i ran outside saturday and sunday this weekend, and hooo boy do drivers need a refresher in how to treat pedestrians on the road.
first of all, you should know that, while i live in a nice little neighborhood, i can only get half a mile before i need to set foot on a 55-mph county road. now, rural stearns county roads are at least a little less sparse on the traffic side than, say, a state highway or a metro county road.
but there are still trucks and golf carts and cars and semis and sometimes even tractors on the road, and even though there is a considerable shoulder, drivers still need to give a little bit of a berth to a pedestrian or biker. and it’s like they forgot how to deal with us over the wintertime.
first, a reminder to pedestrains: USE THE LEFT SIDE. you want to see if you’re going to die by old man driver who’s drifting over the shoulder like what happened to me today. you need to know when you need to jump into the ditch! so use the left side so you can see traffic! ok. now that that’s out of the way.
tips and tricks for drivers!
- give us a berth: you don’t need to haul it over to the opposite shoulder, but you do need to allow a few feet for the ped – maybe you can roll right down the center of the road. while running, i generally try to hug the very left edge of the shoulder when i see a car, and if i’m not, it’s because there is something weird on the asphalt or i’m running past a mailbox. but don’t ride the white line, either, if you see me as far over as possible on the shoulder. that’s just rude. even if there are cars coming the opposite way, you can easily hug the center line a bit so you give me some room. i actually had a dude on the white shoulder line today with no one coming the opposite way, so i had to run into the muddy ditch while he drove past. i wanted to shake my fist. i’ve also had a few people not move over at all (but who weren’t riding the white line). seriously?
- give the other car a berth: see a ped/car/car situation coming up and you’re on the opposite side of the ped? why not move over onto YOUR shoulder so the car in the other lane can move over for the ped. now if it’s a ped/car/car/ped situation, that’s a whole other problem that doesn’t come up very often for me. just slow down if that’s the case. speaking of speed…
- don’t slow down to 15mph. PLEASE. just go the speed you were going. as long as you’re moving over for me, i don’t care if you’re going 70. actually, the faster you get around me, the faster i can relax.
- don’t honk: i KNOW you’re there. no need to honk and scare the crap out of me. and i usually have headphones in, so i won’t even hear you that well. just…don’t.
- don’t expect me to wave: unless i’m running in my little neighborhood, i won’t wave. this is because women runners are subject to a lot of weird reactions, and i don’t need to make any eye contact with strangers. if you wave, i probably won’t see you.
- don’t move over yet!!! this one his HUGE. so many times i see drivers give a huge berth, starting a block away from me, only to start moving back over into the lane before they pass me!! MAKE SURE YOU’VE PASSED THE THE PED BEFORE YOU MOVE BACK OVER. especially if you have a trailer!! this one baffles me.
- here’s an in-town tip: if you see a runner approaching an intersection where you have no stop sign, and s/he slows down and bends over to strech or pulls out a phone to look at something, just go. don’t stop and back up traffic to wave her/him across and s/he doesn’t even notice because of the stretching and music in the ears. and chances are, this was a planned break! you will know when a ped is waiting to get across, and stretching time is not it. i was intersection stretching and happened to look up to see a minivan holding up 3 cars in st. charles and was like “what lady, just go” and waved emphatically at her to go. she looked pissed. good grief.
ok, that’s all i’ve got for now. hopefully you’re more aware of the ped sitch from the ped’s point of view and can help us out. any other peds have more tips and tricks for drivers?