02 April 2008


What is it about early morning joggers (or any joggers for that matter) that they HAVE to jog IN THE ROAD?

I can forgive them doing this when they are on the correct side of the road and going in the correct direction (that is, my side and facing me) when - and only when - there is no sidewalk available, which admittedly is rather more often than not in the Heart of Surburban Hell (HSH).

But when there IS a sidewalk available - and it's ludicrously early and still dark and I've had maybe 3 sips of coffee - WHAT do they think they're doing in the road besides begging to be accidentally run over?

NOT a good way to start anyone's morning, that's what I say...


Please read Susan's comment to this post and read her post on a similar subject:

Dear Neighbor

I had always assumed that traffic laws stated that pedestrians should walk facing traffic, but that may not be the case. I'm going to find out what my state says (unnfortunately, they have nothing about it online - at least, nothing that was easy to find).

And I shall strive to be more tolerant of joggers in the meantime... :)



Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Actually, where I live, it's a law that runners must use the road. Us bicyclists, too. That means they have to obey the street laws -- run with traffic and all that. I doubt I'm the only one who learned the "go against the flow of traffic" as a kid rule, though.

When runners and bicyclists use the roads, the roads actually become safer for everyone. Collisions and fatalities plummet.

I know it's hard to keep a watchful eye out, but think of it this way: that might be a blog reader you're about to run over...

(I actually posted a rant about this very topic over at Blue Ribbon Bloggers; search on my name and you'll find it.)

Bethanie said...

Wow, Susan, that is a great post! I'm going to link to it here:

Dear Neighbor

and add an edit with the link in my rant. :D

Thanks especially for making me aware that the law may actually state that joggers SHOULD be sharing the road. I had no idea that was a possibility! For bikers, yes - The Husband is a former bike racer and my parents made sure I understood biker road etiquette as a kid.

But I hadn't considered that this might apply to pedestrians... and I'm not sure I agree with it, honestly. I can see the point -- everyone obeying traffic laws makes perfect sense. But as a person who prefers to walk places given the choice, I really feel uncomfortable with my back to the traffic. I don't trust drivers, especially when so many people seem to think it's OK to drive with a phone plastered to their ear (and that would not be me, BTW - I refuse to answer or talk my phone while driving). I want to see the cars (and SUVs) coming, and I either make eye contact with the drivers or I get out of the street.

Anyway, thanks again for the food for thought. I think I'm a pretty careful driver, but I will strive to be more so!

Miss Crabby Pants said...

Okay -laws aside, common sense aside, even basic courtesy aside I have to respond from an-unfortunately-former running fanatic. I ran in the middle of the road - a lot - and here's why:
1)It's 4-fucking thirty and what are you doing driving on my track? I come out early to have the place to myself!
2)I'm Running, you're driving and (I know, not you, but too many people) talking on the phone, putting on your mascara, and stuffing that donut in your pie-hole all at the same time. Haughty and self-righteous? Who me?
3)Sidewalks are usually made of concrete. Concrete is *much* harder than pavement (asphalt, whatever) and thus much harder on the joints.
4)Roads are canted for run-off purposes and the lopsided terrain is killer on the knees, the pace, and the cadence of the run. The middle is the high ground - the most even place to run.

Now, I know cars are big and metal and could kill me so I always tried to get out of the way early, never ran with headphones, and tried to be polite and aware.

SUV? No problem - I could probably fit under one as it ran over me and it wouldn't graze me head. But the Hybrid cars scare the crap out of me and almost killed me several times (as a pedestrian and as a cyclist) - I just can't hear them behind me!

Now I'm a driver (not a runner more's the pity) and I see the other side, but having been there myself I'm pretty patient with the running-in-the-road types. And the only way I'd be out before the sun stretched over the horizon was if my house was on fire.

Miss Crabby Pants said...

The random letters at the end of my comment were the word verification letters typed into the wrong little box.

Just in case you were trying t figure out WTF I was trying to say.

Bethanie said...

Thanks for the runner's perspective, Miss CP! (I was counting on it, BTW.:-D) I vaguely remember people talking about concrete sidewalks and road cant and that sort of thing once upon a time, but I'm not a runner and doubt I ever will be (my hip joints are too much of a mess), so it's good to have the official word from an official runner (former though she may be).

As for being on the road at 4-fucking-30: you're crazy. Who gets up at that hour by choice? OK, me, if I'm trying to write... So let me rephrase that: who gets up at that hour and, by choice, exercises??!? *shudders at the very thought*

Anyway, just for the record, it was 6am, still dark and neither of the joggers on the road to work had anything reflective on. The first one I saw in plenty of time, so I slowed down and moved over, so he would know I saw him (even though he was wearing BLACK). The other one was approaching a 4-way stop where I was turning right and was in the lane I was turning into. She's the one who scared me to death because I have this HORRIBLE habit on NOT looking right before I turn right at an intersection like that (especially at 6am, in the dark when I haven't seen a jogger in months...), so I didn't see her at all until after I had turned and was accelerating. 'Bout gave me a heart attack...

Anyways...one last thing:

Me being me, I just HAD to find out what the law actually says about which side of the road pedestrians should walk on. Naturally, I still haven't been able to find a blessed thing for the state I actually live in. I even called the Dept of Safety and got some poor woman who said, "We just do driver's licenses...". She thought I should ask a policeman, which I haven't had time to do yet. However, I did google "pedestrian safety law" or something like that, and of the 4 or 5 states on the first page of results that DO make their laws accessible to their citizens, all of them want pedestrians to walk facing traffic. (And now the medical editor in me feels compelled to disclose that, due to the small sample size, these results should be interpreted with caution...)

Good greif, I am boggarting my own blog... just one more thing:

In the course of this research, I also discovered that there were 398 pedestrian fatalities in my state last year, which seems APPALLING. That made me wonder whether there's a connection with the fact that it was practically impossible to find ANY information on pedestrian safety for my state, compared to the other states I looked at. And THAT makes me want to do something about it.

OK, I'm really shutting up now, honest.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Nah, keep talking.

Thanks for the link to my post! I take it that you liked it.

I still need to get up the nerve to hand it to that neighbor.

Oh, and German literature? I shudder at the mere THOUGHT.

Bethanie said...

Yes, that was a great post, Susan!! It really got me thinking. I wish I had time, because now I really want to write some sort of magazine article or something on this subject, especially now that the weather is warming and people are doing more stuff outside (in the odd, dark hours of the morning).

And ah yes, Goethe! Schilling! Kafka! Duerrenmatt! (actually, he's a favorite...) At least, in German there are case endings to help sort through the morass of wordage... can't say the same for English!