As a person who walks, runs, drives, and now, bikes, up and down some of the same Nashville roads, I feel qualified to offer a few rules for proper etiquette regardless of how one travels. I do not take this list as exhaustive, nor do I think ever rule is beyond question. I do, however, think it to be something of a good start. I welcome amendments, suggestions, and arguments.
1. Stay on the sidewalk. Even if you’re power walking for exercise, the impact on your knees is not as great as that for even the slowest runners. You’ll just jam up any other pathway.
- If you’re walking with a friend or friends, it’s fine to walk side by side. However, one of you needs to move aside when someone walks toward you in the opposite direction. Remember, think of your “extra” walker as being in the passing lane.
- If you’re wearing an iPod, stay to the right. Don’t sway into the left lane, as you’re not going to hear approaching folks.
- If you have a dog walking with you, (A) keep it on a leash, (B) don’t let it wander up to people uninvited—some of us are terrified of even your nice dog, (C) bring a bag to pick up poop.
1. I know the bikers will hate this, but I think you should stay off the sidewalk and either run where the cars park or, if necessary, in the bike lanes. (This is the only exception to the “Runners must never run on paths designated for other purposes [e.g., horse paths]” rule). Concrete is simply too hard on the knees, and runners are simply too dangerous for walkers.
2. However, when running in the bike lanes, be sure to run against traffic so that you can see bikes approaching. This is the only way to make the “runners in the bike lane” equation work.
3. As soon as you see a bike approaching, move to the sidewalk. The cyclist needs to know that you are there to stay; s/he doesn’t have the luxury of waiting until the last minute to decide what you are going to do.
4. Do NOT wear an iPod. You need to be aware of other runners, cars, etc. I saw a cyclist trying to yell at one of you the other day, and you didn’t notice at all. Just kept blindly walking along.
5. Warn others when you are about to pass and do so with enough time so that the other runners will not be frightened.
6. Run in a single file line. The side by side method takes up too much space when done by runners.
- Stay in bike lanes when they’re available; in the street on the edge when not. Take a different route if one requires that you ride on the sidewalk.
- Warn each other when you’re about to pass.
- Make all moves predictable.
1. Stop driving if at all possible. Walk, run, or bike.
2. Be very aware of anyone in the bike lanes.
3. Slow down and drive in a predictable fashion. All the rest of us need to know what you’re up to.