I have a question that I’d like to pose regarding runners. In particular, a question regarding the criteria which they apply when it comes to planning their training routes.
Put simply, why is it that some runners apparently feel compelled to run in the road? Especially on thoroughfares which commonly experience heavy automobile and truck traffic?
Now before anyone accuses me of being a short-sighted curmudgeon (or even worse), let me explain that for many years, I was a runner myself. A combination of a hip-injury and a blown-out Achilles tendon forced me to find other ways to exercise.
Just this morning, I again encountered a jogger running into the face of on-coming traffic on a heavily traveled, somewhat narrow, two lane road which is paralleled on both sides by perfectly good, well maintained sidewalks.
By the way, the roads to which I’m referring, do not have bike lanes. I wish that they did, but unfortunately those innovations have not yet captured the attention of the traffic engineers who design the roads in my neck of the woods.
Do runners have a right to run in the road? Absolutely. Unfortunately, some of them also demonstrate their right to practice, what seems to me to be, an inexplicable lack of common sense when it comes to ensuring their personal safety.
So what is it? Do they take the description “road runner” too literally? Do runners find the undulations on sidewalks necessitated by driveways and crosswalks unacceptable? Or is it a determined insistence to exercise their right to share the road?
Having known a co-worker who was tragically struck by a car and killed while riding his bike has perhaps made me overly sensitive to the risks taken by runners, as well as cyclists, when it comes to sharing some roads with cars and trucks.
Avoiding areas experiencing heavy traffic, utilizing available sidewalks, and remaining healthy and fit to run another day just seems to me to be a very reasonable practice for those who enjoy a good run.
Don’t challenge cars to a race. They almost always win!
Be safe out there.