Running Loving and Driver Etiquette

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a few interesting encounters on my runs. During one, I was apparently very popular with the elderly lady demographic. I received waves and smiles, and after a car turned into my way without looking an elderly woman nearby became very upset with how inconsiderate drivers can be. I guess I’m used to being harassed by Long Island drivers because I hadn’t thought much of the incident, but the support was nice nonetheless.

On another run pretty late at night a driver passing by decided to blast his horn at me as he approached. I was all the way on the left side of an empty road, wearing a long sleeved white shirt, and the car was going slowly after a nearby stop sign, so it was definitely not out of alarm from seeing me. This being the case, and having had previous bad encounters with nighttime honking (one incident left me with a sprained ankle), I decided to grant him a certain hand gesture. Suddenly, from across the street, I heard someone yell out to me “I love you. Really, I do.”

I looked around, startled, but didn’t see the caller. I’d like to think I was being supported once again against rude drivers, but I suppose it could have been for any number of reasons; perhaps my stride was very graceful that night. Alternatively, it wasn’t directed at me at all, but that is not a possibility I’d like to consider.

On the topic of inconsiderate drivers, I’d like to supply the driving public with a few tips for proper runner-driver etiquette, most of which should be self evident but apparently to some people are not:

1. Do not scream out of your window at runners.

For some reason I am subject to this on a fairly regular basis. Words of support are of course appreciated, but guttural screams and barks (literal barks- speaking from personal experience here) are not appreciated.

2. Do not honk at runners.

Unless you know them and are going slowly enough to be recognized (I hate wondering if I was supposed to know who that was who just honked at me), please resist the urge.

3.  And most importantly: Do not run over runners.

I suppose this one speaks for itself.

As a corollary to Rule 3: When backing out of a driveway, check the sidewalk. Way too many times have I nearly been run over by suburban drivers who don’t expect pedestrians on their quiet street.


4 comments on “Running Loving and Driver Etiquette

  1. hans52 says:

    As a full time pedestrian who doesn’t bike, run, or drive, I have a request or two to make of runners:

    1. If you are running in twos, threes, etc., please DROP BACK when you approach pedestrians! You do not have a “right” to take up an entire sidewalk when you run, forcing walkers to have to jump out of your way.

    2. When sidewalks are covered with ice and snow, pedestrians are walking carefully so as not to fall, especially older pedestrians. The last thing that we want to see is runners BOUNDING over the ice and snow at high speed in close proximity to us. If we are in danger of slipping while walking, then you are in danger of slipping and falling INTO US while RUNNING. Not all runners wear special shoes for ice. I see this every year.

    3. STOP FOR RED LIGHTS! What on earth is wrong with some of you? I often see runners who don’t stop, as if it’s their God given right to keep running, or as if their running experience will be lessened if they have to run in place for a few seconds.

    Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians often lack common sense and thoughtfulness. Runners do too.

    • florb63 says:

      Absolutely, etiquette runs (pardon the pun) both ways. I agree with your first two points, and the only thing I’ll say about the third is that stopping for every red light would break the comfortable stride runners try to establish on each run. If the going is clear, and you’re not going to create or be in danger, there is definitely a benefit to continuing the run rather than pausing it.

      • Mike says:

        Yes, God forbid that runners should stop for red lights, or anything else for that matter. I’m in my 60’s and a full time pedestrian. I don’t own a car or take the bus or subway. I am sick to death of encountering runner’s who place THEIR “high” and THEIR benefits over the well being of others, including pedetrians who are walking, where, gasp? On the sideWALK. Runners run on sidewalks, treat pedestrians like obstacles, and run down the sidewalk two or three abreast, not having the courtesy to drop back to accommodate the people walking towards them. Runners run on sidewalks that are covered with wet leaves, and I have had them run AT me in winter as I’m carefully walking over ice. NO chance they’d slip and fall into me by golly, in their minds.

        This morning as I approached a large tree in the middle of an old sidewalk, I saw a runner coming towards me on my left. I went around the tree on my right, and collided with a woman who had been running with him. She yelled half a “sorry” but kept right on running, because it’s all about her and what she’s doing. Some runners, bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians can be jerks, no doubt, but I will say as a pedestrian that I am fed up with human projectiles coming at me from all directions when all that I’m trying to do is walk to the store or to work. Inconsiderate lunkheads! My safety and health are just as important as YOURS. If you see pedestrians on the sidewalk, slow down, drop back, or even STOP. A world full of healthy people is pointless if many of those healthy people are self centered and ill mannered.

      • florb63 says:

        My post was focusing on the driver-runner interaction, not the pedestrian-runner interaction. You make some valid points, though. And at least we can ll be united in our loathing of bikers on the sidewalk!

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