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#1 2010-07-29 21:19:11

Registered: 2010-07-29
Posts: 2


Although this complaint is fairly minor, and it usually only happens on slow-moving roads like Duval, why do joggers consistently jog in the bike lane? Sometimes it's even two abreast, jogging against traffic. I'm all about sharing the road space, and I understand that the sidewalk is often broken (keep it weird Austin!), but they hardly ever attempt to move out of the way. Did some jog authority inform them that running in the bike lane is a good idea??


#2 2010-07-30 08:13:05

john the blasphemer
Registered: 2010-07-06
Posts: 30

Re: Joggers

I don't think they should be getting in the way, but I know why they are on the road instead of the sidewalk.  The sidewalk is concrete, and the road is asphalt.  Asphalt is less harsh to run on, so many runners will choose it.  Of course, running on the side of the road where the road is more curved over isn't all that great for you either.


#3 2010-07-30 09:53:40

Registered: 2009-03-18
Posts: 223

Re: Joggers

Funny thing is every day I see joggers doing their jog on the LAB, which is a pavement strip a few yards away from the trail. Weird indeed.


#4 2010-08-01 22:27:45

Sam Placette
Registered: 2009-04-22
Posts: 12

Re: Joggers

The sidewalks are often broken, poorly lit, blocked by obstacles. Those conditions can be dangerous for runners. People jogging out in the road aren't doing it because they like playing in traffic or because they want to annoy cyclists; they are probably in the middle of a longer route and trying to get where they are going in the safest way possible (sound familiar?)

If you ever feel like bicycling is hard, try being a pedestrian. Many more pedestrians die in Austin than bikers. Please give runners, joggers, walkers, and any other non-vehicle road users the same consideration, support, and reciprocal kindness you would like to receive from car drivers.


#5 2010-08-02 09:31:40

Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 42

Re: Joggers

Also it's safer as a pedestrian to run/walk against traffic.


#6 2010-08-02 17:26:20

Registered: 2010-02-10
Posts: 8

Re: Joggers

I had a gal yelling at me the other day because I rode by her in the bike lane as she was jogging in it.  This was San Jacinto during peak evening commute.

While I understand why a jogger would want to run in the bike lane for all the reasons already mentioned, that doesn't mean it's the right or safe thing to do.  I don't ride my bike on the sidewalk or mopac under the same logic.

I find the bike-lane joggers almost as irritating as the folks jogging 2-5 abreast in the east Chavez neighborhood.  Again, I realize that running in a group, chatting with friends in a quiet neighborhood is a fun safe way to exercise, but there seems to be a presumption that they have priority usage of the roadway and are very reluctant to yield to oncoming or passing traffic or cars or bikes.

If joggers want safe, well maintained, and broad trails beyond what is already available in Austin (hike and bike trail, etc) then perhaps they should press the city to make that happen.  If not by creating new trails, then at least maintaining the existing sidewalks, preventing folks from parking on sidewalks, encouraging land owners to trim overgrown brush, and educating drivers about stopping before the cross-walks.


#7 2010-08-02 17:35:21

Registered: 2008-06-03
Posts: 46

Re: Joggers

I agree with all the above about making room for runners.  But I am afraid that on Exposition, one of these days there is going to be a terrible crash (I cannot call it an accident, because it is avoidable):  there are sometimes semi trucks that roar up and down that road, especially at off hours such as the early morning.  Two joggers in the southbound lane encroach on the car lane.  I am biking south, I have to swerve into the car lane, and a semi is coming the other direction.  Add in a car going the same direction, and you have disaster.  Yes, they have the right to the road.  But I guess that means we all have a right to die, too.


#8 2010-08-03 16:22:07

Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 591

Re: Joggers

The law (I forget if it's an Austin or Texas law) says that pedestrians may not walk on the roadway if there's a sidewalk available.  (And of course, a bike lane is part of the roadway.)  If there is no sidewalk, then they can walk on it.

Of course, this is often violated and I've never heard of it being enforced, but it's there ...


#9 2010-08-07 14:24:53

Registered: 2010-01-18
Posts: 166

Re: Joggers

The thing is, pedestrians are able to detour MUCH more easily compared to cyclists. If I was jogging in a bike lane, I'd move away as best as possible to allow a cyclist to pass easily. It's not like a jogger is going to get a flat tire for running through glass or from hitting a pothole.

In such a situation, I've had many joggers move onto the grass for me. It's never really been a problem. Of course it's a different story on Great Northern where you have lots of pedestrians taking up the already tiny bike lanes. It's easy to move into the travel lane if there are no cars, but if there is a car coming, guess what happens - yes, the cyclist is again treated as the lowest class citizen, even with a 'bike lane'.

Today I biked down the Shoal Creek trail near Lamar and downtown. That's a sidewalk IMO. I saw a mother and a 2 yr old on it and immediately slowed to 5mph until I passed them. I have no problem giving priority to those who are meant for it. A bike lane is a bike lane and I think pedestrians should be yielding to bikes in it, especially since it is so easy for them to do so.


#10 2012-10-22 11:48:16

Registered: 2012-07-12
Posts: 7

Re: Joggers

Most of the time the joggers/walkers I pass are very courteous and nice. But there have been a couple times where they were obviously trying to make a point to show their dominance of the bike lane.

Not really sure what makes people like this tick, but I always think to myself... "Now if I were to actually HIT you who would take the worst of it?"

I almost hit a guy coming around a corner once (he was walking in the bike lane) because it was a blind corner and he was actually walking against traffic. But fortunately that's only happened once.


#11 2012-10-22 12:26:29

Donald Lewis
Registered: 2009-07-11
Posts: 184

Re: Joggers

The notion amongst some joggers that asphalt absorbs impact and thus creates a difference in comfort as opposed to cement, is total BS.  If asphalt compressed significantly under the weight of a human foot, a cement mixer would sink down a few inches.  Even if there was the most minimal compression, it would amount to .001% of what the sole of the running shoe absorbs.  Broken sidewalks are one matter, but if the sidewalk is intact there is no excuse for joggers to use the street.



#12 2012-10-22 16:47:52

Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 39

Re: Joggers

I am both a runner and a cyclist.  There are many reasons a runner might not use the sidewalk:

1)  There is no sidewalk.  Many roads along my bicycle commute route have no sidewalk.  Some have "multi-use" lanes, some have nothing, and some have a dedicated bike lane.  Sections of Jollyville not only have no sidewalk, but have sections which are unwalkable off the road due to steep sides.

2)  The sidewalks are misaligned.  I have tripped and fallen while running on the sidewalk, because a section lifted up a half-inch or inch, and my foot caught the lip.

3)  Lots of driveways.  The slope of the sidewalk changes where there is a driveway.  A few driveways are tolerable, lots of them make for awkward running.

4)  Sprinkler systems spraying across the sidewalks.

5)  Passing other runners or avoiding getting close to unfriendly-looking dogs.

   I try to run on sidewalks, but many times don't for the reasons above.  Simple courtesy for both cyclists and pedestrians goes a long way.



#13 2014-02-03 16:06:52

Registered: 2013-03-27
Posts: 329

Re: Joggers

Any thoughts on the Pam Leblanc coverage of "joggers in bike lanes" issue?  This morning's paper illustrates her column with a photo of someone cyclng on a two-way segregated 'cycle track' -- Riding on the wrong side! With arrows painted on the pavement in each lane to show the right way!  Could they not find someone using the facility as intended?  Kudos to her for covering the issue, but I am amazed.  Earlier coverage of the Rio Grande two-way track also had a photo of people riding on the wrong side.


#14 2014-02-03 18:46:31

Registered: 2013-10-01
Posts: 60

Re: Joggers

I haven't read more than the blip that's available online, but here's my take as a runner and cyclist: runners shouldn't use the bike lane for basically every imaginable reason, especially if there's a sidewalk available.

The basic argument runners use is that asphalt is easier on your body because it's softer (here's one person making this argument). Unfortunately, that thinking has little basis in fact. Asphalt is about an order of magnitude harder than concrete in objective measures of hardness. However, what matters is the ratio of the hardnesses between the surface and your body; either is basically infinitely harder than your body, so these differences don't matter much. If you doubt that, consider that the studies I've read (e.g.; I can upload a PDF if anyone is curious) that looked injury rates of runners who use different surfaces have found no perceptible difference in injury rates between runners who run on concrete vs. those who run on asphalt.

The popular book Running Injury-Free has this to say about road running: "Roads are also notoriously poor surfaces, not only because of traffic hazards but because they are canted so that water will run off the center of the road. This slant causes the 'upward' foot to pronate more and the 'downward' foot to supinate more. Any biomechanical abnormality will be amplified in one foot or the other when you're running on the road."

He also continues, repeating the misconception that the hardness of sidewalks presents a problem: "Provided you wear good shock-absorbing shoes, sidewalks tend to make better training surfaces than roads because they are flat. The problem, of course, is that cement surfaces are significantly harder than asphalt or other man-made surfaces."

There's also the legal argument; pedestrians (which includes runners, by definition) usually aren't legally supposed to go on the road when a sidewalk is provided. This is the law in Texas (see "USE OF SIDEWALK") and basically everywhere else in the US.

So, in short, the argument runners typically use for running on the road (and often in the bike lane) are based on bad science, and they also don't have the law on their side.

I run 3 times a week and I'll use the sidewalk when it exists. When there is no sidewalk, I run in the road, but never in the bike lane. All my running routes avoid bike lanes.

I'm guessing now you were probably more interested in the specifics of her coverage, not the issue she mentioned, but I haven't read the article and already wrote this post, so I'll go and hit submit.

Also, here's an older video of mine that shows a runner in the bike lane for those who haven't seen this phenomena before.

Last edited by btrettel (2014-02-03 18:47:25)


#15 2014-02-03 20:31:07

From: Austin, TX
Registered: 2008-05-26
Posts: 1,338

Re: Joggers

Sam Placette wrote:

The sidewalks are often broken, poorly lit, blocked by obstacles. Those conditions can be dangerous for runners.

Bingo.  Before my injury when I was able to run, my training loop included Guadalupe from 51st to Koenig (which I ran very late at night or very early morning), and around 51st St. the sidewalks are DARK, broken, and often littered with debris.  It's dangerous to run fast there.  I ran in the bike lane, opposing traffic, with a headlamp strapped to my head to be super-visible.  If a cyclist ever came my way I'd move over since a cyclist has the right of way in a bike lane, but in the few years I trained I could probably count on one hand the number of times I encountered a cyclist.


#16 2014-02-03 22:29:59

Registered: 2008-05-27
Posts: 22

Re: Joggers

MichaelBluejay wrote:

Bingo.  Before my injury when I was able to run, my training loop included Guadalupe from 51st to Koenig (which I ran very late at night or very early morning), and around 51st St. the sidewalks are DARK, broken, and often littered with debris.

I run in that area and I agree about the sidewalks. They're even worse in Highland. Parked cars, broken pavement, untrimmed trees and shrubs, animal feces, poor lighting, trash, mud, you name it. I don't feel obligated to run on sidewalks like this. I keep an eye out for bikes but I'm more concerned about SUVs.

Runners in the bike lane bug me when I'm riding my bike, but not nearly as much as motor vehicles, both illegally parked and moving. Passing a runner means going a whole 3 feet out of my way. I've crossed mountain ranges on my bike. I think I can pass a few runners ;)


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