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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RAPUNZEL53 11/10/2020
Thanks. Report
SUNSET09 10/14/2020
You'd think, these tings should go without having to be said, SparkFriends however more people need to read and heed. Report
FITNIK2020 8/13/2020
These comments are a whole new article. My big bugaboo is with the bikers . Be aware if them whizzing by at high speeds - they can mow you down. I keep to the sides of pathways... and sometimes do not hear them approaching. As for saying Hi ! I normally will smile, or wave, but I mind my own business. I appreciate good manners no matter what or where. And I do not litter ! Report
MARITIMER3 8/12/2020
I usually walk in the morning around 8 and see the same people most days. Some speak, others don't. I always do. Report
CKEYES1 2/18/2020
Respect the road Report
I once saw a teenage boy with 2 basketballs and he was bouncing both of them, one in each hand. That's an amazing thing to be able to do. I complimented him, only to realize he had ear buds on and couldn't hear a word I said. I felt disappointed thgat I could compliment him. Report
Sounds like the good old Golden Rule to me, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. Report
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. - Can this apply to marathon/race runners too? Seriously, one of those events came to my town and I was just disgusted by the mountains of cups, wrappers, etc. left in the street as they all ran by. Not to mention the waste left behind by the people out there watching too.

When passing other runners or walkers, say hello. - No. Not everyone wants to socialize, thank you. If someone wants to speak to you, they will. You don't know why they're out there, what they're going through. Just leave people alone and mind your business Report
Great reminders Report
When I go walking, I stop to eat a snack. I always clean up behind myself. Report
While I am on my walk, I usually stop and eat, but I always clean up when I am finished. Report
Great article! Thanks! Report
I wear reflective vests night and day so I can be seen. But, I am deaf and I really wish there was a universal symbol so walkers and bikers don't startle deaf people. My left ear is the one that is over 100 decibals deaf (basically can hear no spoken conversation in it, phone or live in person) and when people pass me on the left and say whatever they said, I've absolutely no way to know and frequently I'm startled. I'm constantly looking around to make sure there is no one coming up behind, so as a result, walking outside is a lot more stressful and the whole idea of "exercise as stress relief" is a huge joke, because it actually ends up being more stressful. I end up walking at night a lot of times just because I know most people are at home and I can enjoy the peace and quiet better... Report
thanks - great article Report
We cycle and don’t like it when dogs wander all over the path! Report
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
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
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
Interesting Report
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
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.
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
Yes!! to the clean up after your dog if they are with you on your walk! Report
Now all we need is for all runners to read this. Report
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
Good advice! Report
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
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
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

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