SparkPeople Blogs  •  rules  •  running

Do You Follow Good Running And Walking Etiquette?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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

CHERYLHURT 3/9/2019
We cycle and don’t like it when dogs wander all over the path! Report
DESERTDREAMERS 2/14/2019
I walk my little dogs on a walk way/ bike path. Have to admit there aren’t many bicyclists, & my little guys stretch out the cover a lot of it (sometimes they are good & stay right by me). I HATE when the bikers whiz by without calling out something or they just yell something nasty - the pups go ballistic, but if the biker says something like “on your left!” , or even “Hey!”, I can shorten up their leads & control them. Report
ABELAWSKI 1/11/2019
My walking route follows sidewalks around for about a mile and a half (I just do the loop several times if I want to go farther). It has a couple gentle hills and one relatively steep, but short, hill. It's a great route. The way I know? The local high school sends the track teams on the same route. Except they go in the opposite direction. Most of the time I don't see them, but every once in a while the team and I cross paths.

The last time we crossed paths it had been super rainy and the ground was saturated. I moved all the way to the right, and most of the team moved to their right and we passed each other... closely but without knocking each other. Except one girl. She looked me right in the goshdarn face and stayed in the middle of the path. Now - I'm not a small girl, but I could power walk as fast as these ladies and gents were jogging. So my short, thick self, shoulder-checked her. She literally yelled "HEY". My face was BURNING. I was embarassed, cuz honestly I didn't mean to do it but the ground was SOAKED and I didn't want to ruin my sneakers walking in the saturated ground & grass.

Karma spun it's lovely web though - the lanky guy behind her was like "well if you weren't such a b*tch, you wouldn't have gotten hit. move over!"

Vindication. Report
REJ7777 12/25/2018
I wish everyone followed these recommendations! I'm not offended when someone doesn't acknowledge me as they pass by though, even if I find it pleasant when they do. Report
BONDMANUS2002 9/29/2018
Interesting Report
GADGETCC 9/3/2018
These rules are soooo true! I was hit twice on a bike... and the first time, I was on a sidewalk, standing & waiting for my sister to get out of school. It doesn't matter who hits who, the person NOT in a vehicle usually gets more banged up! (BTW, second time, motorist ran a stop sign). My basic rule.... don't be a jerk! :-) Smile and make someone's life a little better. Maybe they will pass the good feelings to the next person and make this world a better place. Report
JWBRIGHTEYES 8/20/2018
ok so if I am walking on the right side of the path and some walkers are approaching on the same path (coming in my direction) why do the cyclists either try to sneak in between us or expect us all to move way over or go on the grass ? I ride a bike too see, and I a perfectly capable of slowing down a moment for everyone to safely and politely share the path and pass.
Report
TERRIC853 7/27/2018
I walk in my neighborhood and locally and have found that hailing people and asking how they're doing today has gotten a very favorable response. Now people wave when they drive by in their cars or are out working on their lawns. We don't have to stop and talk, but it's nice to make the human connection. Report
1SUZIQ11 7/15/2018
Yes!! to the clean up after your dog if they are with you on your walk! Report
EMGERBER 7/7/2018
Now all we need is for all runners to read this. Report
EAYW47 7/2/2018
When I do pass, I say good morning just to acknowledge my presence and to speak. Not bothered when the greeting is not returned . Just saying “I’m passing by “. Report
SIGLED 6/17/2018
Good advice! Report
EABL81 6/6/2018
One for hikers: When hiking on a narrow, steep trail, the uphill hiker has the right of way. It is customary for the downhill hiker to step to the side of the trail and let them pass. Older hikers seem to know this, but not everyone appears to. Report
CHERYLHURT 4/16/2018
Thanks Report
good advice Report
Great tips to follow. I would like to add, NEVER trust a car that has backup lights on. The driver may not see you! Report
Basic common sense an courtesy. Report
Personally, I'm cranking my jams because I'm in my own world. I deal with other people day in and day out. Running is my time to unplug. I'll wave or nod, but that's the extent of it. If others see it as rude, that's fine with me. Imma do my thing. Report
Stay off electronics when you are crossing streets. Keep your eyes and ears on traffic. Report
I have always thought acknowledging someone coming toward you is the right thing to do. It doesn't take anytime and shouldn't disrupt anyone's activity if you follow doing so. Report
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 Report
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.... Report
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!! Report
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. Report
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! Report
NINJA_SMOO
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. Report
I like the list and think the safety guidelines would be a nice addition. Run/walk against traffic, where reflective vest, belt or clothing... Report
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! Report
ROZELL99

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. Report
No Date like the present date. Report
These certainly are NOT unreasonable. Some of it is just common sense, which some individuals lack.

Thanks for sharing! Report
Where a reflector vest so people can SEE you. Report
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 Report
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. Report
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 :)
Report
SUSANHEALTHIER
You are right on the money..I also agree with Whittie03..it doesn't hurt someone to give a nod or a smile!! Report
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! Report
How true! Report
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.

Report
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! Report
ZYXKONRAD
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.... Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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. Report
I so agree! Report
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. Report
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 ... Report