Saturday, January 28, 2012

let's not go to the dogs tonight

There was a mild flap recently about joggers running in the bicycle lane.  Runners in the bicycle lane!  O the horror!  As someone who both bicycles and (occasionally) runs I have an opinion on this and the name of my opinion is.... Really?

As in:

Really?  We're complaining about the safety hazard posed by people running up the street??

I'll take questions now.

Q:  Do you run in the bicycle lane?
A:  No.  I mostly destroyed my ITB by running on hard surfaces.  I run on trails these days.

Q:  Would you run in a bicycle lane if you had not wrecked your ITB?
A:  No.  Being run over by a bicyclist would be unpleasant.  Not fatal (statistically speaking) but nevertheless unpleasant.

Q:  As a bicyclist, do you care if people run in bicycle lanes?
A:  Not really.

Wait, I don't care about runners in bicycle lanes?  Someone who can spend an entire post complaining about people who are still surprised that I bicycle in the rain is not upset about a handful of shlumps staggering up the bicycle lane?  Why do I not care?  How can I not care.

I do not care because smart bicyclists (also bicyclists like myself who are of middling intelligence) keep their eye on the real danger out there and it turns out that the real danger for a bicyclist is not colliding with a runner.  The real danger is being turned into a slab of red, grey and white paste by a city bus.

I care a little about turtles in the bicycle lane because I have to go around them.  I care a little about kids who run into the bicycle lane after evading their parents because I have to swerve around them.  I sometimes have to wend my way around people running and other times I have to wait until I can pass a slow bicyclist.  All of that is just life as we know it as far as I'm concerned.

The day we wipe out the risk of being killed by cars is the day we can turn our complaining little hearts to the non-risks of the bicycling world:  dogs on long leashes, kids biking erratically, and yeah, runners destroying their knees hips and ankles in the bicycle lane.

Until then, if you find yourself with the energy to whine about someone running in the bicycle lane, congratulate yourself and then dial 1-800-DALLAS where they do not even have bicycle lanes.  Yet.


  1. I'm not worried about colliding with the runner, but I am worried about getting creamed by the bus when I try to go around the runner. For a couple of months, they closed the sidewalk on a big bridge I ride on, so runners would just salmon in the bike lane. Simultaneously they'd closed one car lane of the bridge, so the cars were all forced into the lane next to the bike lane, and they're routinely going 40MPH. So it was hairy and annoying to have a runner coming at you, expecting you to swerve into traffic to avoid them. I don't think it was the runner's fault so much as the DOT's for not planning a better detour for the runners, but it was awfully annoying.

    1. When I am stuck behind a runner, or a bicyclist (way more common) I grit my teeth and wait. I don't like waiting but I've come to believe that it is my part of sharing the road. If a runner is heading straight at me I tend to hold my course, not just because I do not wish to swerve into traffic but because the runners may dodge to either side and being steady means I won't dodge into them. A runner coming directly at you I can almost guarantee will get out of the way.

      I agree with annoying. I'm chronically annoyed, unfortunately.