From the Forum – Jogging in the cycletrack?

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Jogging in the cycletrack?:

“Quick question of etiquette, DDOT just put a cycletrack on 6th Street NE, where I usually jog to and from work – is it acceptable to jog in the new track so that I don’t run up behind walking pedestrians?”

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94 Comment

  • You can run on the sidewalk and you always have the option to body-slam any pedestrian that stand on your way.

  • Do you run as fast as the bike traffic? If the answer to that question is no, stick to the sidewalk.

  • randomduck

    No, pedestrians are not supposed to run in the cycletrack, which is not a multi-use path. As a cyclist who also runs, I can’t see the point of running in a vehicular traffic lane – it’s the same, from a practical (and legal) standpoint, as running in a general purpose lane of the road.

    Run on the sidewalk.

    • As someone who has run thousands of miles in my life, I can assure you that cement and brick will do a lot more damage to your body than Asphalt. Also, trying to keep up a decent pace while weaving around pedestrians is a pain. I do my best to stay to the right of all bikes, and will hop up on the sidewalks if there’s significant bike traffic.

      • Research has repeatedly failed to confirm that runners are any more likely to sustain injuries running on concrete than on asphalt, or even grass for that matter. If the concrete is harder on you, perhaps that’s your body telling you to be gentler on it, i.e., not slam yourself into it so dang hard. Remember that your muscles are under the voluntary control of your brain, and although I fundamentally disagree with you about the legitimacy of running in bike lanes, I will stipulate that your brain is still a wonderful thing. As for the pace – don’t all of the traffic lights present as much of a problem, if not more of a problem, than the pedestrians? If you are doing a workout where maintaining a precise pace is critical, there are tracks and parks well-suited for that sort of thing. For the times when exact pace is not critical, you can adapt your pace to what the situation requires. Running in the bike path because its hard to go fast on the sidewalk has all the legitimacy of driving your car on the sidewalk because the car in front of you is driving too slow. (I run lots and don’t even know how to ride a bike. I just prefer to antagonize people on the internet rather than on the street…

  • in a word, no.

  • Legally? I have no idea. Ethically? I’d do it unless there were never bicyclers on the sidewalk.

    • Because two wrongs make a right

    • When there is a cycle track, designated for and used by only cyclist, then there are FAR fewer (if any) bikes on the sidewalk. All your logic is doing is continuing to perpetuate the problem that leads to all these issues in the first place, which is that there is no place that bikers feel safe or “wanted” on a road with only a car lane and a sidewalk.

    • Additionally, legally bicycles are allowed on the sidewalks in the vast majority of the District…

    • Another self-entitled citizen who decides it’s ethically fine to do the thing he knows is wrong (and isn’t sure if is illegal) just because he has *ever* witnessed somebody else do something he didn’t like (which is usually legal).


  • As (also) a runner and cyclist I don’t really mind. Everyone who is not in a motor vehicle is on my team. If you’re not taking up tons of space, if you’re aware of your surroundings, if you run right and allow others to pass left, it’s easy enough to maneuver around you.

    • +1 and I live in this neighborhood. I sometimes jog (concious of the bike traffic et al) in the bike lane because the brick sidewalks are often lumpy and difficult to run on.

    • One of the worst things about running in a cycle only lane is it forces cyclists into awkward passing situations, sometimes risking a collision with a car. Just stay out of cycle lanes. Especially during rush hour, at night, with headphones in or when running with traffic.

    • Please don’t do this unless you are going the opposite way and can see cyclists coming. Also, jogging in the bike lane is different than in a protected cycle track. It is much more difficult for cyclists to safely swerve around a jogger from a bike lane than a cycle track, when it’s possible.

  • I often run in the bike lane on 5th st near the Old Soldier’s home and seen other’s do it, but it’s not a very busy bike lane. A fast runner (6 min/mile = 10mph) can certainly go as fast as a slow cyclist, but if you’re just “jogging” cyclists would likely be annoyed and you can probably manage to maneuver around pedestrians on the side walk.

    • Please don’t do this in the dark or during rush hour. I use that lane daily and routinely (several times a month) come up behind runners with headphones in who have no idea that I am there. I have a very loud bell and I also have resorted to screaming at the top of my lungs every time a runner is ahead of me (because I can’t see whether they have headphones or not!) so I probably look like an insane person to many. But still despite acting like an insane person people repeatedly don’t see me/hear me coming.

    • Please don’t do this. You have an entire sidewalk.

  • Please don’t. It’s for bicycles. I cannot tell you how any runners I’ve literally had to scream at because their headphones are so loud they don’t hear the first few (polite) attempts to warm them of my passing. Even without headphones, it’s unsafe for a runner to move out of the way quickly, and some runners may just jump to the left into oncoming bike traffic. As a rider, I’m also put at risk having to go around you or slowing down until oncoming traffic passes. And I’m not implying that bikes have to be going very fast. Even at moderate passable speeds it’s just a bad idea.

    Run on the sidewalk , alert pedestrians- and if there are so many people that you can’t run safely, finding a different route may be your best solution.

  • As a cyclist, I’m annoyed at runners in the cycletrack, but get over it. However, what drives me absolutely batty are runners/skateboarders who use the cycletrack while wearing headphones. The space was designed for bikes, I’m going faster than you are and have more momentum behind me, and you need to know I’m coming so you can get out of my way.

  • skj84

    Please don’t. It’s a bike lane. For Bikes. If you do, it’s at your own risk.

  • Bike lanes and cycletracks are legally part of the street. 18 DCMR 2305.2 prohibits pedestrians from being in the street if a sidewalk is provided. See below


    2305.1 Whenever possible, pedestrians shall walk on the right half of crosswalks.

    2305.2 Where sidewalks are provided, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.

    2305.3 Where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian walking along and upon a street or highway shall, when practicable, walk only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic, which may approach from the opposite direction.

    2305.4 No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any vehicle.

    2305.5 Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, pedestrians shall yield right-of-way and immediately proceed to the nearest point of safety.

    • alphatango

      I was going to say that one should alway run in the opposite direction of traffic (on the left side of a two way street) on the sidewalk or otherwise. It’s easier to see oncoming right turning traffic and left turning traffic have a better view of you.

      That said, I think as both a cyclist and a runner, I’d be less annoyed at a runner if he/she is coming in the opposite direction and we can make eye contact to see what each of us are doing/going to do. Running in the middle with your back to me with headphones on… well Bikeshare marks on your back might hurt a bit.

      • Or how about don’t run in the bike lane? It’s dangerous for cyclists to have to swerve around unaware runners.

  • As others have said, it’s not a multi-use path. The name says it all, cycle track. So no, it’s not ok.

  • As a cyclist and a runner I would say no, especially if you are wearing headphones/ear-buds. If I am on my bike in a bike lane and you can’t hear me ringing my bell and saying “on your left/right” (and I feel like I am one of the rare cyclists in the city who even gives a courtesy warning) then that’s a problem, especially if I then need to move into a lane of car traffic to get around you. If you find that there are too many walking pedestrians on the sidewalks where you run, perhaps you need to find a different route to run. I understand the frustration of running on crowded sidewalks, but based on how crazy many of the drivers and cyclists are, I would never run in a bike lane.
    On a related note, I also have very strong feelings about cyclists on sidewalks. If it needs to be done (and there are times when it’s safer/more convenient to ride for a little bit on a sidewalk) then the cyclist needs to go slowly and give ample warning to those he/she passes – it’s what I do. I can’t stand it when cyclists zoom right past me on the sidewalk without any warning, especially when there are perfectly usable bike lanes on the adjacent street. It’s so unnerving!

  • Mug of Glop

    I run a lot, but I’ve only ever run in bike lanes and cycle tracks temporarily to get around blocked sidewalks or other impediments, and only when there are no bikes coming from either direction. I treat it almost as a vehicular lane. As satisfying as it would be to pass a crowd in the cycle track, we’d be just as annoying to the cyclists as the pod of tourists is to us. Plus, when the bikes veer to avoid us, they’re either colliding with each other or with vehicular traffic, reaches into actual levels of danger.

    That said, I’m actually ironically most likely to zag into a bike lane to avoid sidewalk cyclists! I hate running on sidewalks downtown with both walking tourists and Bikeshare tourists (illegally) on the sidewalk. The Bikeshare tourists seem to get really pissy when I run right past them because they don’t understand how bike lanes work. Or sidewalks. Or humanity, so far as I can tell.

  • I bike and I run. In general, I agree with others that you shouldn’t run in the bike path. It’s for bikes. Running there is not safe.

  • There was a post like this a while back (which somehow I can’t find).
    I don’t understand how people can try to rationalize/justify their way into believing that it’s OK to run/jog in the bike lane. It’s like the occasional letter to Carolyn Hax in which the problem and the solution are apparent to everyone except the letter-writer.
    This isn’t the post I had in mind, but it’s the next closest thing:

    • I cannot find the thread I was thinking of and it’s driving me up the wall.
      My recollection was that it was from around the same time as the person who posted about walking in the DCUSA parking-garage entrance, and that it too was one of the few PoPville posts on which there was near unanimity that the OP was in the wrong.

      • Textdoc as I recall the title of the post wasn’t about running in the bike lane but that’s where the thread went. Maybe it was about parking in the bike lane?

        • Hmm… maybe I will try my Google-fu once more.
          Somehow my recollection was that it was a “Dear PoPville” that basically said, “Dear PoPville: It’s OK for me to run in the bike lane because X, Y, and Z. Right?”… where it was clear that the OP was seeking validation and not looking for actual guidance/feedback.

  • Funny how the cyclists all say “share the road!!’ until it comes to their piece of the road.

    • must. not. feed. troll.

    • What? Do you understand the logic? Cyclists NEED somewhere to bike. When there IS no cycletrack then their ONLY option is to “share the road” either with cars or with pedestrians. They’re given no other option.

      What I can’t understand is why people act like they are doing bicyclists a favor by letting them co-exist.

      • Then why, for example, are there ALWAYS cyclists on the Rock Creek Parkway – holding up traffic – with a bike path in clear view? Explain that to me.

        • Always? I’ve never seen a single one on the Rock Creek Parkway. There, my anecdotal evidence is better than yours.

          • Ooooh, can I play? Been in DC 20 years and have driven on the parkway for just as long. “Always” and “never” are slight exaggerations — I’ve seen maybe one every 3 or 4 months. Hardly an epidemic but not never.

        • Because the trail is narrow and in terrible condition.

        • It’s because the path does not allow cycling at any reasonable speed, is dangerously narrow, and doesn’t go all the way through. Not to mention it’s in horribly dangerous shape. You cannot *travel* at anything resembling a reasonable speed on it. It’s MUCH faster to take the road. If you supported building usable bike infrastructure, then you’d have a point.

          • Wait,… so a crappy uneven sidewalk where tree roots push the bricks up is totally fine for running, but a cracked up bike path is insufficient for cyclists?

          • maxwell smart

            Have you been on the path in Rock Creek Park? Because it is absolutely not designed for bicycle traffic what so ever. Not only is in it poor condition (which is indeed fine for running where you are naturally traveling slower and have more control over where you are moving), there are many tight turns and short steep hills (again fine for running or walking, not great for biking).

        • That is not in fact a “bike” path, it is multi-use in that it is intended also for running and walking. For cyclists it’s often not much better than riding on a sidewalk in terms of surface condition and crowds.

  • I don’t even bike and even I get annoyed (on behalf of cyclists) when I see a jogger in the bike lane. It’s analogous to running in a road of traffic, which joggers are not allowed to do when a sidewalk is available. Stay out of the bike lane.

  • No. Absolutely not. Never. And I say this as a guy who has been running competitively for 20 years and doesn’t even know how to ride a bike.

  • Just don’t do it, man

  • sidewalks are perfectly well suited to running. Unless you’re Road Runner with Wilee Coyote in hot pursut, stick to the sidewalk.

    It’s even worse when the runners are running the WRONG direction in cycle track, which is equivalent to the road (ie with and not against traffic). Runners on road should face oncoming traffic. Same would apply to cycle track. I’ve never seen a runner who can keep up with even a slow cyclist.

    • “I’ve never seen a runner who can keep up with even a slow cyclist.”
      Then I think you’d be surprised at how slowly some people ride a bike. Still, I agree runners shouldn’t be in the bike lanes.

  • No running in the bike lane. No biking on the sidewalk. It’s very simple.

  • i’m a runner and i will run in a bike lane every. single. time. the sidewalks are jacked up and i’ve tripped and busted up my body pretty badly. i’d rather take my chances with the bikes and cars than the uneven bricks (and pedestrians with dog leashes). having said that, i also realize that bikes get priority. i run against traffic. if i see a bike coming my way, i will always jump out of the lane. I also run in the early a.m., when traffic is lighter. And i’m not so stupid as to run with headphones.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, but PLEASE understand that running in a bike lane puts bicyclists in danger (far more danger than you are in when running on the sidewalk). Bicyclists that come upon a runner in the lane have two choices 1) risk having to swerve into traffic (which keep in mind we can’t see easily since most bikes don’t have rear view mirrors) and being hit by a car or 2) crashing into a person. I am both a bicycling and runner.

    • You seem pretty set in your position, but I’ll say this in the off chance that you might listen: You could really hurt someone. Not just yourself, but others. If you cause a wreck, there could be serious consequences. It’s one thing to be cavalier with your own safety, but it’s something else entirely to be cavalier with the safety of others.

    • Not very cool man. Just because you’ve justified it to yourself doesn’t mean you have the right to put others in danger. Just because you claim you jump out of the way does not mean I know what you’re going to do when I approach, you still put me in an awkward or dangerous position, and you’re setting a bad example for others. I’m glad you feel entitled to break the law and inconvenience or even endanger others.

      Do you use similar logic to justify peeing on the toilet seat?

      • That’s a d!ck move, fellow runner. If you’re doing a working where it is important to be able to keep up a hot pace, you can do it on a track or in the park. Otherwise, stay on the sidewalk and adapt your pace to your surroundings as needed.

        • That reply was to the guy who runs in the bike lane “every. single. time.”, not you JoeyDC. Clicked in wrong place. Sorry.

        • I don’t think running 6 minutes a mile is a “hot pace.” But try running an easy 10-15 miles around DC while on the sidewalks at that pace.

          • 10 is about the most I could ever do at that pace, and that was years ago, before I became extremely old, kind of pudgy, and significantly slower. Now it’s more like 6-10 miles, and the pace is now more like 7 minutes per mile or a little slower. That’s not the point, though. For workouts where pace is critical, I’d encourage you to seek out a more appropriate venue. For workouts where pace is not critical, adapt pace as surroundings require.

  • I don’t care how you feel about it, just be a decent person when you encounter someone you disagree with in the wild.
    I had to run in the bike lane for a few blocks, on a weekend, to avoid a very large crowd. Being told to go and make relations with myself by a (rather slow) bicyclist certainly left me with a sense that my support for bike lanes had only made me more enemies.
    Before some of us runners voted to support your bike lanes, before we signed up to give money to your best local lobbying organization, before we purchased bikeshare memberships for our out of town guests, and before you came rambling down the bike-lane on your high horse, we had to dodge crowds by hopping in the lane nearest the curb. That lane is now thankfully a bike lane, it is not a reason to take your winnings and start a war on runners.

    • “we had to dodge crowds by hopping in the lane nearest the curb.” If this is the case, it sounds like you need to run somewhere less crowded.

    • Yeah, you need to find a less crowded running route.

    • Rolls eyes.

      I’m getting pretty tired of people who decide that transport modes other than their own are only entitled as long as they feel entitled to do whatever they want.

      So instead of the usual “I’ll support bike lanes when I never see one on the sidewalk,” we now have “I’ll support bike lanes as long as I get to use them illegally for whatever I want with nobody minding.”

      Very productive, sir.

    • Disagreeing has nothing to do with it. You’re in the street, and if there’s a sidewalk provided you’re jaywalking. Get out of the road and on the sidewalk where you belong. And then go find a less crowded place to run — the city isn’t your personal free gym.

      • If you really believe that, then I am going to assume that you missed my point about civility. Like the occasional runner that you are bound to encounter, you know nothing about me.

        DC has lots of great running trails. I usually stick to them, but I must run to them. DC also has lots of surprises, this weekend I can into TWO charity walks, in a normally quite stretch. Don’t jump to judgement, that’s the kind of mistake that rookie auto drivers make when they encounter bicyclists.

        • And if you really believe that you *had* to run in the bike lane then you’re guilty of your own assumptions and the eye rolling responses that you’re getting are deserved. There’s a simple rule, and one that’s easy to follow: don’t run in the street. It’s illegal and dangerous to yourself and others.

          • Bicyclists must deal with delivery vans, illegally parked vehicles, vehicle doors, puddles, litter, and other hazards. They they do so by sometimes riding outside of their designated piece of the streetscape. It’s not ideal, it’s not safe, and it’s not fun, but it’s what actually happens all over this city. Runners face hazards too, and just like bicyclists, they don’t need or deserve to add self-centered road hogs to the list of daily dangers.

  • I agree with most of the commenters above. I take the 15th street cycle track home from work and runners are extremely annoying and dangerous. It’s even worse when they run on the wrong side of the road. Where there is a bike lane rather than a cycle track, this forces the biker out into traffic. There are plenty of places to run in this city without pedestrian traffic, there’s no reason runners have to use bike lanes.

    The one occasional exception to this rule is the 15th street cycle track from Pennsylvania to New York. The sidewalk there is packed with tourists and there are very few bikers (obviously depending on the time of day). I run the cycle track these few blocks pretty regularly, but make sure to avoid impeding any bike traffic.

    • It should never happen!! It’s too dangerous!!

      The only exception is the SUPER dangerous stretch when I just don’t care if cyclist face even more danger.

      Thanks a heap!

      • You have obviously never biked this stretch of road, but your sarcastic response is duly noted and will be ignored.

  • Replace a few words and it becomes:

    “Quick question of etiquette, DDOT just put in a new road lane on 6th Street NW, where I usually jog to and from work – is it acceptable to jog in the new road lane so that I don’t run up behind walking pedestrians?”

    would you jog with traffic? stupid.idiot.

    • Many people jog *against* traffic in the road, and it’s actually a pretty smart thing to do. It’s much safer than the sidewalk at intersections where perpendicular vehicles (and, cough, bicycles) don’t stop when they are supposed to. I don’t know a serious runner who HASN’T been hit by such a vehicle. Also, concrete impact is terrible on the body, and could be called “unsafe”, whereas asphalt doesn’t have as much of a problem.

  • I do sprints up the 15th St. hill in the bike lane sometimes. I give bikes the right of way, but I’m often faster up the hill than them anyway.

    • That seems completely unnecessary since the sidewalk on the West side of the street is quite large and there are plenty of other better hills for running nearby that have loads of sidewalk room. While you may pass the occasional bike I pass runners on my bike on this hill all the time (probably including you) and it is extremely dangerous.

      And for please god don’t run the wrong direction down the hill in the bike lane. People who do that are the worst.

  • I often wonder if reading forums like this ever actually influences someone’s decision on the topic at hand. Being against jogging in bike lanes as that’s not what it’s there for and it’s dangerous to both parties, I can’t imagine what I’d have to read here otherwise to convince me. Conversely if I were a jogger, I don’t know what I’d need to see to convince myself that I shouldn’t do it. Most likely joggers already know it’s dangerous and accept the risk. Is anyone ever influenced by conversations like these? Or are they just opportunities to mouth off?

    • albany

      Just to answer your question, I took the advice of the majority of polite responders and jogged on the sidewalk. I did pop onto the cycle track for about 25 feet to avoid the 10-20 students coming in a group from the Hamilton school on the same street. There were no cyclists at the time (I looked), I run without headphones so I can be aware of my surroundings and it was easier than running into the trees (again).

  • I don’t see a problem with it (as a runner and a cyclist) as long as you’re facing the traffic – so the cyclists aren’t coming up behind you and you can move out of their way when they come by.

  • I have run at least 50,000 miles in my life, about 20,000 of them on DC sidewalks, and exactly 0.00 in bike lanes. I have no special affinity for bikes. I don’t even know how to ride one. But I do not understand why in the world any runner feels like they need to run in a bike lane.

    • From what I saw the last time this came up, there was a whole lot of self-importance and rationalization. Other than that, there were no compelling justifications raised. Same for this thread, come to think of it.

  • Sounds like the overall consensus is runners should stay on the sidewalk.

    What if you are running with a jogging stroller?

  • I keep seeing people advocating for running contraflow if they’re going to run in a bike lane – where does that come from? When I’m riding a bike in a bike lane, I don’t at all mind getting out of the lane for a second to pass a runner running in the same direction, but if they’re coming at me it’s pretty unnerving. I have no way of predicting what they’ll do and I have to make a faster decision, check for car traffic, and leave the lane to pass. So I really don’t get it.

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