Your Answers Questioned

In my post yesterday, I asked readers to answer a couple of running related etiquette questions and got some interesting responses. I just wanted to do a quick follow up on that post.

Most of the people who answered agreed on these points:

- When coming up behind a runner from behind, yell "on your left" before passing them on the left (except for Robyn, who yells "good morning!" I like it.)

- When running on a wider trail, path or a sidewalk we run on the right side. 

- When running on a street with sidewalks, we generally stick to the right sidewalk (going with traffic) but a couple of us run on the left (toward traffic). **And when Grace runs on St. Charles, she runs in the middle of the street. Literally.

St. Charles Ave, New Orleans

Some of the ones that had discrepancies were:

- Running on a road without sidewalks. Most people said they run on the left towards traffic. I have always been taught this is the correct way as well. Otherwise you can't see the semi truck that is about to hit you in time to jump out of the way into the bushes. I did a little research to be sure, and Running for Dummies agrees! Run against traffic!

- The other one which I had to look up before my first trail race the other day to make sure I didn't commit a huge faux pas was: who yields? Well folks, according trail runner's rules on the run, the runner coming uphill yields to the runner coming down (this site also has great tips such as: don't litter, which seems obvious but is not always, and saying "thank you" if someone yields).

- The one that confuses me the most is bike paths. I went running on the American River Bike Trail in Sacramento and was running on the right and I got cussed at (no joke! and loudly!) by a bicyclist. Afterward, I saw signs instructing runners to run on the left, as if the bike path was a car laden highway. This actually makes sense to me, since a "bike is a car" and is supposed to ride with traffic. This just assumes that the bikers are "traffic", so they stay to the right like they would on the road, and we stay on the left, like we would on the road.

However, I tried to find information about it and this RW forum only made me realize that strangely enough, it may vary from path to path. Some paths may post the rules; some may not. So I guess it depends. However, trail etiquette states that the faster person should yield to the slower, so in theory, if you are running on the right (and I hope you are running at the edge and not near the line) the bike should make their way around you, politely saying "on your left" and making sure you don't accidentally get run over. If you feel like a little extra reading, this guy sums up the rules quite nicely. I especially like where he says, "The bike path is where people go to exercise, so move".

Well, for a "quick follow up", this sure is a long winded post. I guess it's a sore subject, some of these people who run towards me and don't move, or stand three abreast taking to their friends and don't even look ashamed when I have to run around them into oncoming traffic. I get out of people's way and I would feel guilty if I didn't; I expect the same courtesy.

My favorite answers were to the last question I asked, which was: what do you do if three people (or a person with a long leashed dog) are coming toward you, taking up the entire path? Answers ranged from "nothing" to: give them the evil eye, kick them, play chicken and assume they will move and, my favorite by Missris, and one I have employed myself, is to  "accidentally" bump into them with your sweaty elbow. In my case it was a shoulder, but it still does the trick (the trick being making me feel better, not like it teaches them anything).

Thanks everyone for answering. I hope you are enjoying your weekend! Good luck to everyone who has a race today! And  even if you don't have a race, good luck to you too!

Does your bike path have posted signs about which side to run on? How do you feel about bicyclists (or, if you are a biker, how do you feel about runners)? Have you ever been hit by a bike/car/other runner?


  1. There are only signs posted when the bike and running path are shared - which just happens occasionally on different paths in the area. Other than that, it doesn't really say what to do!

    I've never been brave enough to do the shoulder/elbow nudge but I sure have wanted to. I actually get more annoyed with dogs on leashes than with people hogging the path. At least when it's people, I know what to do, they aren't going to jump out at me. But with a wandering dog on a long leash, I have no idea what way they are going to move and I have had to jump over leashes.

  2. how great is grace's running 'track'!! thanks for the shout out!

  3. Unless racing I never see another run er or biker, but I always run into traffic and never litter! I do yield to cows and people on horses.

  4. I was on St. Charles today!!! :D

  5. I love Christy's response. I'd give horses and cows and people on horses the right of way every time.

    I don't normally run where there are no sidewalks, but I will heed that advice when I do.

  6. Thanks for the info:) I like the bumping into someone idea, I will have to use that next time.

  7. I would be very careful about who I was bumping into these days!

    But I often yell EXCUSE ME as I approach so hopefully they will give me some space. If not, I duck around and keep going.

  8. Haha I think my comment made me sound like a crazy person! But I forgot to say, when people do move out of the way I always yell "Thank you!" in hopes that it encourages them to do it for the next person too :)

  9. I'm so glad you posted this, it's all good information to have!!! I try to stay out of people's way. Even running on the sidewalk I go against traffic, what if a vehicle hops a sidewalk, then I can still jump out of the way!!!

    When I'm running with Jack we are the ones who move out of the way, and I hold him tight since I know he could easily trip someone up!

    Hope you are having a great weekend!!!

  10. I'm glad you did the recap- I was wondering what other people were gonna say. Our bike path does not have any info about what side bikes or runners should be on, but I wish it did... that would help so much!

  11. As a mostly runner/walker who is married to a biker, I feel for them. Cars hate them, because most drivers don't know how to handle 'em. And runners/walkers hate 'em, because they go too fast, expect us to yield to them and don't want to slow down for anything. There's an amazing path along the Chicago lakefront (26 miles of it) and I've seen my fair share of bikes hitting pedestrians and runners colliding with pedestrians. At least the local cyclists, runners and walkers acn all agree on one thing: we hate the tourists who don't pay attention! =)

  12. This is so interesting. I yield to everyone because I hate getting in the way.


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!