Thursday, December 3, 2009

Road Rules

Runner’s World brought some attention to an article that recently ran in a Boston paper, I believe it was the Globe. To sum it up, a guy got banned from running in a New Hampshire town because he refused to stop running on the roads and behaved badly when the cops pestered him. What really caught my attention, and Runner’s World’s attention, was all the readers comments on the article. The comments, from mostly non-runners, shouldn’t shock me.
As a runner, who occasionally ventures out onto the roads, most drivers feel like they shouldn’t have to share the roads with anyone, let alone runners and they find ways to get that point across on a regular basis. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to stop and collect myself because an a$$hole driver made a point to hug the curb and almost clipped me with a mirror. Luckily I don’t typically run with an iPod and am hyperaware of traffic while running on the roads.
Just a couple months ago on a bike ride a guy came flying by me and a couple friends on a country road, again making a point to hug the burm. His mirror nearly caught my handlebar and would have put me in the hospital for sure if it did. I barely kept the bike on the road and almost ended up in a ditch. If he would have hit me I might have ended up under his vehicle or at best on the pavement, which wouldn’t have been pretty traveling at 20+ miles per hour clipped into a bike. I guess the guy made his point, I just wish he wouldn’t have put my health at risk to do so. I was so mad that if he had pulled into a driveway or had stopped his car it would have taken every ounce of composure I had to not kick his a$$ or at least get beat to hell trying…

So obviously I have my opinions on the topic. I’ll try and stay out of your way if you try and respect my right to be on the road too.

Feel free to read the article at,

Here are just a few of the 200+ comments (and my comments to each below). There are so many that I don’t have time to read them all but you’ll get the idea.

stinkinmuck wrote:
Maybe the police should worry about the people in their cars rather than someone running. I've been hit by rear view mirrors three times, had things thrown at me, been sworn at and almost run over many, many times despite being conscientious and staying as close to the side of the road as possible when I run. Some drivers just don't want to share the road with anyone and it sounds like the police in Portsmith don't either.

MP: big fear of mine as well. If we’re all courteous of one another I think we can all “share the road.”

alleydweller wrote:
(commenting on stinkinmuck’s post) Best argument for keeping joggers off the streets and roads which were designed and built for VEHICULAR traffic. Go to your local high school and do laps around the track. No. I don't want to "share" the road with you; you sound like an accident waiting to happen.

MP: I’m lucky to be able to do most of my longer runs on a path, but imagine doing a 20+ mile run on a track…

dougzinboston wrote:
Unless he's jogging in the middle of the road, I thought the heirarchy (sic) of the road began with people, bikes THEN cars. Am I wrong? I understand about issues with blocking traffic, but if people are aggrevated (sic) with him because they constantly have to go around him, that is too bad. They aren't having to pass around an 18 wheeler and a crew, it's a person. I bet the people complaining are big fatties who can't jog like him nevermind (sic) run around town shirtless.

MP: maybe I’m wrong but doesn’t the pedestrian have the right away? Or is that only in a crosswalk. I honestly don’t know.

CityCity wrote:
If he's a "jogger" that means he's a pedestrian and, legally and from a common sense perspective, should not be ANYWHERE on the road. Pedestrians are supposed to be on the sidewalk.
This looks to me like another holier than thou runner blocking traffic and giving a hard time to people trying to actually drive on the street. No shortage of them in Boston.

MP: alright, chime in people. Are we legally aloud to run in the road? Who has the right of way?

voicemania wrote:
this guy is like most of the hollow-eyed obsessive exercise narcisists (sic) running the roads of America; runnning (sic) out some deep, dark trauma and pain, traffic be damned.

MP: I think he got his point across, he’s not a fan of running, or probably exercise in general. Deep dark trauma, ha! Running is therapeutic for sure, but that doesn’t mean I’m running away from anything…

Robo84 wrote:
Stay out of the road or pay the penalty. Simple as that. This same guy will be suing the town if he got hit by a car while jogging.
Act like an idiot and get treated like one. This isn't a story...this is a man craving attention.

MP: I won’t debate that I’m an idiot, but should there BE a penalty for running on the roads?

canaqua wrote:
…The entitlement attitude that many people acquire as soon as they get behind the wheel should be discouraged, not encouraged. Yes, people and bicycles can be in the road, except on state highways like 95, 2, etc...and there are signs posted there specifically saying so.

MP: Amen. Driving is a privilege not a right, that’s why you have to get a license.

OldDude3 wrote:
Oh.....look at me run....look at me run. I'm better than you....look at me run. There are hundreds of places to run in solitude and safety but alot (sic) of runners crave the same attention that the d-bags who write on their laptops in coffeeshops (sic) do.

MP: alright, I got to admit this one’s pretty funny. Yes, we run ALONE on the roads because we’re starved for attention. If I was starved for attention I’d go a bar in a pink polo shirt with the collar popped, or something…

spartan112 wrote:
Teddy Bikes absolutely belong on the road. They are a vehicle and thus do not belong on the sidewalk. I bike 100+ miles a week during the spring and summer months and have not had a problem other than being heckled by motorists. If you're concerned about the safety of cyclists how about getting off your cell phone and focusing on the road? As for runners, while the sidewalk can be safer it is generally not as evenly paved as a road and many times it's made of concrete which is much less forgiving on feet, knees, ankles, etc. Also, if I remember correctly downtown Portsmouth has very narrow sidewalks that provide barely enough room for two people to pass so he'd likely be more of an annoyance or safety issue there than on the street as long as he is running against traffic as he should.

MP: Amen. The first comment about DRIVERS having a little responsibility to look out for the safety of others.

silverbulletman wrote:
stinkinmuck.....runners and bicyclists alike do not belong on the roads. The roads are for automobiles and most roads that you idiots run and bike on aren't wide enough for autos and you fools at the same time. So I say, run at your own risk. If my SUV mirror clips you, then quit running on the road. There are indoor and outdoor tracks and trails for this activity.

MP: first you call me an idiot, then a fool, and then you admit no guilt for hitting runners with your SUV mirror? This guy’s a piece of work!

1234GBB wrote:
As a habit, I run for good health. But also being a driver, I know when and where to run. Not only for my own safety, but for the well being of all the drivers on the road as well. After all, as many have said, the roads were designed and built for vehicular traffic and not a jogging path. (Why there are no regulations about keeping pedestrians out of the roads when it is dark in this over regulated society is beyond me)...anyway,
I drive my commute to and from work in the dark (not figuratively, literally) and travel the unlit suburban backroads with a keen eye looking for the invisible human that think they have every god given right to jog down the middle of this dark road at five in the morning without so much as a reflector on their jogging shoes. Throw in a little rain or drizzle and the occasional oncoming cars headlights and that my friend IS an accident just waiting to happen......and it will be the driver of the car at fault. Go figure.
If you run, use your head and run when and where it is safe to do so. The life you save may be your own.

MP: this guy’s anti-road running but at least he’s eloquent, so I respect his opinion.

AcrossDaPond wrote:
ROADS ARE FOR CARS, not yahoo's running half naked through towns. God, you live in one of the least populated states in the nation, is there not enough park/forest/fields to run in? This guy is just trying to be another "look at me" idoit darting into and out of traffic, prob just waiting for someone on their way to work to hit him so he can sue...

MP: damn, he got me! The only reason I run is so I can sue someone in the event they hit me with their vehicle.

jreagan wrote:
Can we please get back to talking about Tiger Woods or Jon&Kate?

MP: yes. Yes we can. Thanks for your time and if you’re brave enough, your comments.

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