A Proclamation to the World

To ALL Runners, Walkers, Cyclists, and Motorists-

We need to share the roads and trails, and there are some simple rules and considerations to keep in mind to help keep everyone safe.

Runners and walkers- Use the left side of the road. The simple reason for this is that you can see traffic coming and therefore will have a better chance of getting out of the way of an inattentive driver who may be texting or talking on a phone. If you feel the need to use the right side of the road occasionally, do it only on fairly straight, flat sections so motorists have a better chance of seeing you. Using the right side on hilly or curvy roads is just asking for trouble.

Runners, walkers, and cyclists should do all they can to be visible to motorists. Wear light-colored, or better yet, brightly-colored apparel. In low-light conditions Hi-Viz apparel with reflective bits and reflective vests/belts/ armbands and lights will help keep you out of the emergency room. Wear a light on the back of your waistband to help motorists see you, and a light on the front will also help to see where you are going in the dark.

Groups of two or more should run/walk in a way that allows motorists and cyclists to safely pass. If running/walking two abreast or more, choose the side closer to the curb/shoulder and you may have a better chance of surviving a hit, or don't run/walk with those you love or like. But seriously, be careful running and walking and riding in groups. Two or more runners/walkers side by side on the right side of the road are also asking for trouble. Do it on the right side of a curvy/hilly road and it is double trouble.

If you run or walk with a dog, have the dog on the curb side, and by all means run/walk on the left side of the road to keep your dog safe. On the trail or on the road; if your dog takes a dump where others will be running, walking, or riding, please kick the poop off the side of the way. If you happen to pick up the poop with a baggy, by all means take it with you. It does no good to pick up the poop and then leave it in the baggy on the side of the path to sit and rot until the bag degrades in a few years. Finally, keep your dog on a leash. Runners and walkers do not know if your dog is good or if it will tear a leg off. And nice dogs licking or jumping on runners who do not want such canine attention are not good dogs.

When on the trail- Cyclists yield to runners, and cyclists and runners yield to horses, and horses yield to ... mountain lions, perhaps. On the trail is where I never listen to music because I want to be especially aware of my surroundings, whether a runner or cyclist wants to pass me or if a Rattle Snake is warning me, or so I can hear if someone or something is coming my way. That said, if a mountain lion is about to kill me, I may want to enjoy my music right up till my Jugular is torn.

Extra effort to be safe is needed for headphone runners. If you cannot hear a car coming or a dog barking you may be asking for trouble. There are headphones, like Yurbuds, that allow runners to hear ambient noises and still enjoy music. 

Racing- Line up at a race with your pace group. If you are not going to win the race, you should not have your toes on the starting line. If you are a walker you should be in the back. If you are pushing a stroller you should also be at the back unless you will be holding a 6-minute mile pace with junior. It is inconsiderate to the other racers to make them pass dozens or even hundreds of runners in the first mile just because slow runners line up where the fast runners should be. And FYI, the race bib/number goes on the front of your shirt. When taking a cup of water at an aid station, keep moving and step aside so others behind you can also get water, and then toss your empty cup in the bin. These things and more make running races better for the runners and for the organizers. We all want to have a good race.

Cyclists are to obey the same rules of the road as motorists; Stop at stops, yield at yields, signal turns and stops. Cyclists should ride as close as possible to the right shoulder, and as well as possible ride a straight line and check for cars when avoiding rough spots on the road. 

Motorists have a huge responsibility to avoid injuring or killing runners, walkers, dogs, and cyclists. The speed and weight differences are not in the favor of pedestrians or cyclists. Motorists must obey the rules of the road to make the roads safe for everyone. Stop at stops, yield at yields, use turn signals, observe the speed limit, and be extra careful around pedestrians and cyclist, pay attention, and put the phone down especially in residential areas and when hurling 2,000 lbs. of metal down the road at high speeds. Don't yell at runners because we make you come to a stop before entering a roadway. And don't yell at runners, walkers, or cyclists just for kicks as you drive by... because it is not funny. There is nothing so important that you need to kill someone just because you did not take the time to stop, signal, or even look where you are going.

Thank you for being safe, aware, and courteous, and for reading this information.

These rules and courtesies are not complete or all inclusive. You are welcome to send me your suggestions, and feel free to send this message to a friend or foe to expand the reach of the proclamation.