Ah the bike lane. Drivers hate cyclists for riding in it, cyclists hate runners for running in it, and runners hate walkers for walking (or worse – standing) slowly in their pedestrian sidewalks so that they are forced to run in it. Now that I’m a “cyclist” as well as a “runner” and a “driver,” I can see all sides of this eternal battle. Before I was a cyclist, I didn’t like that people riding bikes would come so close to my car and worse, when they took over my lane in order to pass other cyclists or runners. Now, I’m much more patient with riders. However, it scares me that MOST drivers couldn’t care less about cyclists.
I stumbled across and interesting opinion piece today about runners in the bike lane. Asia and I frequently run in the bike lane. Actually, I run in the bike lane so often that sometimes I forget to use the sidewalk when I’m taking a walk! Most of the time I have to use the bike lane because there isn’t a sidewalk for me to run on. Other times, however, I run in the bike lane because the sidewalk is crowded or full of obstacles called curbs.
According to this opinion piece, not only is it rude to run in the bike lane, but it’s unsafe. Of course I knew it wasn’t safe, but I didn’t really consider it being any less safe than biking in the bike lane. From the blog, “Add a runner to the mix—particularly one with headphones, going with the flow of traffic—and you’ve got a recipe for a really scary collision just waiting to happen. I can imagine a scenario where a runner decides to bail on the sidewalk and steps into the street, maybe from between two parked cars. He doesn’t see the bike coming, the biker doesn’t see him, and—WHAM. You get the picture.”
Although I try to be very careful to watch for cyclists when running in the bike lane, I honestly just really hope that they see me and don’t run me down. I know that’s a naive way to look at it, and after reading this article and thinking it over, I’ve decided to really try to make an attempt to run more safely by avoiding bike lanes and using paths when necessary. As a cyclist, I am quite annoyed myself when I am riding in the bike lane and not only have to watch out for cars but also for runners, who usually don’t follow the flow of traffic like cyclists do. In fact, this weekend during our ride Asia almost took out an oncoming runner when we were both getting passed by other cyclists and we had no room to move over to avoid the runner. It was a close call!
Do you run in the bike lane? Are you a cyclist who hates runners in the bike lane? What are runners supposed to do if there is no sidewalk on part of our route?