Do You Follow Good Running And Walking Etiquette?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
3/31/2010 10:12 AM   :  195 comments   :  19,448 Views

See More: rules, running, tips,
I've been a runner for a number of years now. Sometimes I train on my own, sometimes with a small group, and other times with very large groups depending on the race. No matter how big or small, I always seem to notice things other runners do that get on my nerves. I think there's a basic code of etiquette all runners (and walkers) should follow. I try not to focus on the negative things in life, and I don't think my expectations are too unreasonable. But take a look and see what you think.

1. Like it or not, pedestrians do not rule the road. Cars, trucks, bikes- they are all bigger than you and can do a lot of damage if you end up getting hit. So make sure you wait until it's clear to cross the road, and don't assume that vehicles will willingly share the shoulder. Sometimes you have to be ready to jump up on the curb or in the grass if someone won't give you the space you need.

2. If you are going to spit (or do something similar), make sure you have enough distance between you and the person behind or next to you. It's never fun to have to dodge someone's spit, or even worse, be hit by it. Yes, I've seen it happen.

3. Don't be a litter bug. When training for long distance runs, many times you have to carry fuel with you (Gu, sport beans, candy, etc.). Be sure to clean up after yourself. It's no one else's job to pick up my wrappers because I didn't feel like finding somewhere to store them while I finished my run.

4. When passing other runners or walkers, say hello. I've always said that true runners (and walkers) greet each other instead of passing in silence. If you're wearing headphones, keep the volume low enough so that you can hear someone as they come past. It's always a bummer when I say hello to someone with headphones but they don't respond because they can't hear me.

5. If you are running with someone on a narrow path or sidewalk and another runner (or walker) approaches, give them room to pass. It's never nice to make someone jump into the grass because they don't have enough room to get by.

Those are just a few of the basic courtesies I think runners and walkers should follow when out on the road. Do you agree? Do you have any others to add to the list?


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Comments

  • 195
    My kids laugh at me, but when I pass someone else, I warn them - "Passing on your left".
    Sometimes I feel silly - but it is worth it. Most times I get a thank you or a smile. I think we've all been pushed off the paths or trails by another runner/walker/biker at some point. It can be a little scary!

    cj - 1/31/2011   10:18:30 PM
  • 194
    great post and i do my best to follow all the rules....makes me feel like a better person even if the other person did not respond to me.... - 1/30/2011   3:01:23 PM
  • 193
    I follow all of these rules as a rollerblader! I always warn people I am approaching on the left. A pet peeve of mine is when walkers/runners use the center of the track. Please stay to the right of the track to allow other users to easily pass by. And dog walkers please keep your friends on a short enough leash that they don't run out in front of bladers/bikers. I fear this last one every time I see a dog on a retractable leash on a shared trail!! - 1/30/2011   1:44:25 PM
  • 192
    I so agree with this blog. Where I live we have a path shared by walkers, runners and bicycles. It is so annoying when you meet and you have to get out of the way because people on bikes refuse to give you any room. - 1/29/2011   3:25:49 PM
  • 191
    Ditto to all. It takes no extra time to be courteous! What a better place the world would be if we just took the time to be polite and say hello! - 1/29/2011   11:20:13 AM
  • NINJA_SMOO
    190
    Walk like you drive. Granted there are some poopy drivers out there too but: keep to the right, pass on the left when it's safe and let people know when you're coming up behind them - people don't have rearview mirrors. - 1/18/2011   11:49:11 AM
  • 189
    I like the list and think the safety guidelines would be a nice addition. Run/walk against traffic, where reflective vest, belt or clothing... - 11/15/2010   1:37:31 PM
  • 188
    Its kind of a sad state of affairs when someone has to post a blog about this type of stuff, but its true - alot of people just don't have the common sense anymore on the road when walking or running. I often see people walking not just on the side of the road anymore but in the MIDDLE, then they don't MOVE over enough for a car to get by. I just don't understand it! - 11/15/2010   8:11:04 AM
  • ROZELL99
    187

    Number 4 is just stupid. Forcing others to say hello and interrupting their routine is not only not GOOD etiquette, it is actually rude. It is also not a good idea for women runners to interact with random males on the street. - 11/7/2010   6:39:29 AM
  • 186
    No Date like the present date. - 11/7/2010   2:17:25 AM
  • 185
    These certainly are NOT unreasonable. Some of it is just common sense, which some individuals lack.

    Thanks for sharing! - 5/26/2010   8:49:49 AM
  • 184
    Where a reflector vest so people can SEE you. - 5/11/2010   1:31:20 AM
  • 183
    I really hate when I run pass someone and I'll give'em a hi with a head nod and I don't get any resond - 4/11/2010   11:47:25 PM
  • 182
    I run in a group and I actually find it stressful when we don't yield to oncoming or passing walkers, runners or bikers. We are usually careful to go single file when others approach, but that can be a challenge in the dark. We got scolded today by biker. A simple bell like ZYXKONRAD uses would have been a much more civilized approach. It is kind of sad that this biker started his day out so grumpy. - 4/5/2010   4:19:51 PM
  • 181
    I'd like to ADD a rule - be SEEN if you're running or walking when it's dark out. Light yourself up like a Christmas tree if you have to. This is only to keep you from getting hurt/injured.

    Keep on moving :)
    - 4/4/2010   9:08:56 PM
  • SUSANHEALTHIER
    180
    You are right on the money..I also agree with Whittie03..it doesn't hurt someone to give a nod or a smile!! - 4/4/2010   8:29:28 PM
  • 179
    I love the "hello"/wave/head nod/eye contact. I didn't know this was a running 'rule' until I started running about two months ago. Once I noticed others doing it, I made a point to do it as well. I told my husband that it makes me feel like I'm in the runners' club! - 4/4/2010   6:49:31 PM
  • 178
    How true! - 4/4/2010   3:59:30 PM
  • 177
    I try to be polite whenever I'm on the bike path. I was riding today and gosh, but I forgot how busy the path can be on a nice day ! I've found most people are very respectful. You just have to be careful of their pets and kids. Today, I had to veer out of the way of more dogs, than I did runners or walkers. Ditto children. Because the weather is becoming nice, lots of families are taking walks... with their pets.

    Most people are fine, but their dogs can be a challenge. I did have one cute little dog chase me for a while. shoo... shoo... Folks, let's remember to not only be mindful of ourselves, let's be mindful of our dogs. I've nearly run into lots of dogs and they've nearly run into me.

    - 4/4/2010   1:27:22 PM
  • 176
    Great tips...I just moved to a new city/state and NO ONE...well maybe 1% of the runners I pass or who pass me says hello. I think it's very rude...I attribute it to the new area. Just generally not very nice people. Hmmph! - 4/4/2010   12:52:29 PM
  • ZYXKONRAD
    175
    In Germany, it's a law that bicycles have to be equipped with bells. And the bells are used to signal an approach, usually to pedestrians. I tried to make it a quiet "ping" so it wouldn't sound aggressive. It works just great. We all have bells on our bikes at home, though the understanding here isn't as good.... - 4/4/2010   12:25:31 PM
  • 174
    I agree with all of these rules. I don't get bent out of shape however when someone doesn't return my greeting. I figure they are into their own workout and not just being snobby. Also, I wave at all the cars who move over toward the center of the road. I run on a mostly country road, so there are generally not cars going both ways. I don't assume however that they will get over and always make sure that I have an exit area to the left. There are some roads that I don't run because off the little (6-8" ) shoulder is a drop off and it doesn't give me an exit path. - 4/3/2010   1:29:23 PM
  • 173
    I'm with #160!

    Couple of other things:

    Spitting = GROSS. Period. Just swallow it. You need the liquid anyway. Just - eew.

    Heaphones - I don't require you to be cheerful, but if you really can't hear me, then you can't hear a lot of things that could well be a danger to you. Too-loud headphones aren't just a courtesy issue. They're a safety one.

    Passing - slower traffic to the right, please (UK, Japan, and Samoa excepted). If I am coming up behind someone, I'll say "coming up on your left" or just "on your left." Surprises from behind are rude. - 4/3/2010   12:45:37 PM
  • 172
    Makes sense to me. I'm a newbie runner, and I promise to obey all these courtesy rules. Truthfully, I say hi before I pass people because I tend to run in the early morning hours, and people tend to be badly startled when someone suddenly appears next to them in the dark - me included. - 4/3/2010   11:14:25 AM
  • 171
    I agree with all of it. As for the greeting, I get a little bent, when I make eye contact and just a smile is great, but they ignore you as If I'm not there. It is all about courtesy to the next person. Pass it forward. - 4/3/2010   9:10:37 AM
  • 170
    You are so right about everything!!!! Many times I have passed by others either running or walking and give a greeting hail, smile or nod and not have them returned, not yielding on the path is another I hate because I always give the courtesy but people in big groups that don't share irritate me. I am not a spitter and hate that people do. Thankfully I haven't been hit by spit but I don't want to walk in it either (just as bad as not picking up after a dog). Yuk!

    Thanks for sharing. - 4/3/2010   1:55:24 AM
  • 169
    I so agree! - 4/2/2010   6:48:27 PM
  • 168
    I agree, when I started running 8 years ago I would run on trails early in the morning because by midday there would be tourist or other people on the trail and I hated breaking my stride to a slow stroll behind them, they would never move over so I could get past even when I let them know I was coming up behind them. I also agree you can tell runners and walkers from other people who are just strolling along, saying hello is just common courtesy. - 4/2/2010   1:44:50 PM
  • 167
    Wish our university's track coach read--and taught--these. The track teams run in packs along the sidewalks at any hour of the day, blocking the entire sidewalk and ignoring everyone but each other. They hawk all over, and if they DO have to move into the muddy areas, are totally inconsiderate about ploughing mud up on people moving between classes. They constitute the single most arrogant group on our very varied campus. I used to root for track and field, but the last 6 years of dodging the competitors, now I hope they fall flat! not really, but ... - 4/2/2010   12:21:20 PM
  • 166
    1. Okay, pedestrians don't rule the road, but I get so annoyed when I'm waiting at a crosswalk, where I DO legally have the right of way, and drivers don't let me pass.

    2. Not usually an issue for me because I never run with groups, but when I see someone else spitting (or snot-rocket-ing) outside I always find it so gross.

    3. Yeah, just stick the wrapper in your pocket.

    4. I disagree - sometimes I'm working too hard to give a cheerful greeting to another runner. But if they say hello to me I smile back.

    5. Oooh, big pet peeve for me! I can't stand it when a group of people is walking slowly and hogging the whole sidewalk, or when someone has their dog's leash spanning the width of the sidewalk, or when people try to stay on the left (I'm in America - traffic stays to the right!).

    Heehee. - 4/2/2010   10:52:14 AM
  • 165
    While I agree with the other 4 "rules", I wonder about #4. WHY is that one even on the list? Just like some people are grouchy first thing in the morning and I wouldn't expect them to respond to my cheery early morning self, I also tend not to get bent out of shape if someone doesn't say hello just because they see me (or even see me saying hello). This may be their "me time" or time for sorting out whatever is bugging them, or it may just be the only time in the entire day when they have a few minutes of quiet. Whatever the reason, it's *their* reason, and I don't worry about it. - 4/2/2010   7:11:13 AM
  • 164
    Very good. Wish you had added about people cleaning up after their dogs. - 4/2/2010   6:53:00 AM
  • 163
    I do try to follow the rules of the road when I see runners and bikers. I must say when I am out on the track walking, my headphones are blaring. I use walking as my time to lose myself and forget about the worries of the day. I do nod and or smile at walkers that past me. Most of the time they are so in to what they are doing they don't see me until they are almost tripping over me. - 4/2/2010   6:09:22 AM
  • 162
    Our Spark Team likes to go for weekly walks in a group along some paths that cyclists frequent. Not all of those cyclists shout a warning to let you know they're coming up behind you and if they do sometimes it isn't all that loud. So, one of the things that I try to do when walking in a group like that when I hear or see a cyclist coming is to shout "Bike on the __________!!!" to warn the people up ahead that they're coming (this works with our group because there are people who walk at all kinds of different paces).

    It helps keep all of us (including the cyclists) safer and more aware of what's going on around us. - 4/2/2010   1:20:54 AM
  • 161
    Sometimes this is a problem when I have been walking. The path is shared in areas by walkers, joggers, bikers and mothers with babies. Many times the bikers don't say a work and swoosh they come flying by you. My friend gets mad because she is also a biker and always rings a bell really loud so not to scare people. I think being polite goes along way. I would never think of leaving trash along our path. Whats so hard about putting in your pack or pocket until you come to a trash can? The other thing I see is runners or walkers with dogs and they don't clean up after them. Yuck! - 4/2/2010   12:40:12 AM
  • ND774748
    160
    I like the rules. I just find it sad they needed to be written. - 4/2/2010   12:23:01 AM
  • 159
    I think I naturally tend to follow number 4 when I'm doing a trail run or hike and may only pass a handful or less of other runners in a hour, but it just does not make sense on a congested city setting where I am passing several people every 5 seconds. - 4/2/2010   12:21:01 AM
  • K_RENEE
    158
    Well said! I agree with all of these, especially 4 and 5. Even when I do wear headphones, I at least wave to passing runners or walkers, and they always extend the same courtesy. It won't hurt to take (literally) a second out of your day to acknowledge someone else in passing.

    And speaking of passing, some people think they own the sidewalk, and well that's just rude. - 4/1/2010   9:44:12 PM
  • 157
    absolutely agree... and if walking /running with your dog, PLEASE keep your dog leashed! And when leashed, snugged into you, so the dog doesn't throw other people off the pathway! - 4/1/2010   8:32:34 PM
  • TIRIONMANX
    156
    tinlizzie2 - we must work at the same complex. My biggest peeve is when groups of 2/3 or more form a rolling roadblock on the sidewalk and refuse to let others pass from either direction and we have wide sidewalks. I've ended up in the street, the mud, etc. just to get past the groups who, usually, are strolling at a snail's pace. - 4/1/2010   7:20:17 PM
  • 155
    I agree with all, although it doesn't bother me if people don't nod/say hello or otherwise acknowledge me. I would suggest adding that you should stay on the right hand side of the path, leaving the left hand side available for faster walkers/runners and bikes to pass more safely (this is actually a posted "rule" on the shared path ways in the city where I live and walk!). - 4/1/2010   6:24:28 PM
  • 154
    I think saying something when you are passing someone is important as it allows for them to move and be aware of the people around them. But I don't think more than a nod is necessary for someone going the other direction.

    I completely agree that you should pack out your trash. I often pick up trash on my hikes.

    I would like to add Obey all Traffic Signs and Laws. Just because you are running, doesn't mean you should cross against the light. Use the red light to stretch or something. That goes double for bikes. - 4/1/2010   5:44:29 PM
  • 153
    I am nice and polite to others. I smile and say hi. I treat others with respect and hopefully and so far I am treated the same. I share the path with others. Even the pet walkers keep their pets in control as I do. - 4/1/2010   4:56:16 PM
  • 152
    Maybe, i walk rarely on the treadmill, and when i am not on the treadmill
    at golds gym rarely i take cardio aerobic workout classes & martial arts
    at golds gym. - 4/1/2010   4:38:39 PM
  • TINLIZZIE2
    151
    My biggest pet peeve is people who hog the sidewalk. Where I work there is a sidewalk that goes all around the complex and a lot of the employees walk in twos and threes on their breaks, but nobody seems to want to move when meeting another group. I find I 'm always the one moving over. I do like to say hi to people as I pass them by but sometimes they want to stop and visit and I just do not have the time. Also, I want to keep my heart rate up as much as possible. - 4/1/2010   4:33:55 PM
  • SEREION
    150
    I agree that it's bascially about common courtesy; there's no need for guidelines. I typically do not greet a runner unless I know them--I don't think we should feel obligated to speak to runners/walker who pass by. If they hello, of course I'll return the greeting, if not, it's no big deal. - 4/1/2010   4:33:15 PM
  • 149
    These are rules that should be followed all the time, not just when walking or biking. I am truly distressed by the lack of etiquette in our society as a whole, perhaps because of the lack of community. Many of us wouldn't recognize our own neighbors if we sat next to them on a train.

    I am a mostly solitary person, but I get great satisfaction from thanking a driver for pausing for me in a crosswalk with a smile and a wave. Sure, they are only following the law, but isn't it nice to be acknowledged for it? And often I slow my pace (imagine!) so that a driver can get through the intersection before I get there. It's simply nice to do.

    When we are working out on the streets and sidewalks and approach another person, a nod and a smile are welcome, but I understand that many people are afraid to make eye-contact with strangers. I like eye contact and always look at the person I am passing. If they look at me, I say hi or smile and nod, if they don't look at me, I just keep moving. No problem. - 4/1/2010   4:30:30 PM
  • 148
    Great list.... these are my pet peeves as well. The worst one is the saying hello one. I say hello to people all the time (some don't even have headphones) and almost never get a response. - 4/1/2010   3:38:32 PM
  • 147
    I disagree with #4. I am out there to exercise and get in the ZONE, saying hi to everyone I pass would really screw with that. When you're walking around downtown shopping, do you say hi to all the other shoppers? Do you wave to all the other drivers on your morning and afternoon commute? I think saying HI to all the other exercisers is ridiculous. I will smile at people if they look at me or say hi back if they say hi to me, but I am not there to initiate contact with people.

    As far as the spitting thing goes, I know some people do it on purpose to get people to GET OUT OF THE WAY when they are chatting it up, being rude, won't get out of the way, etc. - 4/1/2010   2:48:24 PM
  • PATIMAC
    146
    I'm a walker from southern NH who is out every day regardless of weather or conditions. We are fortunate to have an 8' bike/pedestrian path in our town which is plowed during the winter.

    As the weather begins to warm, there are more people who come out from hibernation. Some of the older people are hard of hearing, so it is very welcome when someone coming from behind alerts them before they are right on top of them. And sometimes any warning has to be spoken loudly in order to be heard above the traffic.

    If you're biking at night, you should have lights on the bike. You're going faster than a walker and could easily cause serious damage if you run into someone.

    I've also been out on the path when the high school running team has come out as a large group running directly at you even when you're walking single file and are totally surprised if you don't move over for them. I can't imagine that etiquette wouldn't be one of the first issues addressed when the teams convene. I've seen some paths that have a line drawn down the middle just to make people aware of the left and right concept similar to driving a car.

    Reflective clothing or vests are another issue. When driving, I've seen way too many people lately who are walking on the road at night, with their backs to you, wearing dark clothing on unlit streets. If it's raining out or there's a car coming toward you, it's even worse as you can be blinded by the headlights and not even see anyone walking by the side of the road.

    I follow the concept of greeting anyone who passes. This has allowed me to meet and get to know more people in the community where I live and you also find some who can become exercise buddies. - 4/1/2010   2:25:08 PM

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