Please defend running on the road instead of the pavement

I almost drove into a local runner last week as I was returning home from work in the dark. It's not something I expect on a modern housing estate with ample pavement to run on. I assume he he thinks he has some sort of right to run on the road.  Maybe his 'quick time' is more important than his personal safety! He also shouted some kind of abuse as I passed him.  Next time the driver might not see him at all...


  • Tricky one. I was nearly sent flying once by a runner while minding my own business walking along the pavement. Wish he'd been in the road. 
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Don't run on the road or the pavement.  There are plenty of other places to run: canal towpaths, cyclepaths, parks, country parks, forestry trails ...  Much more enjoyable, too!
  • I can't comment on that specific incident but if I'm running at night and the route happens to go through a quiet housing estate I'll typically use the road - the roads are generally more even and better lit than the pavements, and road users are also far more visible and more predictable than those on the pavement - I can see or hear cars & bikes well in advance and make sure I'm out of the way, whereas when someone walks out of their front gate right in front of me there's no chance.
  • If it's icy, the roads are often less slippery than the pavement. That's about the only reason I'd consider running on them, though.
  • If someone absolutely *has* to run on the road, they should be running towards the traffic - so the runner can see oncoming cars and move out of the way (not because they don't have any right to be there, but in the interest of self-preservation).
    Broken, pivoting and icy paving slabs are a reason to run on the road. Not a great reason, but a reason.
  • NickW2NickW2 ✭✭✭
    I generally stick to the pavements but on some quiet roads I prefer running on the road, as mentioned above it's because the pavements are not flat, or sometimes have cars parked that are blocking most/all of the pavement. I always keep an eye out when doing so and get out of the way in plenty of time if any cars do come along.
  • As Nick mentions - there are often cars parked up on the pavement thus forcing pedestrians/runners into the road... because it's so important for the owners to project their precious vehicles rather than parking them correctly on the road side.

    Having said that, if a runner knows they are likely to have to spend even a short segment of their run in the road then being luminous and highly reflective should be a priority!

  • To answer the question posed by the thread title....."because a pedestrian has right of way".
  • I live on a main road but quite often have to run on the road because people park their cars up on the pavement so if anyones walking in front of me it's impossible for me to get around them. Will only be until I'm round the car that's in the way though then back on the road. Or I'll run on the road if it's icy because the road is typically less icy than the pavement. I'd go back on the pavement as soon as though. Anytime I'm on the road I'll run towards the traffic so I can see and get out of the way.

    T Rex, although I love running those places most of my runs have to be at night time and as a pretty tiny 25 year old female who looks about 18 I tend to stick to well lit places. Can't wait for lighter nights so I can run in some more interesting places!
  • skottyskotty ✭✭✭
    rodeoflip said:
    To answer the question posed by the thread title....."because a pedestrian has right of way".
    highway code;

    Rule 1

    Pavements (including any path along the side of a road) should be used if provided.
  • There was a very lengthy thread on this subject some time ago. Actually got hilarious at times. There's 2 answers to this -

    1. You can debate the highway code (again) and its applicability (or not) as a legal ruling, and get into things like the fact that some roads don't have pavements, and that the pedestrian has right of way. Period.

    2. The legal intricacies and rights / wrongs of this debate will be cold comfort to you if you get run down by a car. So anyone with any sense will make sure they're visible, stay on pavements where they can, stick to well-lit areas, etc. Self-preservation.

    As I understand the legal position, the pedestrian has right of way, regardless of whether a car driver likes it or not. It's a driver's responsibility to look out for pedestrians and take action accordingly.

    But at the same time, I have no desire to put this to the test, and I know that if it comes to a fight between me and a car then I'm going to lose. So like anyone with any sense, I'll run sensibly and not get into a car vs. runner situation.

  • I'd agree with xKerry- there are some times you have to run in the road and going towards the traffic is the safest option. Also if you are doing this, make sure you aren't listening to music/podcast so you can hear traffic coming and get out of the way...  
    Jake Fricker (Author of "I am a Runner" and qualified coach)

    5k- 19:03
    10k- 39.28
    HM- 1:28.25
    M- 3:07.59
  • I try and stick to the pavements where possible if on the road I just make sure I'm not creating danger or putting myself in danger, actually got ran over my a cyclist on the pavement last week so your not always safe off road either lol
  • Sol2Sol2 ✭✭✭
    I always run in the road!

    Pavements where I live are not maintained. Most of it is flagstones, but cracked and broken, lying at funny angles. Uneven, bumpy and inconsistent paving is downright dangerous when running at a decent pace.  Then at every driveway there's a curb down, then up again. Not to mention every side street. I don't enjoy having to concentrate on my footfalls - I just wanna run!

    The road is well paved - smooth, flat and consistent and reliable! I run facing the traffic but close to the pavement in case a car gets too close for comfort. Doesn't happen often, as I usually have hi viz gear.  Drivers are usually respectful, occasionally steering wide to give me room. 
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    I think that's the key ^^^^ a little bit of consideration, make sure you're visible and looking out for drivers, and acknowledge drivers with a  quick wave. There are always times when you need to run on the road, and with a  bit of common sense, what's the problem?
  • Roads are looked after better than some pavements, also cars round my estate park on the pavements and weaving round them becomes very tiresome and it's not exactly something you want to be doing on your way home after a long run, but a runner running on roads should be considerate of cars passing
Sign In or Register to comment.