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5153 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Feb 19, 2011 2:21 PM by TreesArunner 1 2 Previous Next
TreesArunner Rookie 6 posts since
Feb 10, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Feb 10, 2011 7:05 AM

What is the safest side of the street to run on?

I have been running off and on for a short time now.  We recently moved into a neighborhood which is near the bay along winding roads with few or NO foot paths so I must run on the road.  When I don't have a path to run on and must run in the street I usually run against traffic.  What do you think is the safest? 


If you run at night and wear a flashing red light to be more visible AND you run against traffic do you still follow the rule of wearing the red light on your back and white light on the front? 

  • Surfing_Vol Legend 848 posts since
    Nov 6, 2007

    1.  Running against traffic is always safest, but is hard on the knees, legs and body due to the camber (slope) of most roads.


    2.  I run at 5 or 5:30 am.  Due to the lack of traffic, I run in the middle of the road.


    3.  White in front, red in back.  Flashing lights are best.  Also, I wear reflective gear:



    Surfing Vol

    "Victory through attrition!"

    Charleston Half-Marathon 1/15/2011 -- 1:52:03

    The Scream! Half-Marathon 7/16/2011 -- 1:56:00

  • Pete Metcalf Amateur 22 posts since
    Oct 2, 2007

    Had to reply to your second plea...I have been running a "few" years and have found two things are true...Motorist do NOT care that you are using their road and dogs love to chase a moving object.

    I prefer to run against traffic which gives me the chance to jump out of the way for the guy that doesn't care why I am on his road.

    I have always carried a spray and have only used it once....amazing reponse to immediately turned back to its owner and ran.  All traffic stopped for that to watch...and I think maybe, the dog learned something.


    So, run against traffic.  Don't run after dark (not safe).  Always run where there is houses and people....never on that long dirt road that looks so safe and nobody to bother you....bad news!


    I am 69 this year and have run 7 marathons over my running time...looking forward to Chicago this year 10-9-11.


    Hope this helps you,


  • nowirun4fun Legend 208 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010

    I don't think there is a safest side, personally.  Generally, I'll run against the traffic.  My rationale there is I figure if someone is going to take me out, I want to see it coming.


    I do try to balance both sides of the road, always depending on the visibility that traffic will have to see me.  Trying to balance the cambre of the road with my body as surfing vol said, I think.  So, at one particular bend where I'm in a blind spot and should meet certain demise if someone were playing Tony Stewart and hugging the apron, I'll get to the other side of the road beforehand.


    Drivers around here are idiots, that's the bottom line, plain and simple.  They will not slow down and don't mind taking you out if that's what it takes to keep up to speed.  That's a battle I cannot win, so am always on heightened alert.  I raise my voice often times at the passing idiots, and love it when they hear me...the delayed honk is a good sign.  Also, I'm working on a method of proactively building up a good lugee and laying one on the cars who seemed detemined to take me out.


    While one would think reflective gear at later hours is supposed to help to keep you safe, but in my opinion most of the idiots just use that as making a better target to aim for.

  • urun2me Pro 194 posts since
    Jun 7, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Feb 10, 2011 11:18 AM (in response to nowirun4fun)
    Re: What is the safest side of the street to run on?

    I always run against traffic. The biggest problem I've found is that drivers do not look right when they approach an intersection, especially out of a driveway or neighborhood. They zoom up to the road, look left, then gun it to make a right turn. I try to make eye contact with the driver before crossing his path, but there have been two occasions where there was a "miscommunication" and I was nearly run over. Just this week I tried to get a driver's attention by waving my arms and calling out, but she never saw me. I waited a minute or two for her to make her right turn and was finally able to proceed. I seriously thought about banging on the hood of her car, but I figured that would be really rude.


    So take care out there on the roads.

  • ALatteCrazy Pro 105 posts since
    Feb 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Feb 10, 2011 11:20 AM (in response to TreesArunner)
    Re: What is the safest side of the street to run on?

    I'm glad you posted this, I usually run against traffic unless there's a sidewalk. Someone else posted 'if someone is going to take me out I'd rather see it coming', and I agree. I really wouldn't want to be flattened by someone who saw me running but didn't care, and at least if I see THEM coming I can move over if they don't appear to be giving any. I don't run at night, if I need to run at night I just use a treadmill.


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  • Art Davis Pro 112 posts since
    Jan 30, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 10, 2011 11:34 AM (in response to TreesArunner)
    Re: What is the safest side of the street to run on?

    I usually run against traffic unless there is a sidewalk.

    I have started a blog to and I recently had post entitled "Running After Dark", you might want to check it out.


    A little about me, I am 52 years old and started running in 2007 to lose weight, so far I have lost 60lbs. I signed up for the Chicago Marathon it will be my 5th full marathon and 1st world major. I have also run 4 half-maratons along the way.

    Following is a link to my blog:


    Getting Fit at Fifty

  • John425 Pro 184 posts since
    May 20, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Feb 10, 2011 12:27 PM (in response to Art Davis)
    Re: What is the safest side of the street to run on?

    I prefer to face traffic when I run but as Surfing_Vol has already said and I will confirm, not changing to the other side of the road occasionally did cause issues with my knees before I discovered the reason.  I must cross a bridge on my run and I always face traffic for that.  Also, my absolute favorite time to run is before dawn.  I will get up at 4am to be on the road around 5:30, giving myself time for dressing, getting a bite to eat, making sure I won't have bodily relief issues on the road, stretching, and leg massage.  I have found that running that early means almost no traffic and I get to enjoy seeing the sunrise, rabbits and foxes, and listening to the birds.  When I do encounter cars on the road it is usually the same people I always encounter and when they move to the center of the road to give me room I always wave and mouth a "Thank you" while looking at them.  Other motorists notice that and the consideration seems to be contageous.  At least it has worked out that way for me.

  • Surfing_Vol Legend 848 posts since
    Nov 6, 2007

    Don't give up on running in the dark -- there is a group of women in my neighborhood that gathers for pre-dawn runs.  Ask around.


    Surfing Vol

    "Victory through attrition!"

    Charleston Half-Marathon 1/15/2011 -- 1:52:03

    The Scream! Half-Marathon 7/16/2011 -- 1:56:00

  • ModernMaven Pro 135 posts since
    Jun 8, 2009

    I run early mornings and it's often dark when I am out there.  I wear the amphipod xinglet someone posted above with a white blinky light on the front of me.  I run against traffic as well so I can see something coming and hopefully get out of the way if need be.


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  • run4psu Amateur 8 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    The Underside?


    It amazes me the number of people that run/walk, walk dogs, or push baby carriages WITH traffic.  I was taught in kindergarten to always walk/run AGAINST traffic.  Bikes are WITH traffic.  You want to be able to see the cars coming at you.  THEY MAY NOT SEE YOU.  They may not compensate for their mirrors.  They may be yapping on a cell phone and take you out before you literally know what hits you.


    That said, drivers seem to be getting worse.  I have been running 4-5 days per week for 10 years, mostly on neighborhood and small city roads at just about any time of the day/night.  The drivers I encounter are more likely to come to a complete freaking stop to avoid hitting a squirrel, but then race you to the intersection and run the STOP sign rather than yielding to a runner.  We have crosswalks with little yellow signs saying it is STATE LAW to yield to pedestrians in cross walks and they will still lay on their horns and try to run you over.  School buses are the worst and I run near schools.  For as postal as they go when an oncoming car doesn't slam on its brakes when they put on their yellow lights, they'll run me down right in front of a school if I don't jump off the road.  This has happened three times just in the past year or so.  Worse yet, I'm looking right at the driver and I know they see me!  I guess since I'm not 4 feet tall with a Scooby Doo lunch box I'm fair game.


    And then there are the poeple walking in the wrong direction and now I have to run more in the center of the road to avoid them.






    Simple and safe.


    Sorry for the rant but this has been building for years.  I mean seriously, it takes me literally a second or two to cross a street at my pace.  You can't come to a full stop at the stop sign and wait for me to continue? OK.  I think I'm done.

    Living The Eye Life

  • flamomof3 Legend 1,928 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007

    I come out of my subdivision and I run with the traffic. I would have to cross 4 lanes to run against it.

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