bike lane, and it is a relatively low volume street, then their should be expectation from bikes and cars to share that space. I like the advice given above, and in the future I will wait at the curb while the runner moves around me and into traffic.
Isn’t the answer here the same one that we cyclists so often preach AND ask for? “Share the road.”
I ride way more than run, but when I run, especially in neighborhoods like Irvington that have wide, lightly traveled streets, I tend to jog in the road rather than the sidewalk. But I would probably try to avoid running on a bike boulevard.
Yelling at a jogger seems rude regardless. Unless pedestrians are intentionally getting in my way (like crossing against the light when I’m coming through), I regard them as people I should be courting to my side.
I had no idea you were supposed to walk against traffic. I remember this recommendation changed a few times when I was a kid. Does this rule differ from state to state?
I grew up in California and was always taught to walk against traffic…
Agreed. It’s astounding how the tables are turned when cyclists are no longer the vulnerable user. Cars and bikes? Bikers are all about being the vulnerable road user. Bikes and foot traffic? Bikers are all about rule books and “get outta my space.”
Except that pedestrians have a designated space built just for them: sidewalks. Bikes are vehicles and belong on the road.
Like I said, poindexter’ish desire to whip out rule books….I’m curious how you’d feel about the rule books being whipped out for every little thing bikers do or don’t do.
Crybabies! It’s people that suck, not runners. I cycle everywhere and run regularly. Courteous people will give you the right-of-way. The reason that I stay curb-side when an opposing cyclist is passing is that they can (and always have, in my experience) check behind themselves for traffic. As a courteous runner, I’m also looking ahead, and if they can’t safely move further into the road due to traffic, I move aside. However, if you don’t have the skill to look back, a runner is the least of your worries.
Try to educate people (because they are PEOPLE) instead of yelling at them. And, perhaps you will find out that it is you that needed an education.
I hear you crybabies all the time, but most people don’t ever confront/educate anybody rationally. Grow a pair [of ovaries]!
If you’re ignoring the sidewalk & running or walking in the bike lane, you’re forcing me to sacrifice some of my safety when I have to move into the next lane in order to pass you.
The important thing is to be rational, don’t provoke an angry confrontation, and try to get the pedestrian to see the cyclist’s perspective. And vice versa. I’m a former runner and I understand broken & unsafe sidewalks, but I’d look for another route to run if at all possible.
imo, the runner or pedestrian always has right of way…whenever or where-ever. people do risky things as pedestrians all the time and it is our RESPONSIBILITY as cyclists not to hit or injure them!
I just don’t like it if runners wear all black and run with head phones…
Yeah, probably because they are good friends with “those” bicycles who run every stop sign at reckless speeds.
When I do drive in our neighborhood there are lots of joggers in the street that force you into the other lane. Why should I have to risk driving on the wrong side of the road when the joggers could simply use the sidewalk?
Often times they have strollers and aren’t even running.
so is this another instance in which the entire bike “community” is supposed to take responsibility for the actions of one person on a bike?
I agree it’s hilarious hearing other modes complain as much as we do…
but yeah, get out of the road if there’s a sidewalk… sorry you don’t want to pay enough attention to dodge bumps and branches…
reminds me of people that park up on curbs to prevent other cars from sideswiping them… they’re enabling people to drive fast and not pay attention…
I don’t want to enable joggers to go fast without paying attention…
can’t be seen when you’re crossing the street at the crosswalk so you like to stay in the street? too bad, you’re not supposed to be crossing streets and driveways faster than a walking speed…
wah, so sorry you don’t want to slow down…
we can’t all be in the center of the street where it’s wide open and smooth…
Except runners don’t complain. They just do it.
They don’t ask for special infrastructure or create lobbying groups, they just go out and run.
I am a runner and a cyclist. Taking both of my experiences into account I have no problem with people running in the street, in fact I kind of rather love the fact that people are blurring who’s territory is what and ever so subtly reclaiming space which is often assumed to be for high speed automobiles. Shared space anyone?
Sidewalks are largely a joke for runners (or stroller pushers), it’s the equivalent of expecting cyclists to bike in the gutter lane. Too many obstacles, driveway issues, insufficient width, low-hanging trees, cracks….
What makes me cringe as a cyclist are people who obliviously and needlessly block bicycle infrastructure. For example, if runners have enough width to run two abreast on a pedestrian path, why are they spread out so that one is in the pedestrian path and the other is in the bike path? I sometimes wonder how far would they spread out if they could?
Bottom line for me– be considerate, whatever you’re doing, especially if you’re using space designated for other purposes. Don’t be oblivious.
Bike Lane defined: a portion of a roadway that has been designated for preferential or exclusive use by bicyclists by pavement markings and, if used, signs. MUTCD 2009, Section 1A.13 http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part1/part1a.htm
end the mandatory side path law and sidewalk laws!
here’s how our transportation system works:
motor vehicles get the lions share of everything
cyclists, pedestrians, joggers, unicyclists and everyone else has to fight over the left-overs
It’s not “right” to yell at anyone on the road, that’s called “road rage.” …or more specifically in this case, “self-righteous Portlandia cyclist road rage” tweet tweet!!!! biker coming through!!!!!
Those little bike bells really spout out a lot of hate also, ding ding, get out of my way, coming through if you like it or not
“coming through” tells the meandering pedestrian (who is blissfully unaware that bikes are approaching) or the dog-walker not to suddenly move into my path. its also far more effective than:
“on your left…AAAAAAAHHHH…i meant on your other left!”
One more opinion from someone who bikes and runs a lot … I frequently run in the street or bike lane, typically against traffic. Sidewalks are uneven, narrow, and often have people out strolling. They are ok for walking speed, but not running speed. Unlike DavidG above — when I’m on my bike and encounter an oncoming walker or runner I want them to stay by the curb, not move toward traffic. They are a pedestrian and I’m traffic — I want the road. I ride with a mirror so it’s no problem checking that I can move left and give them room.
It’s all about sharing the road, courteous road use and mitigating hazards.
It is reasonable to accept that running on the sidewalk can be as cumulatively dangerous as cycling on the same side walk. Poor sightlines, rough surfaces and driveway crossings present roughly the same level of harm to either user.
The inequity comes when joggers, runners or sleep walking stroller mommies refuse to share the bike lane with BIKES.
This puts the cyclist in the position of swerving out of the bike lane and in to automotive traffic. This has the bad aftertaste of runners trading a small hazard forcing cyclists to accpet the larger automotive hazard.
No amount of name calling or denigrating cyclists concerned with their own safety makes this concern any less valid.
Squeezed between the unstoppable force of traffic and the immovable objections of pedestrian users of bike lanes that refuse to share cyclists have no safe refuge from harm.
Cyclists need to stop yelling at non-cars so much in general. My third day back on my bike commute after having a baby, some jerk at the overcrowded Hawthorne bridge entrance yelled at me for yielding to a bus with its yield blinker on. I was really upset about it, and I drove for the next two weeks. Shortly after I got back on my bike, a different jerk at the same intersection yelled at another gal on a rickety bike who wasn’t going fast enough for him. Yes, it’s crowded and scary and it sucks. We need better infrastructure, not fewer bikes and pedestrians. So less yelling would be excellent.
I’m hoping the new TriMet bridge by Omsi might help take some of the load off of the Hawthorne during the busy months.
I always give bus drivers the right of way when they turn on the blinkers, esp. approaching the Hawthorne bridge. I’d much rather have a bus on the road than the equivalent of its ridership in automobiles. I have plenty of opportunity along my commute to go as fast as my legs will pedal; being delayed five or six seconds just isn’t that big a deal.
Ditto for slow-moving cyclists heading onto the bridge. I’m just glad they’re riding. My life isn’t so important that I can’t wait a half minute until there’s a passing lane.
Sidewalks were improvements provided for pedestrians to get them out of the mud. Businesses provided them – often at the insistence of local government – but they weren’t built with public $$$ and were only along the front of businesses in the business district. Side roads had no facilities for walking. Banning people from walking in the street is part of car dominance.
People who can’t deal with conflicts such as this with out writing to blogs or on-line forums should probably just live in a cave.
Why? It’s a legitimate question, and this is a good place to ask it.
From the responses, there’s a number of people who were not aware of Oregon’s law requiring pedestrians to use a sidewalk if there is one available. Similarly, people were not aware that the law requires pedestrians to walk against traffic, not with traffic. And most important, a lot of people probably weren’t aware that they are giving up their right of way as pedestrians when they walk or run in the road when there’s a sidewalk adjacent.
Isn’t education one of the functions of this blog?
Does the Oregon law re:pedestrians in this case apply to all roadways in Oregon or only to state highways? It makes sense to me on busy streets but on neighborhood streets I think streets should belong to people. More people in the streets and more kids playing basketball in the street would be GOOD.
I was driving my car the other day and there was this guy riding his bike right out in the road! And there was a sidewalk/bikepath right next to the road. What a jerk! So I yelled at him….get off the road!! (OK, this didn’t really happen – I was on my bike and the guy was running – but there’s not much difference.)
Well, to add another thought:
Why do we pay tax dollars for sidewalks that people don’t want to use?
Why do we pay tax dollars for bark-chip running paths that people don’t want to use?
Why do we pay tax dollars for bike lanes when people continue to swerve out of them into car lanes or ride two-abreast, with one of the bicyclists in the car lane?
If we don’t use the facilities provided for us, how can we expect people to pay for and maintain them? Are we wasting our money on attempts to provide bike/pedestrian facilities that aren’t wanted?
As BURR and a few others have alluded to above, this is the result of a priority problem:
Most road users have become used to having some kind of space that is prioritized for their use. Sometimes, the space prioritized for a particular use is missing or unsuitable for that use, forcing that class of user onto whatever space does exist, creating a conflict with the class of user onto whose priority space they are encroaching. The only kind of space that is almost never missing is “car” space.
I encounter people walking or jogging in the bike lanes I use all the time. If I look farther to the side of the road, I can easily see that there is no usable “pedestrian” space for them to use, so I don’t get too upset about it. Besides, if I really think about it, how is yelling at a jogger in the road any different from some driver yelling at me for taking the lane at an intersection to avoid right hooks, or to prepare for a left turn, etc., when there is a “perfectly good” bike lane feet away?
I run on the sidewalk because when I am on foot that is where I belong. Hard pavement, soft pavement, it doesn’t matter. If you are on foot you do not belong in the street impeding traffic. I find it laughable to assert that you are such a fine-tuned, precise, delicate running machine that you cannot deal with trees, cracks, curbs, driveways and other people. Those things keep you alert and enhance the variety of your running experience.
Besides, when I run on the sidewalk I can run part of the time on grassy parking strips and lawns, which is easier on the joints.
What drives me crazy is people running/ walking head on at you on the wrong side of the street. In the street.
Not smart people…
I know we were trained in elementary school way back when (70’s) to go against the flow of traffic, but it has been proven to not be the right thing to do.
Where is this proof? I agree it is not smart to always run against traffic into blind curves, but where is your proof of the “right thing to do”?
The sidewalks in much of Portland really are a mess for all the reasons described, so I completely understand runners taking to the streets instead. If I tried running on the sidewalks of my neighborhood (Sellwood), it would only be a matter of time before I took a nasty tumble tripping over a section of broken concrete.
Whether or not runners belong there legally, I feel as citizens we have a responsibility to share the roadways and make safe choices. When I’m biking, the safe choice is to be hyper-aware of my surroundings and give plenty of passing room to anyone I’m passing. This is especially true of pedestrians, who in my experience are the most unpredictable “vehicles” on the road. Primarily for my own safety, I always give walkers and runners a wide berth. If it’s not safe enough to pass, I ring my bell or sometimes I just wait. It isn’t that hard really, and as other posters have pointed out, it’s the same sort of courtesy we expect from our four-wheeled friends.
As a non-runner I have a hard time understanding what’s so hard about running on the sidewalk. But in the interest of not judging those in whose shoes I haven’t walked (er, run) a mile, I’ll try not to judge.
Actual runners, anyway. But I also see lots of people WALKING in the street when there’s a perfectly decent sidewalk a few feet away. What is that about? Often making bikes and/or cars stop if they meet another car coming the opposite way, and often walking on the right, completely oblivious to what’s going on.
If you MUST run (or … ack … walk) in the street, please at least have the courtesy to stay on the left side. Not that I’m going to yell at you, because I’m not, but it really does work better that way.
That especially goes for walking in bike lanes. I encounter this a LOT in sidewalk-challenged SW Portland, biking home from Beaverton. Long stretches of Multnomah Blvd and Beaverton-Hillsdale have bike lanes but no sidewalks, so people walk the only place they can. Fortunately, most have the courtesy to walk on the left and also to yield to oncoming cyclists, and conflicts seem rare.
Can’t we all just get along???
Thanks everyone for the great comments and discussion. I think many people learned a lot from this thread but I think it has run its course so I’m closing it.