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View Full Version : runners in bike lanes - how to handle?



kas
02-18-2011, 09:55 AM
Hello - I have a question I'm wondering about: how do you all handle encounters with runners in bike lanes? Sometimes these things bother me more than other times, I've never said anything to a jogger doing this before. But last night I was riding in the bike lane on 5th Street NW, just north of New York Ave, behind about 4 or 5 other bikers. A jogger was running in the bike lane opposite the direction of traffic, so I watched as each biker had to ride all the way to the left in the bike and lane into the lane of car traffic to let this guy run past them - the jogger was staying close to the line of parked cars. Meanwhile, there is a steady stream of cars driving by that the bikes had to look out for. This irritated me enough that when the jogger was approaching me I said, "Come on man, stay out of the bike lane." Not in an angry tone I might add, more to convey my annoyance - definitely not shouting. In fact I wasn't even sure he'd be able to hear me with his headphones on. But apparently he did hear me because he shouted back, "Just move over, bitch!" A response which I fell was way beyond what was warranted.

I am not, nor do I have any desire to be, the type of person who swears at strangers on the street and calls them names like that. Especially since he was the one who was in the wrong. Should I not have said anything? Should I have said something different? Am I just too sensitive? I know that joggers legally should not be running in the bike lanes, and I don't appreciate being forced to merge into car traffic. So I'm curious how others handle situations like this!

PrintError
02-18-2011, 01:56 PM
Joggers may use them because the sidewalks are filled with walkers, and it becomes a slalom to them. I'd go ahead and just treat them as if you were on any of the MUTs and yell out a passing signal such as "ON YOUR LEFT!"

I actually yell "PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH" when I approach joggers/walkers on the W&OD. Hilariously, no one ever seems to notice and I get a wave and a scoot to the right every time.

Antje
08-10-2011, 08:09 PM
I commute from Anacostia to the Dupont Circle area every day and am getting more and more joggers on the bike lane in capital hill. People act more entitled by the day with rude gestures and words when I ask them why they're not running on the rather broad side walks next to them which are usually empty. Trying to understand why runners take the liberty to endanger the riders on the bike lane, do not make space, run not behind but next to each other etc., I read up on a couple of runner blogs. The reason is: that asphalt is softer and they are having less shin splints. And they are promoting the running on the bike lane to others. So let me get this right, people who are running solely for their own entertainment, which does not serve any transportation purposes (in fact most jump in their cars right after) and who have the alternative to use the side walk, rather run on the bike lane and turn it into a dangerous obstacle course for others because its is more comfortable for them? I'm not okay with that. Any tips to keep my mood?

PotomacCyclist
08-10-2011, 09:06 PM
I can't find any provision stating that runners are prohibited from using bike lanes in the District. There's a blog post on the Internet that some people cite as some sort of official source, but it's merely one guy's opinion. The DDOT site doesn't say anything about the topic.

***
Runners are not running for their own "entertainment". Many run for exercise. Others run because they like it. Some people actually do run as transportation, especially in urban areas like DC and Arlington. All the same reasons why people bike.

The softer surface of the asphalt is one reason to run in the bike lane. Another more important reason is that many sidewalks are poorly maintained. They simply aren't that level or smooth. Walking on them usually doesn't pose problems, but running on them might. It can be hazardous to run on many sidewalks. The risk of twisting an ankle can be very high. It can also be difficult to run on crowded sidewalks. A faster runner might be moving anywhere from 7 to 11 mph.

I do think that runners should run with traffic if they are using a bike lane. And if they are running for exercise, it might be considerate to run in off-peak hours. But that may not be convenient if they only have a limited window in which to run.

The conflicts over bike lanes are similar to the issues between car drivers and cyclists in road lanes. But in the case of the bike lanes, the cyclists are the faster group. It helps to think through the situation and avoid vilifying entire groups of people.

I bike and run frequently. I get annoyed by different situations and groups, depending on whether I'm cycling or running. It helps me to realize that no group is perfect. It also makes me realize that there are a lot of inconsiderate and distracted people in all groups out there, whether it's car drivers (texting while driving, speeding, aggression), truck drivers, runners (earphones), cyclists (speeding on the trails, passing on trails and forcing oncoming traffic to move aside), walkers (earphones, taking up entire sidewalks and even road lanes out at Hains Point), dog walkers (long leashes that cross road lanes), roller bladers or sightseers.

DCLiz
08-10-2011, 09:35 PM
There was discussion about this recently on the Capitol Hill listserve. Somebody wrote to the Mayor's office and got this response:
Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting the Executive Office of the Mayor to inquire whether pedestrians are allowed in on-street bike lanes in the District.

Please be advised that pedestrians are not allowed in on-street bike lanes in the District, except in circumstances where an adjacent sidewalk is not present.

For further questions or concerns about this matter, please contact the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) at202-673-6813.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is a summary of rules pertaining to cycling & bike lanes:
http://ddot.dc.gov/DC/DDOT/Publication%20Files/On%20Your%20Street/Bicycles%20and%20Pedestrians/bike-ped_traffic_reg_summary.pdf

From the document, "Where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and
upon an adjacent roadway. Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking
along and upon a street or highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the left side
of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic, which may approach from the opposite
direction."

The actual regulation is in Title 18 of our municipal regulations:
http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/RuleHome.aspx?RuleNumber=18-2305

CCrew
08-11-2011, 05:31 AM
All the more justification as to why I play chicken with them.

Seriously, I do. They can have the W&OD, I give them right of way. The bike lanes? Not so much. Not when there's an empty 10 foot wide sidewalk beside them.

theakston
08-11-2011, 09:04 AM
All the more justification as to why I play chicken with them.

Seriously, I do. They can have the W&OD, I give them right of way. The bike lanes? Not so much. Not when there's an empty 10 foot wide sidewalk beside them.
Come on...don't act like the worst of the drivers around here. I see comments like that about cyclists in the road all the time. It doesn't help when you start acting like them.

DaveK
08-11-2011, 09:09 AM
I followed that discussion on the Capitol Hill listserv with seething anger as people described why they were entitled to run the wrong way down the street in the bike lane. My response when I'm riding has always been to play chicken with them. Especially if I am riding with some huge spotlight on my bars in the evening, I want them to think they're going to get run down by a train.

I run on the Hill all the time and I've never run in the bike lane. Yes, the sidewalks are uneven, but that's why you LOOK WHERE YOU'RE GOING. I don't buy asphalt vs. concrete relative to injuries either. If you're striking that hard when you run then you're doing something wrong. Runners, strollers, etc - get out of the bike lane. In return, if there's a bike lane don't bike on the sidewalk. Easy as pie.

DaveK
08-11-2011, 09:09 AM
Come on...don't act like the worst of the drivers around here. I see comments like that about cyclists in the road all the time. It doesn't help when you start acting like them.

The difference is cyclists are supposed to ride on the road. Pedestrians are required by law to be on the sidewalk and out of the road.

theakston
08-11-2011, 09:48 AM
The difference is cyclists are supposed to ride on the road. Pedestrians are required by law to be on the sidewalk and out of the road.
so if a cyclist gets run off the road by a car on say the GW parkway near Mt Vernon that's OK? (given that by law Cyclists are not supposed to be on the road there). and to lump runners in with Peds is the same as drivers who insist that bikes should be on the sidewalk and trails. I don't run in the bike lanes but running someone over if they do is not the best way to promote biking. It's the same attitude drivers have to bikes - they are too slow and don't belong here so I'll buzz them for fun.

CCrew
08-11-2011, 10:15 AM
Come on...don't act like the worst of the drivers around here. I see comments like that about cyclists in the road all the time. It doesn't help when you start acting like them.

I'd never harm them. And most are polite and move. The "I'm running where I damn welll please because I'm a pedestrian" ones? Fair game in my book.

Keep in mind I'm dealing with them in the wee hours of the am. Chicken involves 1200 watts of zombie scorching LED's. 400 of which is on a helmet that I can aim at will. They move.

Usern Ame
08-11-2011, 10:18 AM
Well think of it this way - how would joggers take it if bikers were in a "jogging" lane? They wouldn't take it at all.

theakston
08-11-2011, 11:23 AM
Well think of it this way - how would joggers take it if bikers were in a "jogging" lane? They wouldn't take it at all.
Is there such a thing as a jogging lane? where?

justasaintz
08-11-2011, 08:23 PM
I agree that joggers do not belong on the bike lanes.

As pointed out earlier Pedestrians are legally bound to sidewalks and bike lanes are roads after all, since cars/bikes are allowed to cross each other's lanes when necessary but keep to their lanes at all other times.

Cycling on multi-use trails is different. Pedestrians have the right of way there and I respect that, Just like on sidewalks of DC. But I don't see any reason for giving way to people walking/jogging on the bike lane. Having said that would i be careful about them? yes absolutely, I don't want to be hurt or hurt someone. That does not mean i am agree with pedestrians on bike lanes.

BTW...if cycles are not allowed on GW Parkway and a car hits you, they have every right to contest the legality of riding on the parkway and will probably win. You are the one causing the offense and endangering others. Just like pedestrians jay walking. speaking of which, would jogging in bike lanes constitute jay walking? and hence illegal?

baiskeli
08-12-2011, 08:00 AM
Just last night I ran into (figuratively) this problem.

On my way home from manning the BikeArlington booth at the county fair, two joggers were in the bike lane on Fairfax Drive. In the dark. With headphones on. That's dumb even without a bike coming your way.

I called out a warning loudly several times. I was trying to make a point about their safety more than anything, since auto traffic there is really light and I could easily go around them. They finally got the message, when I was right behind them. After I passed one gave me their excuse: "I didn't hear you." Um, yeah, with headphone on running in the street at night, that's gonna happen.

Usern Ame
08-12-2011, 02:56 PM
No, there's no such thing as a jogging lane. The point is to imagine if there were a lane devoted specifically to joggers and bikers started using it.

KLizotte
08-12-2011, 04:21 PM
I find jogging in the bike lanes to be all the more irksome since there are sidewalks EVERYWHERE (which we cyclists help pay for I might add). We cyclists are only asking for our little bit of space and peds already have so much.

The joggers should also realize that it is unreasonable and unsafe to expect us to swerve into traffic in order to go around them. For that reason alone, it should be made illegal. And joggers running in the wrong direction is insane - they really can't expect us to do a long swoop around them so they aren't frightened out of their wits by a cyclist heading straight at them can they?

Saw my first "against traffic" bike lane jogger last week on South Joyce Street in front of Pentagon Row (brand new, mostly wide bike lanes there). I think the County is going to have revise its laws soon as more lanes are put in place.

My last pet peeve: peds on MUTs who do not wear blinkies/reflective gear at night (same goes for cyclists who don't use blinkies). I decided after last night's ride that I need to buy some more candle power to make sure I don't bump into someone's dog or a jogger wearing all black.

Thank goodness it's Friday.

CCrew
08-12-2011, 07:37 PM
I decided after last night's ride that I need to buy some more candle power to make sure I don't bump into someone's dog or a jogger wearing all black.


Since 50% of my commute is in the dark of night now you understand why I run as much candlepower as I do. I've found that the helmet mounted light is the most effective of all, in that I can aim for the errant ninja yet look down or away to stop from blinding one that has the sensibilities to wear gear that can be seen.

Greenbelt
08-12-2011, 08:51 PM
My favorite are the folks who powerwalk against the flow in the bikelanes. In groups sometimes. With a sidewalk right next to them. I'm sorry, but they're jerks.

5555624
08-13-2011, 08:29 AM
My favorite are the folks who powerwalk against the flow in the bikelanes. In groups sometimes. With a sidewalk right next to them. I'm sorry, but they're jerks.

Anyone going against the flow is easy to deal with -- I get off my bike and stand next to it. Between my bike and I, I can pretty much block most of the bike lane and make them go out and into traffic or onto the sidewalk. If they say something, I just comment that since they are not supposed to be in the bike lane, I just want to make sure they don't have to deal with a moving bike and get hurt.

americancyclo
08-13-2011, 10:02 AM
I need to buy some more candle power to make sure I don't bump into someone's dog or a jogger wearing all black.


exactly why I bought a bright light. only mine was AFTER a collision with a ninja jogger. at least she apologized for wearing all black and no lights.

I've thought about buying some bulk blinkies and handing them out along the trail to unlit runners.

Dan_ator
08-16-2011, 03:43 PM
In addition to the situation with the joggers, there are often cyclists that ride the wrong way in a bike lane. This bothers me to no end. Once, I gave an intense, disapproving stare to someone doing this. She returned an embarrassed, sheepish shrug. But of course she continued on her (wrong) way.

Once, while riding up the two-way bike lane on 15th just north of Penn, I nearly ran down a group of people standing in the bike lane, something tourists do all the time. Being the DC ambassador that I am, I usually yell at them to get the --- out of the bike lane. This time, the offender was indeed from out of town: Senator Chuck Schumer.

KLizotte
08-16-2011, 09:02 PM
exactly why I bought a bright light. only mine was AFTER a collision with a ninja jogger. at least she apologized for wearing all black and no lights.

I've thought about buying some bulk blinkies and handing them out along the trail to unlit runners.

Ouch; I hope she sustained more bruises than you. After tonight's late night ride, I've discovered that my new 250 lumens light (that takes 4.5 hrs to fully charge - grrrr) is insufficient for comfortable night riding. At minimum, I would need two of them - one to aim straight forward, the other to aim more directly on the ground in front of the bike.

While riding on the Custis and MVT at about 9:00 pm I was *stunned* by how many joggers/walkers there were not wearing any reflective clothing at all (aside from a few reflective logos on shirts/sneakers) nor any lights. I almost ran down a female walker under one of the bridges (where it is really dark) wearing all black. I can't even imagine what would possess a sane woman to walk alone in the dark along one of the trails.

More alarming is that the majority of cyclists were not using lights or reflective gear. I really don't know how they could see where they were going since I'm lit up like a Xmas tree and was still having a hard time.

Crazy world. The fireflies seem to be gone too.

Brendan von Buckingham
08-17-2011, 09:51 AM
When I ran track and we did distance training, they taught us to run against the flow of traffic so we could see oncoming traffic and jump out of the road if we had to. When I'm in my bike lane WB Rosslyn to Courthouse, I hold my line and expect the runner coming at me to get out of the way (i.e., jump onto the sidewalk). That's why he/she is running against the flow of traffic afterall, so they're able to get out of the way.

americancyclo
08-17-2011, 10:10 AM
run against the flow of traffic so we could see oncoming traffic and jump out of the road if we had to.

That made sense where I grew up in upstate NY, and in places without sidewalks, but in urban areas and on MUTs I don't think it's wise, and it really irks me.

Brendan von Buckingham
08-17-2011, 10:31 AM
Me too. It goes without saying that when I was growing up in 1880's East Jabip Kansas, there was no such thing as a bike lane for me either.

PotomacCyclist
08-19-2011, 10:21 PM
Me too. It goes without saying that when I was growing up in 1880's East Jabip Kansas, there was no such thing as a bike lane for me either.
Still cycling after more than 120 years? Wow!

(kidding)