Thirteen Tips for Drivers, Runners & Bicyclists
This is a topic that keeps coming up and I just never take the time to write about. I often run on roads, not by choice necessarily, but in this town, sidewalks are scarce. At least compared to Vegas. And where there are sidewalks, there isn’t a guarantee that they aren’t going to just randomly stop and then maybe 1/2 mile down the road start again. Maybe. The city planners here should be shot. Or publically ridiculed. Thankfully, being a college town, there are bike lanes, but that still puts me on the road. There have been a few too many close calls with cars and bikes, so I decided to finally sit down and write some rants…err, tips.
1. Runners, let’s start with us. If at all possible, run on sidewalks, paths or trails. This reduces the risk of being hit, immensely. And follow the darn crosswalk hands. And use crosswalks. They exist for a reason.
2. Runner’s, if you must run on the roads, ALWAYS run against traffic and as far to the side of the road as possible. You will NOT win against a 2000+ pound vehicle and you need to see what is coming at you.
3. Runner’s, wear brightly colored clothing, so you can easily be seen. And for heaven’s sake, if you run at dusk, dawn or night, wear something reflective and not all black. Drivers cannot respond if they can’t see you in time.
4. Runners, be aware of your presence and surroundings. Take out the headphones or only run with one. You need to be able to see AND hear what is going on around you.
5. Bicyclists, your turn. If there are bike lanes, stay off the freaking sidewalks (unless the path/trail is designated multi-use). You get your own special lane, use it.
6. Bicyclists, you are considered a moving vehicle, so ride WITH the traffic on the road. And adhere to the traffic rules. Stop at stop signs and make your intentions known. As a driver AND runner, I cannot safely accommodate you if I have no clue what you plan to do.
7. Bicyclists, if you need to pass a runner, give them room. Being clipped by a bicycle pedal is no fun. Ask me how I know that!? If you want that courtesy from drivers, also give it to runners. You are bigger and faster than us.
8. Runners, on a similar note, if you are sharing a narrow path/trail with bicyclists, step off when they need to pass. This ensures both their safety and yours.
9. Bicyclists, the same tips on clothing a visibility apply to you too. Make yourself visible.
10. Ah, drivers. I could talk for hours. Let’s start with you following road rules. Stop at stop signs, pay attention to crosswalks and who has the right of way. Oh, and while we are at it, slow down. A life is not worth the 1 minute you might save.
11. Drivers, when passing runners and bicyclists on the road, move away from them as far as safely possible. Law in most states is 3 feet, but extra is always much appreciated.
12. Drivers put the stupid phone down. Do your make up at home. Swat the kids later. It can wait.
13. Last but not least, practice basic courtesy and kindness. The world would be a much better AND safer place if we did.