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Thread: runners in bike lanes - how to handle?

  1. #1
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    Default runners in bike lanes - how to handle?

    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!

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    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.

  3. #3
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    Default majorly irritated by runners on the bike lane

    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?

  4. #4
    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    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.
    Last edited by PotomacCyclist; 08-10-2011 at 09:08 PM.

  5. #5
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    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/Publicati...eg_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/Rul...Number=18-2305

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    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.

  8. #8
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theakston View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
    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.

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