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Basic Tips if You Run in the Street

Sharing ideas related to safe running and cycling is extremely important for us here at Alameda Runners — especially since I see both drivers and athletes doing such reckless things out on the road.

In the May 2010 edition of Runner’s World (pg. 69), the “need to know” section includes runner safety if you’re running on the street.

First, you may be wondering why people would want to run on the street.  It’s done for a few different reasons, and the most popular answer is related to the smoother running surface of the road when compared to the sidewalk.

Q: When runners run in the road, do they have to use hand signals?
A: Not the way cyclists do.  For one, you should be running against, not with, the flow of traffic.  But don’t assume a driver sees you.  Stretch out a hand and make eye contact at intersections.  If you’re at a stop sign or light, it’s a good idea to let drivers know which way you’re going, especially if you’ll be turning in front of them.

Read after the jump to read some more basic tips.

I have a couple of additional points to mention in addition to RW’s advice.

If you’re running on the street while listening to your MP3 player, pay attention to vehicles leaving dive ways and parking spots!  Since you can’t hear them, they could pull out of a drive way or parking space without double checking to see if pedestrians or runners are coming.  (This is especially important if you have noise canceling earbuds, as you won’t be able to hear a car engine.)

Also, feel free to point and signal as much as you need to — but do NOT be rude to drivers!  I’ve seen runners and cyclists act like juveniles – making all of us look bad – which doesn’t benefit anyone on the road.

Never assume the driver is going to give you the right of way, even if it’s your turn.  I’ve had cars in Alameda turn in front of me even though I was running in the middle of the street.  Unless you make eye contact or get a signal from the driver, I normally am willing to let the car go first.

If you’re running in the bike lane, please make way for cyclists who are using the lane.  It’s silly to fight for space on the road with the very people who understand the dangers of reckless drivers and speeding vehicles.

1 Comment so far »

  1. by AIRbudz Allows Athletes to Hear Ambient Sound, on May 15 2012 @ 8:32 am


    […] be curious to hear what people think about the product. I’ve seen runners and cyclists become oblivious to their surroundings while jamming out — which might be okay in the gym or on the tread mill — but can be […]

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