Which side of the road should I run?!

This might seem like a really stupid question, I have been running for over four years and always thought that runners were meant to run on the right hand side of the road, i.e. the same side as walkers - facing on-coming traffic.  However, my boyfriend has told me that I should run on the left - the same way as traffic.  I'm worried now as I do most of my running on rural roads where there are no pavements and need to make sure that I am doing the right thing!  Tried looking it up on the Highway Code website, but can't find anything related to running.  Please help!


  • I think is safer doing as you do- Cars coming from behind are further away from you and you can see cars coming towards you-If they don't see you you can dive into the bushes.  If the HW code said to do the opposite would you do that instead of the safer thing? I will carry on runningn on the RHS regardless.
  • Funny you should mention this since I always thought the same as you, you should face traffic.  I got a right mouthful from a cyclist the other day however who said I was on the 'wrong' side though.  I then heard from someone else that you should always be on the left.  What gives????
  • fat facefat face ✭✭✭

    I always run on the right side of the road whenever there is no pavement. Coming up to a bend in the road, I run on the side that offers the best view around the corner ie if the road bends to the right then I'll cross over to the left so that vehicle drivers can see me earlier and I can see them.

    Keep your wits about you and just be prepared to dive off the road if need be.

    And don't wear an Ipod. 

  • Yeah - I go with FF - keep your wits about you - and I'd make sure I was wearing bright fluo kit in daylight, and if you risk it at night - reflective and flashing lights.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    I don't have the pleasure of running regularly on rural roads unfortunately, but when walking in the past I've always used the right hand side for facing oncoming traffic, and I'll switch over to the other side if a blind (right hand) bend is coming up, i.e. position yourself on the outside of the bend for better forewarning of what's coming towards you.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    ...yeah, what he said!
  • Personally I've never understood why some folks run with their backs to traffic, it's so dangerous. Keep on running facing the oncoming traffic, at least you can see if someone's aiming at you! I've actually had to leap off the road a couple of times in the dim and distant past.
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    I do as FF suggested - on the right, unless you are on a bend where your view (and that of oncoming drivers) would be obscured.

    When there are no cars coming I tend to run more towards the middle, so that I get the best view of any cars that appear, then move nearer the edge when something is coming.

    Runners and walkers are all pedestrians, so I would think the rules would be the same for both.

  • The Highway Code - Rules for pedestrians


    If there is no pavement keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and

     - be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light
     - keep close to the side of the road

    It may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you. Cross back after the bend.

  • SeelaSeela ✭✭✭

    As most said, keep right except on RH bends that are blind.

    And a runner is a pedestrian as far as the highway code is concerned.

  • sheddysheddy ✭✭✭

    Yep, same as FF here too. Perhaps if the right is much more overgrown with bushes etc. whereas the left has more room but otherwise always the RHS except round a sharp right hand corner.

    Running with the traffic coming up behind you, unseen, is much more dangerous surely. 

  • Tom.Tom. ✭✭✭
    As FF says, but on rural roads always be prepared for the unexpected - tractors, combines and other AVs - not to mention inconsiderate car drivers. I usually run a couple of feet from the edge of the road so that if it seems that an oncoming vehicle isn't moving out for me I have somewhere to go.

    An occasional problem encountered when running towards oncoming traffic on a narrow road is when there is another vehicle coming up behind you. This will often cause the car coming towards you to veer to the edge road and slow right down - so be prepared to step into the bushes!
  • Tom.Tom. ✭✭✭
    Incidently if any road user or pedestrian shows you any kind of courtesy always acknowledge it.
  • PSCPSC ✭✭✭

    what WildWill said. 

    Incedentally, non-obeyance of the highway code will count against you God forbid you ever got hit and then took the cyclist/driver to court.  You will be seen as contributing to the accident by not following the code.  The big challenge for runners is that this will mean you are always running on the same side of the camber which can contribute to ITBS and other running ailments. 

    Be safe, be seen!!

  • Thanks everyone for your help.  This is pretty much what I have been doing all this time - find it much safer being on the right and facing oncoming cars, cos I can jump in the hedge if necessary.  I always wear fluorescent gear or at least something white and would never consider running at night.  However, I do commit the cardinal sin of wearing an iPod, but have it turned so low that I can always hear cars from a long way off and am always aware of my surroundings.

    Going to be doing lots of road training as i've got myself a place in the Loch Ness marathon, yipee!  So your advice is much appreciated! image

  • Tom.Tom. ✭✭✭
    Baroness (what is the correct term of address for someone of your rank?), good luck with the training, but ditch the ipodimage
  • Interestingly I have just written a piece for my club newsletter on this.  I contacted the relevant Government Department for advice and this is what I was told:

    Runners are pedestrians and should follow the pedestrian rules in The Highway Code. It may not be safe to run on some narrow or winding roads or roads with poor visibility so any route should be considered carefully and behaviour adjusted accordingly. Ideally, if there is no pavement and people are walking or running on the roads they should follow rule 2 of The Highway Code. However, it may not always be practical or desirable for large groups of people to do so e.g. large groups of people may find it difficult to walk or run in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light. In those circumstances runners should follow rule 5 of the Code.   Rule 2 If there is no pavement, keep to the right-hand side of the road so that you can see oncoming traffic. You should take extra care and
    • Be prepared to walk in single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor light
    • keep close to the side of the road
    It may be safer to cross the road well before a sharp right-hand bend so that oncoming traffic has a better chance of seeing you. Cross back after the bend. Rule 5 Organised walks. Large groups of people walking together should use a pavement if available; if one is not, they should keep to the left. Look-outs should be positioned at the front and back of the group, and they should wear fluorescent clothes in daylight and reflective clothes in the dark. At night, the look-out in front should show a white light and the one at the back a red light. People on the outside of large groups should also carry lights and wear reflective clothing. 

    Hope this helps.

  • Tom (and others) - may I ask why you say ditch the ipod ?
  • SeelaSeela ✭✭✭

    Cos you can't hear a car coming. On a narrow road you are still in danger from the idiot behind even if you are on the right. And in rural areas it could well be a tractor/artic/combine harvester/ fire engine/ white van. This list of people out there trying to kill you is endless.

    My closest shave so far is somebody on the wrong side of the road (i.e. the right) on their mobile. I've even confronted other drivers who use their mobiles if i get a chance.

  • And what if you can't hear the traffic anyway?

    Do we deaf runners have to give up our sport?

    I never tire of this argument because it shows how prejudiced hearing runners are to us deaf ones. I await the run off road or track point that always follows my above question.

    I have been running for 26 years, 20 of them as a deaf runner. I have yet to be knocked over by a motorist while out running (and I have run on some very rural and urban routes). In fact, I'm usually the one to warn other club members of approaching traffic at junctions as I usually see it before they hear it.

    If you just keep your wits about you and take notice of your surroundings then running with an Ipod is no more dangerous than running without.

  • fat facefat face ✭✭✭
    Muzzy, has your 20 years of deafness increased your awareness of your surroundings?
  • I would say yes.
    And that is all you need to take into account when running with Ipods, awareness of your surroundings.

    I see plenty of runners (and pedestrians for that matter) who just blindly cross roads without looking. Not all of these are wearing Ipods.

    Then there are the groups of runners, merrily chatting away to each other, so much so that they are completely unaware of where they are never mind what is happening around them. Isn't that also dangerous ? So why don't people say don't run in groups ??

  • I'm a deaf runner...I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Muzzy.

    Over the years I've noticed that I'm much more aware of my surroundings when I'm in a group of people...perhaps it is because we don't focus on the individual that is holding the conversation because we often can't follow the gist of what is being said. Hearing people listen with a view to return a comment. 

    Having said all this...I have still had to jump into the hedge when car drivers have not slowed or made allowances for me on country roads. Personally I think this just reflects how bad some people drive now and is not specific to runners/bikers.


  • Tom.Tom. ✭✭✭
    Muzzy, I don't see your justification in interpreting my "ditch the ipod" as being predjudicial to deaf runners.

    To my mind running with an ipod is like driving whilst using a mobile phone - a seemingly innocuous activity but with the capacity to divert your attention at a point in time when you may need to make a split second decision. Just because you think you think you're aware and alert doesn't mean to say that every other road user is the same.

    There's a huge range of users of the roads and pavements - walkers, push chair pushers, people standing at bus stops, runners, people in mobilty vehcles, skate boarders, cyclists, cars, vans, buses, AVs, LGVs etc. All these users have their own (not always correct) perception of their rights as road or pavement users which may differ from yours.

    However the one thing that they all have in common is that they have absolutely no perception of the speed that a runner moves at - they treat us as if we are moving at walking speed. To my mind the most dangerous situation a runner can be in is running on the pavement on the left hand side of the road. Everytme he crosses a left hand junction he is at risk form a left turning vehicle coming up from behind. Try doing that wearing an ipod - you might as well walk rather than run, which rather defeats the whole point of it.
  • I understand the concerns with the iPod, its just that I find long runs are very much longer without it!!  At the moment i'm doing all my running on my own and listening to music helps keep me motivated.  I will compromise - i'll do my long runs off road where I can safely listen to my iPod.  All future training on road will be iPod free!  image

  • Ok !

    I'm off out for a run now. I don't own an Ipod but I'll try wearing an old MP3 player that is in the house to see if I can manage to cross a left hand junction while on the left hand side of the road.

    If I don't come back it's all the MP3 players fault.

  • Tom.Tom. ✭✭✭
    Muzzy please!

    I really don't think that my reasoned posting deserved sarcasm (sic)

  • I dont see anyone saying that deaf runners should give up the sport Muzzy - as you yourself have said - you have a better awareness of your surroundings through this.

    There have certainly been times when I would have been run down if I hadnt been able to hear - I walk to work every day and so many cars come out of drives at completely inappropriate speeds. Pretty often you cant see into the drive or car - so I dunno what I would do if I was listening to my ipod at a volume that drowned out car engines ?

    When I run with my ipod - i keep the level down so I at least have some awareness of what noises there are around me.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭
    What FF said. No real reason for posting here, really, other than as an excuse to say what a fine pic Baroness Redface has image
Sign In or Register to comment.