Rules of the road - what are they for runners?

What are the rules for runners (i.e. pedestrians) on the road. Specifically:

If I am running along a pavement and come to a side road junction. Do cars turning into or out of the side road have to give way to me crossing the side road?

Similar situation this time without the pavement. I'm running along the road and am a road user like anyone else.

Thirdly I had a motorist rant at me for running along a country road. Said that I had to get out of the way of any car and not the other way round. Presumably I have as much right as any road user.

Fourthly is it safer to run against the traffic (like you are taught in school) or with the traffic?

Clearly I don't argue with any car (they tend to come off better in a collision than the runner), but I would like to argue with anyone who gives me abuse!


  • No, actually you don't have as much right on the road. If you are running or walking on a road and not on a designated pavement (even when there isn't one) you are actually guilty of 'jay walking' which carries a £50 fine - which most forces choose not to enforce.
  • Really? I can't see that in the highway code (red is law, other is guidance)[url
  • Oh dear. This means I've broken the law, confessed to the hideous crime on the internet and to make things worse I am a repeat offender, committed the crime with malice and forethought and intend to do so again!

    Is there any distinction between A, B and unclassified roads?
  • Gumps - sorry but I didn't have it in writing - I was told off by a copper who pulled me up for running along a dark road. It was a few years ago but his words were "I COULD give you a £50 fine". Maybe he was just trying to scare me.
  • In RW this month - didnt I read a letter that said runners should run WITH the flow of traffic on the road ?

    I really cant see why you would do that. I hate running on the road, but sometimes its unavoidable.
    If I do it - I make sure i have a hi viz vest on.
    Its best to take an assertive position on the road - so dont run too close to the edge - run about 2 or 3 feet out - so you have somewhere to go to if a motorist squeezes you.
    And always try and make eye contact with the oncoming vehicle. Beware of any cars that you cant see the driver - if you cant see them - they cant see you.

    Why would anyone think its better to run with the traffic ? You have no idea whats coming up behind you.
  • Other than motorwaya you have as much right to use any road as a pedestrian as anyone else, regardless of pavements (how did that driver think people who lived out there popped next door?!). You should always face into oncoming traffic and prudence suggests that you should give right of way to traffic. However I have a dim memory of my driving instructor telling me that once a pedestrian stepped on the road they had right of way - this may have been advice rather than law though.

  • Cath, I am pretty sure that's not true.
  • HH... try to run against the traffic (the traffic on your side of the road moving towards you) unless circumstances make it dangerous.

    2 reasons.

    1. You can see them and if you need to move ito the road to take evasive action you don't need to look over your shoulder

    2. You can 'eyeball' bad drivers
  • Motorists think they own the road - when its not true. They should give way to pedestrians already on the road - so say - turning into a side street where pedestrians are crossing.
  • I don't believe that's the case, Cath - unless you were walking on a motorway (RTRA sect 17, MT(E&W)R 1982 as amended & MT(S)R regs 2 &13)

    You are within your right to run on the roads, even if there is a pavement, but obviously the recommendation is to use the pavement if provided.

    On country lanes you should walk / run on the right (so cars are coming towards you) - gives you more chance of diving into the bushes if necessary! The only exception if for blind right hand corners where it may be wise to cross over for better visibility.
  • Mike & Gumps... you know, I can be so naive sometimes. It reminds me of the time when my primary school teacher absolutelu humiliated me in front of the whole class - she'd asked us to name somewhere we didn't know. I said "Leasowe" because I'd seen it on a "Van Hire" van that morning on the way into school and she ridiculed me and said "there's no such place as Leasowe" with such derision in her voice that I can still hear her say it now!!! Needless to say, years later I discovered that Leasowe is in fact, on the Wirral.

    Policemen. hmmmfph. And my mother brought me up to trust them!

    I remember doing geometry in Primary School - we were doing right angles. So teach points at one corner of the blackboard 'whats this ?' Right angle we all chorus.

    'Little cougie - what's this then ?' she says pointing to the opposite corner of the blackboard. I suspect a trap. 'A left angle ?' I say.

    Teacher pi$$es herself laughing.

    Beeeyatch. Hmmmph.
  • splatt! IC... I like that one!
  • exactly!!!!!
  • The general consensus seems to be that there is no agreement! I run a lot of country roads at night (I have no choice where I live). I have head torch and reflective vest as well as fluorescent top and stripes on legs. I know motorists see me well in advance (often over a km) on straight section because they dip their headlights when they see me (often to go to full beam once they realise I'm only a runner!) I always have a get out option of jumping onto the verge and sometimes have to use it. I always thank drivers with a wave when they (usually) pull right over to get past. But occassionaly this isn't the case.
  • So, we've established that you CAN run on the road and you need to run towards the traffic.

    And don't trust policemen and primary school teachers!
  • Iron agreed, im sick of the nations love affair with the car.
  • Going back to the original question....... If you are crossing a side road a vehicle turning into the side road has to give way to you

    If you are running along a road with no pavement you should be running on the right hand side of the road and wearing something reflective. You are responsible for keeping to the right and being seen. Drivers are responsible for avoiding you.
  • Yeh right, it's a free for all out there mate best thing to do is run on the pavement.
  • And if there ain't one avoid it.
  • GGHT
    Thats aberdare mate. F**king loon drivers.
  • There are few pavements out in the country (and not many paths either where I am). Our council recently constructed a fantastic path and cycleway between two nearby villages (about a mile long). They bought a piece of field beside the road and now the path has a wall between the road and the path and a fence between the path and the cows. The path is smooth tarmac and a nice grass verge, properly finished. I couldn't believe when there were complaints in the local paper that the path was an eysore and a waste of money. I any of you have been to Holland, Germany etc. they have a totally different attitude. Paths and cycleways everywhere - even out in the country. Often lit at night and well maintained. Sustrans and the like is a great start, but we've a long way to go if we want people to consider a walk instead of a 1 mile car ride.
  • I was in Holland last year - I didnt see one fat dutch person the whole time I was there.
  • Thats cause all the fat ones are in the pubs playing darts!
  • Hmm... I have had several arguements with car drivers about the fact that I have the right of way on side turnings.

    I often get problems as I run past the Tesco Express up the road. The car drivers just believe I'm in the wrong. It's not even a side road - it is in effect private land which gives me even more right of way ahead of them.

    I echo the points about running to be seen. Several of our regular runs are down country lanes and we will always run slightly out of the kerb to give the drivers more chance to see us and us somewhere to move into.

    Oh - and I'm not a car basher - I love going for a blatt in my impreza. It's a case of drivers being sensible and driving to the conditions and whats around them - runners included.
  • The more visible you are, the less they have to complain about.
  • I really hate the ones who are leaving their drives, make it obvious that they have seen you... and still pull out right at the last moment Grrr!
  • Ignorant! Very ignorant
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