Playing in Traffic

Before I became a runner, I never understood why runners would run on the side of the road when what appeared to me driving by a perfectly good sidewalk for them to run on.   Now that I’m a runner (again, I use that term loosely), I totally get why a runner would choose running on the side of the road rather than run on the sidewalk.  The bottom line is that SIDEWALKS SUCK!   In all of my training the only time I have ever fallen ripping a new pair of running pants and scraping my knee is when I made the mistake of running on the sidewalk.

Sidewalks were made for walking not running.   What is the difference?   The difference is that when you are walking, you can dodge the unevenness, the cracks, the holes, and the assortment of things that make them dangerous to run on.    And, yes, I do mean dangerous.   I would much rather watch the cars coming at me planning on taking a dive than twist an ankle tripping over an uneven sidewalk due to a growing tree. 

I give you exhibit A

sidewalk 2

and B


These actually aren’t bad at all.   These were just when I thought to take a picture.

Now even though I run in the road, I run carefully in the road.   I run against traffic.   I watch  the oncoming traffic, because I don’t trust them enough not to.   I also know if something goes wrong, I am the one to pay the price not the driver.   There are some that get that I am just out there to try and take care of myself, but there are those who act like I am there to bother them.   I am by no means doing the latter.   I run as close to the side of the road as I can.   I pay attention to what is going on and stop when I feel that it might be the prudent thing to do.  As I said before, I know in a game of chicken I am the loosing chicken.   My whole goal is to make it home.

I will say that for the most part most people are very gracious to those of us on our bikes or running, but there are always exceptions.   These are the ones that worry me.   These are the ones who keep me vigilant.   These are the ones that make me look to the side of the road for an quick exit plan.

Here are some easy tips to share the road with those trying to keep themselves healthy.  This is not a complete list, but the ones that come to mind:)

  1. Don’t be an @ss.   We are not out there to piss you off.   It actually has nothing to do with you.   It is actually about us and our goals.   So if you need to wait to pullout from your driveway for a few seconds while we run past, wait.   That time isn’t going to get you where you are going any faster and think of how late you will be if you hit someone.
  2. If I can put my arm out and touch your window as you drive by, chances are you are too close.   No you do not need to go to the opposite side of the road, but a little space would be nice.   Remember, if you are getting that close I am already thinking at what point I should jump.
  3. Keep your eyes on the road and don’t drift over the line.  I have limited space on the side of the road as it is.  Let me stay where I belong and you stay where you belong.
  4. For the love of God, please don’t text while driving!   This goes to rule number 3.   Unless you are using a fully automated voice text, wait.

Remember, the person running or biking on the road is very important to someone else.   Their safety is partly in your hands while they are out there.   Besides, how would you live with yourself if you were the reason they didn’t make it where they were going because of something stupid you did?     

The road really is big enough for both of us!  And if you don’t believe what I’m saying about the sidewalks, get out of your car and come for a run with me.   You’ll see soon enough.


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