Why Do Runners Use Streets and Not Sidewalks?

BY  |  Thursday, Jan 26, 2012 9:15am  |  COMMENTS (77)

As a runner, one of the questions I get asked frequently is, “Why do runners run in the road and not on the sidewalks?”

Baristanet recently received such a query from a recent transplant to Montclair. He wrote:

Why don’t people use sidewalks in some parts of Montclair? On a typical day, I will see a few dog walkers, perambulators, and joggers cruising down Midland Avenue. None of them will be using the sidewalk.

This doesn’t bug me all that much when it’s one person. But tonight, there was the six o’clock jog. This is a somewhat odd phenomenon where about two dozen people are jogging, running, or walking north on Midland Avenue, spread out over about over a quarter mile. Many, but not all, are wearing blinking LEDs, reflective vests, and the like, but they’re ALL in the street, not on the sidewalk. Sometimes the joggers are three and four abreast, taking up almost half of the width of the avenue.

Consequently, I have to drive down the middle of the street, and then edge between oncoming (northbound) traffic and the danger-loving runners. I am seriously concerned that someone will hit one of these people. I’m even more concerned that it might be me!

The group of harriers to which he refers meets at Fleet Feet on Thursdays night for a group run. Many in the group belong to the Essex Running Club, but some are beginners or people looking to return to running as a way to keep in shape. They usually head out on Midland to Edgemont Park and back.

Runners generally don’t run on the sidewalks for three reasons: 1. Most of the sidewalks in Baristaville are in disrepair and dangerous to walk on, let alone run on. 2. Concrete is hard on the joints. 3. If you’re running in a group, it’s difficult for everyone to squeeze onto a narrow sidewalk.

That being said, the author of the email does point out some valid safety concerns. I asked John Fabbro, owner of Fleet Feet, to provide me with some safety tips for runners. He and one of his assistants, Gail Komm, who runs a half-marathon training program at Fleet Feet, suggest the following:

Dress to be seen with reflective gear and lights. Wear reflective materials and bright colors such as white, yellow, orange and florescent greens and pinks so drivers can see you easily early morning, at dusk, and at night. Most running shoes now have reflective materials built into them; however, you can increase your visibility by wearing specially designed running pants, shorts, and/or jackets. To make you even more noticeable and to see the ground, carry a flashlight, or wear knuckle lights and/or headlamp. Flashing lights can also be used to make you noticeable. Having 360° visibility is optimal. If you wear lights, have one for the front and back of your body, or consider a reflective vest. Reflective vests range in style, comfort and price. Other reflective accessories are available such as arm and ankle bands.

Safety in Numbers. If possible, exercise with a friend or organized run group/club. With two or more people, be considerate if running in the streets. Run single file while cars are passing and try to avoid running more than 2 abreast or what a wide shoulder will allow.

Plan your route and tell someone where you will be. Before heading out, inform a friend or household mate of your route and approximate time you are expected to be gone. Maybe even leave a map. There are various online sites with mapping features such as mapmyrun.com or gmaps.com pedometer. If you have a Garmin GPS watch, upload your data to their free online site and print a map of your route.

Carry a cell phone and identification at all times. A cell phone is valuable to have should you need to contact police immediately, have an emergency, or simply cannot finish your run. A variety of accessories are available to easily and comfortably carry cell phones while running such as a Spybelt or Fuel Belt pouch. Sport armbands are great for iPhones and Droids. If you do not like wearing pouches or armbands, consider purchasing a running top or bottom with a zip pocket. In addition to a cell phone, it’s highly recommend wearing ID with key information of name, phone number and emergency medical information. This can be in the form of a driver’s license, Road ID (company dedicated to making shoe and bracelet ID’s) or placed in a shoe pocket (which often can fit a key, too).

Know your role as a pedestrian/runner. Understand there are others on the road that may not be visible to you and conversely, they may not be able to see you. Use caution in crosswalks, especially when crossing streets. Stop at lights and curbs to look both ways, ensuring there is no oncoming traffic, cyclists or runners darting out in front of you. Don’t assume drivers can see you even if you are geared up in reflective gear; however, motorists should not presume the crosswalk is empty. We should all take responsibility when it comes to sharing the roads and be conscientious of each other. Obeying all traffic laws. Run against traffic so you can see oncoming cars. Avoid parked cars, bushes, and buses along the road, in addition to busy roads and those with no shoulders or sidewalks along the side. Familiarize yourself with right-of-way laws. According to New Jersey State law, motorists who see pedestrian(s) in marked crosswalks MUST stop: www.nj.gov/oag/hts/pedestrian.html. And remember, just because you are familiar with who has the right-of-way, do not assume the motorists are.

Don’t wear headphones. Listening to music not only distracts your attention, it also decreases your ability to hear oncoming traffic or sounds which signify potential danger. Save the headphones for the gym.

Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Stay alert, looking around to steer clear of suspicious people. Follow your gut instinct. If you think you’re being followed, change direction and head toward a safe place. Keep your key readily available to get into your house quickly. Avoid unpopulated areas, poorly lit or deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Change your route periodically so someone else does not become familiar with your exercise habits, and be familiar with which businesses (if any) are open where you can go for help in case of an emergency. Don’t wear jewelry or items that may pose you as a target for robbery. If you need to carry money, a great place to keep it hidden is in your shoe underneath the sock liner.

Love to run or want to start? We’ve got a $25 gift certificate courtesy of Fleet Street for one lucky reader. Tell us what you need to buy in comments and we’ll pick one reader at random.

77 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:32 am

    They shouldn’t run in the street. It’s unsafe and illegal. I’d like to see more enforcement of jaywalking laws.

  2. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    If you’re running in a group, it’s difficult for everyone to squeeze onto a narrow sidewalk.

    In other words, when running in a group it is easier to spread out over the street?

    Know your role as a pedestrian…

    This would include using the sidewalks not the street.

    I think Montclair transplant is rightly incredulous. This post isn’t helping.

  3. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    Tired of living? Sidewalks are often very uneven, mostly from the effects of tree roots over time. Any sane runner will wear some form of reflective material and lighter colored clothing when it is dark, but some don’t and they are beyond foolish.

  4. POSTED BY sadie07  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:40 am

    I was very glad to see this post. The running in the street around here drives me crazy, mostly because the the majority of the runners I’ve encountered (not every runner)seem to think that it’s their right to take up half the street when what they are doing is in fact illegal.
    And let’s not be silly. Yes, concrete is hard on the joints, but the pavement isn’t that much better. It’s not like the roads are made of track rubber.

  5. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    It’s an all to common occurrence in out selfish society. If it’s inconvenient for you or unpleasant for you to abide by laws and rules of safety, just do what you want and make the rest of the world accommodate YOU.

    It reminds me of the person who applies nail polish while on the train. She’s obviously too harried to do it at home and too bad for the people who have to smell it on the train. They can just move, right?

  6. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:42 am

    It’s an all too common occurrence in our selfish society…

  7. POSTED BY stephenschuckman  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    Not just runners, but also those on bicycles. Too often I observe three to four abreast in car lanes, no signals, running red lights, crossing lanes and riding against traffic. If Montclair or any community wants to be bike-friendly, then those on bikes must follow the rules.

  8. POSTED BY townie  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Motorists, cyclists, runners and walkers all share the roads and need to accommodate one another and be in less of a hurry, less self-involved, and less self-righteous.

    We all veer into the middle of the road to avoid runners and bicyclists who could be closer to the curb, but aren’t. Same for doubleparked vehicles and potholes, errant garbage cans and fallen branches. On foot we stumble on uneven pavement and on deteriorated and dangerous bluestone. All these practices and conditions are regulated. Property owners should maintain flat sidewalks, trim dead branches overhanging past their property line and promptly bring in their emptied garbage cans. Government should repair potholes, motorists shouldn’t doublepark, runners should be on sidewalks, bicyclists off sidewalks. The list is endless.

    More government can’t be the answer; more tolerance must be. We need to self-police. This is not to say one shouldn’t speak up when behavior is particularly egregious. And let’s not lose perspective that somehow this is a new thing. These kinds of issues are as old as humanity.

  9. POSTED BY the28thfish  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    This town is known for this foolish behavior. It really drives me crazy particularly because drivers have rights just as much as bikers and runners. Ridgewood avenue is probably the most popular street to run on, and the most dangerous. I am extremely alarmed to see a jogger running on Ridgewood in the middle of the street, pitch black, with the inadequate street lighting. What is a driver supposed to do, drive in the opposite lane to accommodate you? I am an avid runner and I find the sidewalk on Park Street to be pretty accommodating for my needs and safety.

  10. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:49 am

    “Property owners should maintain flat sidewalks, trim dead branches overhanging past their property line and promptly bring in their emptied garbage cans.” No disrespect, but this will happen when monkeys fly out of, well you know… Trees on the median are the responsibility of the town, btw, and perhaps if people weren’t being bled white by taxes, they might sport for something as far down the list as sidewalk maintenance, although I’m not entirely sure what the homeowners responsibility is in that regard. My neighbor’s sidewalk has been an accident waiting to happen for as long as I can remember. It looks more like a surrealist sculpture than something designed to walk on.
    I bike, walk, and run, but I don’t do any of these things in traffic. Sure, people want to work out when they get home and that’s great, but for the love of god don’t dress like a Ninja. As far as pedestrians go, make your intentions clear to motorists and they should stop. Don’t just jump in front of a moving car. That’s unfair to even the most well intentioned driver. And to the black clad woman getting off of the DeCamp bus on Grove St. the other night, simply walking into traffic at night, in the rain, dressed in black, 100ft from the crosswalk is plain stupid, jaywalking, and eventually going to get you an ambulance ride.

  11. POSTED BY aphnne  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I understand as a driver why it can seem foolish for runners to be in the street, I also understand as a runner the options are very limited. It’s dark before work and it’s dark after work. The side walks are so uneven even with a headlight it’s impossible to run on them. We all just have to do the best we can. I could certainly use $25 towards a brighter colored jacket for this dark season!

  12. POSTED BY arch  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:56 am

    1. I guess I need to get some reflective gear & like the idea of knuckle lights or arm/ankle bands.
    2. I don’t know that I agree with the pedestrian rule about running/walking facing traffic especially on roads with hills or curves.

  13. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    (the prof runs on the sidewalk- streets are far too dangerous…)

    My command post in the library of my Palatial Estate in UPPER Montclair overlooks Grove Street. And it is not uncommon to see runners hugging the white line– choosing to run closer to traffic, rather than the curb.

    Methinks like teenagers oblivious to death, runners don’t think they will get hit.

    But are always surprised when it happens.

  14. POSTED BY overthinkingmontclair  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    Agreed, the runners in this town are outrageous. Especially the ones, some older than me, who come right up from behind and pass me. Also the ones who seem to have time to run when I’m stuck driving. And don’t get me started on those with the fortitude and energy to run in the cold, the rain and those wee early hours when I wish for a return to my cozy bed.

  15. POSTED BY mandy939  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    I run, and I run on the street…BUT close to the curb, and when I can on sidewalks. If you are running on the street because concrete is bad on your joints, may I suggest Mills Reservation, where I also run…because there are no cars…or Brookdale for that matter. I suppose there are also dogs off leash which is another topic, but if you go at the right time, you won´t run into too many. WHY runners choose to run on Grove Street is beyond me. How about Montclair Ave? Side streets? Park is safer as well. The pedestrians and runners in Montclair with their holier than thou “I´m not in an evil car destroying the environment like you are” attitude is DANGEROUS.

  16. POSTED BY gwenorel  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    I can see why runners would prefer the streets but they should, like bicycles, stay in a lane– i.e., single (or at most double) file. That makes it less social for them, but more reasonable for drivers and for everyone else.

  17. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Why does it seem to me like last year this thread would have been all about the inconsiderate and evil motorists?

  18. POSTED BY kay  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:48 am

    May I ask why run on any street or sidewalk, when you can run in peace at Brookdale? Or Edgemont, or Anderson? Either on the track or along the paths? Granted, you might have to get in your car to go there… anyway, just wondering.

    Also I would like to respectfully suggest to bikers of all skill levels that riding on Upper Mountain at any point north of Normal is pretty crazy. Cars barely have enough room to maneuver that curve atop the hill into Little Falls, and when you add the Bus into the mix it just seems downright dangerous. It is blind, curvy, and narrow. You wouldn’t catch me dead out there on a bike (well, actually, I might be, indeed.) In the interest of self-preservation, perhaps pick another place to ride!

  19. POSTED BY CMEinmontclair  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    I run but usually on the sidewalks (and just watch for uneven patches) or if there is a side section painted out — I actually am scared to run in the street for fear someone will be looking at their phone or radio and hit me. And often I just go in my basement on the treadmill. FYI runners, be really careful on Normal going up and down that hill — there are a lot of blind spots and even people walking to and from the train I feel someone is going to be hit one of these days.

  20. POSTED BY mandy939  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    I´ve spent LOTS of time in Germany, and I am actually here now. Here we bike in bike lanes, on streets approved for biking. The street I am on now for example, is not, as it is too narrow. So, you must get off your bike and walk it on the sidewalk. And, people do. Is it a hassle? Yes. But your alternative is a bike friendly street. And some people do. Perhaps that might be a solution for Upper Mountain north of Normal and the like. Also, pedestrians MUST cross at the crosswalk, and WITH the light. And they do. If you have to stop if you are in a car, why doesn´t that apply to pedestrians in Montclair???? Germany is arguably one of the most bike and pedestrian friendly countries in the world. The rules, when followed, work. Side note: running in streets is NOT permitted.

  21. POSTED BY the28thfish  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    I totally agree with CMEinMontclair about the whole Brookdale Park bit. This area is in no way deprived of beautiful parks that are totally suitable to run in. If the sidewalks hurt your knees, then use the running track at BDP.

  22. POSTED BY kay  |  January 26, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    ps. when I had bike training as a child, the local SoCal PD specifically told us that groups of bikers must ride single file – two-abreast was against the law. (Not sure if that’s still the case.)

  23. POSTED BY lucinda  |  January 26, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    I live on Midland and although I don’t encounter runners Mon-Fri because I get home from work too late, they pretty much take over the street early Sat and Sun mornings. I’m all for exercise but, guys, can you at least move over a little so I’m not driving in the middle of the street to avoid hitting you?

  24. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  January 26, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    I know seniors in Montclair who will walk in the street, usually at night, to avoid tripping on the uneven, often flagstone, sidewalks.

  25. POSTED BY DagT  |  January 26, 2012 @ 12:54 pm

    Obama needs to get involved. Since he advocates the European redistribution of money and it’s so called safety net perhaps he can champion the European pedestrian friendly roads for us as well.

  26. POSTED BY scs_in_nj  |  January 26, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

    The sidewalks on Midland Ave. and in many areas of Montclair are dangerous to run on – even walk on – at night due to jagged ups and downs from tree roots, etc. I have walked on the shoulder at night in that area not only because the sidewalks are bad but also because it is so dark (street lights obscured by leaves) that you can barely see.
    And if I had $25 to spend at Fleet Street, I would get something reflective or some kind of lights.

  27. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    I was curious if such an ordinance against running on public streets existed so I called the Montclair Police Department. I was referred to the Township of Montclair web site, specifically the section on ordinances. I typed in several keywords and while dozens and dozens of ordinances about township streets popped up, none of them referred to runners specifically. If someone who knows of such an ordinance can post it here, it would be greatly appreciated.

  28. POSTED BY floyd  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

    I’m a street runner (Highland Ave, early a.m.). I typically see a few cars on my morning runs. I pray to the lord I haven’t terribly inconvenienced them with my wanton trespass. I’m grateful for that long, quiet street. I run against traffic, and I never let a car pass from behind without making sure it hasn’t tracked over to my lane. I’m ready to shrub-dive at any moment. If I had money to spend on running safety, I’d love an LED arm band or similar. I love running in the street and have no intention of stopping.

  29. POSTED BY newhere  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

    I sometimes run — well, jog — well, stagger — on the road, always wear reflective and always near the curb. I see many other who do not. I also see many drivers exceeding the speed limit. We take our kids in the stroller on the sidewalks, except where they are absolutely impassable. If everyone were more courteous — keeping closer to the curb, driving closer to the speed limit — we’d all be safer, and might even be happier.

    Also if you get on the train in the morning commuting hours and sit right down on the aisle seat of an empty three-seater you are being a jerk.

  30. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

    It’s a state law MM.

    http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/39-motor-vehicles-and-traffic-regulation/4-34.html

    “Where sidewalks are provided it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.”

  31. POSTED BY boonanas  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    I LITERALLY run several miles everyday, I could use a pair of running gloves, so I could use that gift certificate.

    I also prefer to use the sidewalk as I wear headphones (I can’t run without them).

  32. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    Brookdale Park is a terrific place to run. We are so lucky to have it in our community. All the more strange to see people running along the most traffic choked roads in town, i.e. Grove St. and Valley Rd.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there is some subset of pedestrians that are simply hostile to vehicular traffic. Either that of they have some sort of psychological issues. How else could one explain arbitrarily stepping in front of a car going 35 mph, with little if any warning, or simply stepping off of the curb just to make a driver stop, even if the road is entirely clear behind them?

  33. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    My wife’s friend was hit by a bus when running in NYC while wearing headphones. Three children. She’s lucky to be alive. Distracted, and stepped into it’s path. Never heard it coming….

  34. POSTED BY floyd  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

    I run with headphones, but I only listen to podcasts (talk, not music). Volume doesn’t need to be loud, the sound isn’t continuous, and if you use the right type of headphones (no sound cancelling, active or passive) you can hear cars nearly as well as anyone.

  35. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

    I leave the headphones home unless I am running with someone AND running in a place where I don’t have to worry about traffic (such as a park). Women, especially, should not run with headphones if they are alone since they may not hear someone come up behind them.

    When I run in the street, I always run next to the curb and facing traffic. I don’t usually run when it’s dark out because it’s hard to see the condition of the road (i.e., potholes, debris). And yes, you have got to pay attention to your surroundings.

    I also adhere to the stop signs. I stop at the red light, slow down at the yellow. I never try and rush the light.

    In all the years I’ve been running, I never had a bad encounter with motorist. I have, however, had MANY near-misses with bicycle delivery persons in NYC, as a pedestrian. They almost never follow traffic rules.

  36. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 1:55 pm

    Also MM. In Montclair’s ordinances.

    IF there are not sidewalks (i.e.. legal by state law to run) then the following:

    § 196-2
    Construal.
    This chapter shall not be construed to permit jogging where prohibited by any law of the State of New Jersey.
    § 196-3
    Reflective material.
    It shall be unlawful to jog on any public thoroughfare, road or way which is used by motor vehicles during the hours of darkness without wearing reflective material. Such material shall be worn between the waist and shoulders on the front and back of the person jogging and shall give an indication of the jogger’s presence through reflected light from the headlamp beams of motor vehicles at a distance of at least 500 feet.
    § 196-4
    Single-file formation.
    It shall be unlawful for any two or more persons to jog side by side or abreast of each other, and not in single file, on any public thoroughfare, road or way which is used by motor vehicles.
    § 196-5
    Violations and penalties.
    Editor’s Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
    Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon the first conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding $25 and, upon any subsequent conviction, by a fine not exceeding $1,000.

    http://www.ecode360.com/MO0769

  37. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    I’m sure MM that many of those who speed on local streets or roll through stops also look carefully and do it as safely as possible.

    I almost hit a runner on Ridgewood avenue. I was turning right onto Ridgewood and they were running in the street against traffic, i.e. the lane i was turning into. I looked right saw no one on the sidewalk (the runner, was behind a tree), I looked left and saw no car in my intended lane and started to turn when out from the tree they came and nearly into my bumper. I saw them and slammed on the break. Thank goodness no one was hurt. Frankly I didn’t need the scowl from the jaywalking runner, but that’s beside the point. It’s dangerous to run in the streets. That’s why it’s against the law.

  38. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    I haven’t seen this much irony since last night’s Colbert Report.

    Floyd, you knucklehead, it’s not a matter of lazy drivers wanting their convenience. You’re the one who is breaking the law and engaging in unsafe behavior. If, god forbid, something were to happen, which I hope never comes to pass, but if it did, you’re the one that’s going to give, not the fender. Maybe you don’t care about your own well being, but what about the well being of the poor driver, who would have to live with having hurt or killed someone (as thick-headed as he may be).

  39. POSTED BY floyd  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    ROC, I appreciate that you’re bringing these laws into the discussion in the name of public safety. However, are you aware of any town that actually attempts to enforce these rules? Are you suggesting that Montclair start ticketing people on their morning jog?

  40. POSTED BY floyd  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    Walleroo, I get your point. File me under “doing what he loved.”

  41. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    Agreed, Floyd. It’s really all about common sense. “Why can’t we all get along?” is trite, but true, in this case. There’s a place for everyone, just be respectful! I will continue to exercise my right to exercise until the day comes when I can’t do it any longer.

  42. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    Maybe Montclair’s motto should be “Run Free or Die.”

    I say this despite realizing that it may only encourage them…

  43. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    I just noticed that sadie’s post was featured comment–deservedly so, in my opinion.

  44. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 26, 2012 @ 2:52 pm

    There’s a place for everyone, just be respectful!

    That’s what I say to myself whenever it’s handy to drive north up the southbound lane of the GSP. “Just be respectful, walleroo, of those cars coming towards you at 140 mph…”

  45. POSTED BY Anthony  |  January 26, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    I lived on Midland ave for a while, if you haven’t walked on the sidewalks there it is in insane, in some parts the sidwalk will dip down and raise up a good 10 inches, running on these sidewalks is very dangerous as well. I would just recommend avoid jogging on Mdland Ave

  46. POSTED BY runner101  |  January 26, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    First, it isn’t illegal to run in the road provided you are running on the left side of the street and following the rules.

    Second, the sidewalks are unbelievable. I am a runner in Montclair and do the best I can to stay away from cars both for my safety and theirs. In broad daylight, I ran on the sidewalks and fell twice within 2 blocks from my apartment, once ended up in the ER. I think I’ll take my chances with cars, I really have no choice.

    The parks are crowded with children, dogs (and leashes which I trip over) and I need to dodge people out for a nice stroll and it’s not fair to them. Also, Brookdale is VERY poorly lit in twilight and the dark. I got ran over by a bicycle who was illegally riding on the path around the park in twilight once. Being my 3rd accident on the sidewalk, again I’ll stick to the road.

    I also drive on the road and am annoyed when runners are inconsiderate and do not pay attention to traffic at all.

    The only solution that is FREE is for both drivers and runners to be courteous and respectful of each other. Or repair every single inch of sidewalk in the entire town and keep the strollers, dogs and kids off of the sidewalk (which is obviously impossible).

    Whether I run, bike or drive I follow the rules at all times. I KNOW the rules for running and biking, when and how to signal, what side of the road to be on, etc… Perhaps education is the answer. If everyone is aware of the laws, then there is no reason to outlaw runners from the road or anyone from anywhere.

  47. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  January 26, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    Well said, Runner 101.

  48. POSTED BY grgirl  |  January 26, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

    I run in the street. You can’t run on sidewalks in GR, especially not in the dark early morning. I also listen to my ipod. That said I run against traffic on side streets and keep close to the curb. I watch runners in my town on Ridgewood Rd constantly taking chances by sticking too close to white line or not running against traffic. Some of us live too far from a park to due a week morning run there but if you must run on the road then please act responsibly for yourself and drivers – why risk it?

  49. POSTED BY gifro220  |  January 26, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

    People who traffic laced roads should observe or maybe acknowledge the scientific superiority complex of the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Reckless abandonment, inferiority complexes, and megalomaniac symptoms aside healthy living supersedes any character or spirit of endurance and ethics when the construct is built upon what often appears to be a silly display of posing, preening, strutting. I had not included the possibility that the motivation behind some of the participants may be libido driven, however there should be no comparison made, neither are the glares received by myself and others who simply desire to pass by their street corner congregation. And if any of the congregations wishes to direct their attention to an appropriate medium, be that a formal road race for people who do not wish to compete with vehicles, there are servicemen and some people of European and African descent that will remove themselves from the treadmill and whop some class, all glares aside. I’ve got all the elitist outdoor gear I need, there is a time and place for everything.

  50. POSTED BY gifro220  |  January 26, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    People who run on. IDK, LOL

  51. POSTED BY cathar  |  January 26, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

    The best indication of the gassy thumb-twiddling that often characterizes this site is that this (lengthy!, as if written by a politician) post has so far attracted some 50 posts in reply.

    But, oddly enough (and so goes the thumb-twiddling), very few say anything much different than any others. The good prof’s post is probably best. It’s certainly the funniest.

    Still, 50 posts? Everyone is truly that concerned over this one?

  52. POSTED BY floyd  |  January 26, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

    Apparently, it’s a polar topic. For people who run, it’s important to run. I’m surprised by the intolerance expressed by some. As long as the runner is visible and running a steady path, all you have to do is slow down a little if the road is tight.
    I really think a lot of the no-street lobby is all about a few seconds’ loss on their drive. There really is enough room for everyone if consideration is given.

  53. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 26, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    ” Are you suggesting that Montclair start ticketing people on their morning jog?”

    Yes, if they’re running in the street. We should ticket speeders and people who run stop signs too, absolutely.

    “First, it isn’t illegal to run in the road provided you are running on the left side of the street and following the rules.”

    Incorrect. It’s illegal when there are sidewalks present.

    “There’s a place for everyone, just be respectful! I will continue to exercise my right to exercise until the day comes when I can’t do it any longer.”

    May we never hear from you again any criticism of people driving in an illegal fashion. Because, really, it’s no different.

    People shouldn’t run in the street. It’s illegal and unsafe. The justifications offered here are just the same entitled me-generation excuses so prevalent in our self-centered society.

  54. POSTED BY PAZ  |  January 26, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    Much ado about……The same old story.
    First they came after the bicyclists.
    Then they came after the runners.
    What’s next??… I’ll tell you, let’s get those left turning schmoes on Ave. B!! Why can’t they just keep their cars going straight?? Get out of my way! I’m on a suicide run to Rt.46!
    PAZ still in FLL

  55. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

    This is the thread that keeps on giving.

  56. POSTED BY PAZ  |  January 26, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    I can’t give anymore tonight. This hotel’s wi-fi is soooooo slowww I can’t take it! Stay away from the Harbor beach Marriott unless you’re on vacation but if you’re working? It’s phoooey!

    And while we’re on the subj of pet peeves, what about those guys who throw their paper towels behind the exit door of the men’s room because their afraid of getting germs on their pristine hands. Give me a friggin’ break! Take it with you and throw it into a can.
    Ladies, do the women do the same thing??
    Good night,
    I’m coming back to my own personal paradise tomorrow.
    Hail & farewell from FLL.

  57. POSTED BY Tudlow  |  January 26, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

    I don’t remember the last time I was annoyed by a runner when I was in my automobile. It’s so bizarre to read all these posts tinged with anger at runners. What is the world coming to for God’s sake? Isn’t there something a little more worthwhile (and warranted) to be angry about? Oh, those damn law-breaking runners.

    The one funny thing about this thread is ROC lambasting posters for being, of all things, selfish. Ha!

  58. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 27, 2012 @ 12:24 am

    Oh there are lots of funny things about this thread. Runner101 saying he never breaks the rules and calling for education. Overthinking complaining about the older runners passing her (I think). Floyd declaring no intention of stopping. The list goes on. The only one who is not funny, really, is ROC.

    It’s gratifying that after all these many years, the Baristas have been able to find still one more emotional button to push that gets people going.

  59. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  January 27, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    This thread has gotten me so stressed out that I need to go out for a run to unwind.

    Seriously, if doing a sport that has helped keep me healthy, helped me to meet so many great friends and running companions–not to mention my husband–makes me “selfish,” so be it. We “selfish” runners also do trail cleanups twice a year and help raise money for charitable organizations and people in need through our club.

    So find somewhere else to direct your wrath, perhaps, drug dealers, shady politicians, pedophiles, animal abusers…the list is long.

  60. POSTED BY Right of Center  |  January 27, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    Some runners (like some drivers in cars) are only acting selfisly when they are putting themselves and others at risk by violating traffic laws for the sake of their own convenience.

  61. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 27, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    What gives me so much pleasure in this thread is the display of denial and justifying among the runners, who apparently have no sense of irony. Nobody is saying that runners are selfish, that running is morally wrong, that runners aren’t good citizens. Just that when runners run in the streets, they do so in violation of the law and often unsafely. This seems to me to be pretty much a statement of fact rather than of moral judgement or anger.

  62. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 27, 2012 @ 9:21 am

    Runner 101, perhaps you should consider a treadmill, and maybe some sort of helmet, football equipment, whatever. Here are some easy hints: Eyes open, and one foot in front of the other!

    Gifro220, Not quite sure what the point is, but you can free associate with the best of them!

  63. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 27, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    I run, and I feel good about it, obviously because I’m a morally bankrupt sociopath.

  64. POSTED BY grgirl  |  January 27, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    I agree that runners should be more thoughtful that said I have lost track on how many times i have almost been run over trying to cross Bloomfield Ave. I hate Bloomfield Ave not because of runners, bikers, walkers but because NJ drivers are the most aggressive selfish and unsafe idiots out there – tit for tat

  65. POSTED BY stu  |  January 27, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    I think runners should only be able to run in the street if they are accompanied by an unleashed dog.

  66. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 27, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    There’s also probably someone chasing you, deadeye.

  67. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 27, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Had an invigorating run this morning. Saw the weather, and there there was no holding back. Loaded up some Black Flag on the iPod, popped in the earphones, roused Incubus and Charon, my Pit Bull and Caucasian Shepherd, and tore off down the middle of the road with those two little rascals yapping at my heels.

  68. POSTED BY DagT  |  January 27, 2012 @ 11:14 am

    During my running years it never occured to me that I was a law breaker. I am now being punished for my crimes. My joints remind me daily of those years that I pounded those illegal streets.

  69. POSTED BY jcunningham  |  January 27, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    “” Are you suggesting that Montclair start ticketing people on their morning jog?”

    Yes, if they’re running in the street.”

    —thanks ROC!! remember this the next time these Tea Baggers start talking about their utter devotion to “small government” that doesn’t impact people’s daily lives.

  70. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  January 27, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    Miss M, as often happens here and in other e-forums, the strong voices of a minority can dominate a conversation and make it seem like they represent the majority.

    I may be wrong, but I think most of us who are not runners don’t mind sharing the road with bikers, runners and walkers, as long as they behave reasonably.

  71. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  January 27, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    Very true, SSP.

  72. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 27, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

    I’m organizing a “Fried Three Race to the Bottom” 2K. The race will be run entirely in traffic, which is perfectly safe owing to our recently implemented Complete Streets initiative and the course will be run entirely downhill. Proceeds will be donated to build a Plofkerville of primitive hovels on the Wildwood tract, to which we can hopefully attract a plethora economically disadvantaged people, drug addicts, and sex offenders that will drain public services and pay taxes at a far lower rate than less diverse members of the community, but who will benefit in some yet to be determined way from rubbing elbows with their new neighbors. We have set the entry fees at $10, however this is likely to increase exponentially between now and race time given our utter lack of facility with numbers and other attendant issues of fairness, priorities, etc. In the spirit of true progressivism, there will be no winners. Everyone will be a proud participant! And yes, everyone will be left “holding the bag” both literally and figuratively since all runners will receive hair shirts and fiberglass running shorts.

  73. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 27, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    You’re high on endorphins, deadeye.

    Dag, be careful, the statue of limitations may not have run out.

  74. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  January 27, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

    the streets belong to the people!

  75. POSTED BY butterfly  |  January 27, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    The rules in Germany reg. Bikes are very clear (see Straßenverkehrsordnung (StVO) ). If there is a separate bike lanes, its up to the biker to choose it. Unless bikes are verboten on specific roads (eg. too narrow), Bikers can ride on all roads and are regular traffic participants as are cars etc. Note, that the biker does not MUST bike on a bike lane.
    The key point is that roads are a shared resource. Now, this is also the law here in the states and NJ, but most people either don’t know it or choose to ignore it. Similar to overtaking on the right, the infamous NJ-left and other un-enforced infractions which are so common here about.

  76. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 27, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    I like the Dutch approach to thorny traffic issues best. Simply remove all signage. The resulting confusion will force drivers to slow down and be much more circumspect. No kidding.

  77. POSTED BY saeng22  |  January 27, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    Not until few years ago when I began to walk regularly that I noticed Montclair is not a walk-friendly town. Some property has no sidewalk, and others, are cracked-up or uneven. I almost sprain my ankle at one of my walks so I started to walk on the side of the sidewalk. I can’t believe a town like Montclair can’t provide a decent sidewalk for their residents to walk or run.

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