Friday, September 23, 2016

Etiquette For Runners: Do You Run Facing Traffic?

The Road Runners Club of America has a list of "Etiquette For Runners" that I want to share with you today. This list applies to both road and trails.
  • Run against traffic if running on the road. If running on the sidewalk or multi-use trails, travel on the right and pass on the left.
  • Never run more than two abreast if you are running in a group. Don’t be a road or trail hog.
  • Don’t run down the middle of the road or trail.
  • If you are running an out-and-back route, don’t just make a sudden u-turn at your turn around point. Stop, step to the right to allow oncoming traffic the opportunity to pass. Ensure the road or trail is clear of oncoming traffic (runners, cyclists, in-line skaters, etc.) then make your u-turn. Making a sudden u-turn without looking over your shoulder is a good way to get hit.
  • Alert pedestrians when you are passing them – don’t assume they are aware of their surroundings. A simple “on your left” warning will suffice.
  • Be alert on blind curves.
  • Stop at stop signs and ensure oncoming traffic yields to you before proceeding across a road. Don’t assume cars will stop if you are entering a cross walk.
  • Respect private property along your route. Don’t relieve yourself in the neighbor’s bushes.
  • Don’t litter. If you can’t find a trash can, carry your trash home.

Those are good rules of the road. Unfortunately I've seen many runners not adhering to this list. Let me give you an example. I always run facing traffic and believe it is far safer than the alternative. There is no federal law stating which side of the road to run on, but local, county and state legislation points toward running against traffic to see approaching vehicles -- and some locations have laws specifically stating that pedestrians (yes, that includes runners) are to face traffic.

I often pass runners who are going in the same direction as traffic, completely blind as to what is coming up behind them. A bicycle is considered a vehicle, so it is subject to the same laws as cars and trucks. Cyclists ride with traffic. As a runner, you are not a vehicle! Essentially, you are in a highly vulnerable position if you’re running near cars, trucks, and bicycles. Emergency room statistics indicate that runners are twice as likely to be injured in accidents with cars while running with traffic rather than against traffic.

I also suggest wearing bright colored clothing when running so that you're more easily seen. You may also want to consider wearing reflective material or a light to be more visible to motorists. By the way, many locations have laws stating that if a sidewalk is available next to a roadway that those traveling by foot are to be on it and not on the roadway.

While reading about this issue online, I came across this:
Being struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is equivalent to falling off a 2 story building. A 45 mph impact is equivalent to falling off a 6 story building. You can imagine the bodily damage you would sustain if you jumped off the roof of a 6 story building, but we don’t imagine the same potential trauma as we run with vehicles.
Bottom line, if there is a sidewalk, get on it. If not, then you should be facing traffic so that both you and the drivers can see one another.

Keep reaching for life's mileposts!

Gotta Run,

Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.

P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.