Recently while out on a run in my neighborhood I was on a narrow street and there happened to be cars coming in both directions. One of the cars slowed down and proceeded to yell at me. “You are supposed to run in the grass if there are cars coming. You are going to cause an accident!” I politely smiled at her and waved. I think her actions could have actually caused an accident. She slowed to the point of almost stopping which was blocking the car that was coming in the opposite direction. She was also angrily yelling at me and looking at me, instead of focusing on the road.
My first reaction to this angry woman was, why is she so upset? She could have just kept driving because the person coming from the opposite direction was slowing down to let her go. But instead she felt the need to slow down which actually blocked the other car from driving by. She took a situation that would not have been an issue and made it into a problem situation. I feel sorry for people that carry that much anger with them. I hope that her pointless yelling at me at least brought her some relief.
But then my second reaction was, should I be running in the grass when cars are coming? Do I have any obligation to move to the grass when there are cars coming? Or are we supposed to all share the road? I don’t like running in the grass on the side of the road because it is not a level surface and I always feel like I am going to trip and fall.
So once I got home, I looked up some rules of the road and I am sharing them here below. There is a lot of information out there, but theses tips come from Road Runners Club of America. I didn’t find anything about any requirement to move to the grass so that question remains unanswered but I did pick up some other tips. I think it is important as runners that we are aware of our surroundings and do our best to be safe as we share the road with cars, bicyclists and other runners. So keep running and be safe!
Rules of the road and trails
- Run against traffic if running on the road. If running on the sidewalk or multi-use trails, travel on the right and pass on the left.
- Never run more than two abreast if you are running in a group. Don’t be a road or trail hog.
- Don’t run down the middle of the road or trail.
- If you are running an out-and-back route, don’t just make a sudden u-turn at your turn around point. Stop, step to the right to allow oncoming traffic the opportunity to pass. Ensure the road or trail is clear of oncoming traffic (runners, cyclists, in-line skaters, etc.) then make your u-turn. Making a sudden u-turn without looking over your shoulder is a good way to get hit.
- Alert pedestrians when you are passing them – don’t assume they are aware of their surroundings. A simple “on your left” warning will suffice.
- Be alert on blind curves.
- Stop at stop signs and ensure oncoming traffic yields to you before proceeding across a road. Don’t assume cars will stop if you are entering a cross walk.
- Respect private property along your route. Don’t relieve yourself in the neighbor’s bushes.
- Don’t litter. If you can’t find a trash can, carry your trash home.