Because I run early in the morning, and by early I mean, I am the sun’s alarm clock, I get to encounter sleepyheads on their way to work, school, store, dealer, where-ever they happen to be going.
First things first, I run on the road. The road is softer on my knees and it’s easier. The sidewalks tend to be uneven and have stuff on them. Including snow when people don’t feel like shoveling. Anyway, because I’m on the road that means I’m sharing space with drivers.
Sometimes this can be a little dodgy because I have discovered that early in the morning people aren’t really paying attention to where they’re going. They are on autopilot. When you are on the road and someone in a huge metal box is approaching you at a high rate of speed and you realize they are not paying attention, yes things can become tense there for a few seconds.
We all need to share space and respect each other’s boundaries, right? Right! So here’s some quickie little tips for Drivers on how to handle The Runner.
1. I understand that this might seem odd to you but I promise that we are allowed on the road to run. Really, we are. And while it might seem strange, yes we are in fact supposed to be running facing traffic. Going with traffic is for bikers because they are technically on something considered a mode of transportation. Therefore they have to follow the same rules as you. As runners, we need to be able to see things coming at us just in case we need to get out of the way, hence running facing traffic. Looking at us like we’re crazy or making gestures like we should be on the sidewalks doesn’t endear us to you. We can see you when you do such things. Just like the drivers picking their noses, you aren’t invisible either, we can see you in there.
2. When you do encounter a runner on the road please scoot your car over a bit making room for everyone. If I can touch your car as you drive by, you are too close for my comfort and what should be yours!
3. When backing out of your driveway, please look around to make sure the way is clear. I have brought this up before. When you do spot a runner waiting on you to finish backing out, don’t wave them past. Especially do not do the exasperated wave as if we are in your way and you are waiting on us to stop being a nuisance. Waving us past, I understand might seem like a polite gesture but really it isn’t. I will tell you why, runners have no desire to run behind your running car that is already in reverse and sitting on a slope just waiting for gravity and the car motor to get to work. By running behind you like that, we are forced to trust you with our lives. Trust that you aren’t going to start backing up or to gun it knocking us over. Best course of action is just to finish backing out of your driveway so that all parties involved can then move on and go about their business.
4. Turn signals are your friend and a runner’s friend. If I am running down the road and a car approaching me just stops in the middle of the road, I am also going to stop. You stop, I stop. I have no idea what you’re about to do and honking at me, cursing at me, and waving frantically at me doesn’t help the situation. If you don’t have your turn signal on, how am I supposed to know you are trying to park? Or turn into that driveway? Or turn on to that other street? Unless you provide me with some cues, I have no idea what your intentions are.
These are things I have been encountering more of recently and I’m not sure why the increase but it is a bit frustrating.
The bottom line is that you are in a vehicle and a runner is not. A runner doesn’t have tons of steel to protect them if they get hit. There are some butthead runners too, so please don’t think I’m just slamming on drivers.
The truth is that everybody is responsible for everybody else along with being responsible for themselves. Keep that in mind when you’re out on the road, whether you’re driving or running. Be aware, be courteous, and be responsible.