It happened again today on my way home from work. It’s not like it happens all the time, but often enough. I don’t know, maybe it’s actually not that often at all, but it gets me all riled up every time, nonetheless.
Effin’ joggers in the bike lane.
In some circumstances, I can at least understand the reasoning behind it. Say the pavement/sidewalk is really bad. Like, really bad.
Nope. Still joggable.
Yep. That’s bad.
I can even sort of understand running on some residential sidewalks where there are tons of driveways that have no lines of sight and potential for cars careening out of them. Most of the time, though, these are exceptions and not the rule. Most of the joggers that I have seen running in the bike lane are doing so by choice even when there is a suitable alternative. Sometimes the choice to run in the bike lane when there are such suitable alternatives quite simply blows my mind. Take this, for example:
This is a road I take on my way to work every day. On the left you can see a token bike lane. You can also see that it is a reasonably busy road. You may also notice, if you look really, really closely, that there is a rather gargantuan park next to the road. More than that, you may also notice that directly next to the bike lane there is a groomed path for anyone to use as they wish. Unlike the person faced with a sidewalk full of trash or a real possibility of getting backed into by a car in a driveway, here there is an abundance of incredibly suitable and fantastically convenient options for the purpose of your jogging proclivities.
It is on this road, on this very section, that I encountered my second most-recent bike-lane-jogger. This one was running in the direction of traffic and so there was no hopping off the road temporarily for me to pass by. With his back to traffic he was also left vulnerable to an errant driver, so why he’d want to be there at all when there is such an easy option I have no idea. As a cyclist, I don’t have a choise. The left lane was full of cars, so I had to slow down in advance and jump into a gap in the traffic to get around him, dispensing some advice to him in the process.
The lights at the intersection, just out of sight in the above image, turned red as I got there, so I anticipated him catching up to me, which he did. Running past me (I was already at the stop line) and jogging in small circles, basically in the intersection (a classic shoal, if there ever was one), I suggested to him that there was absolutely no reason why he should be in the bike lane. I can’t remember the details of his response, except for this part: that I needed to learn how to share.
And with that, he was off again. I passed him, once again (as closely as I could of course – that’ll show him!), but as I was quite taken aback by the audacity of his response, I was mute as I did, instead going over in my mind all the retorts I should have responded to him with. “You, who have all this space to use, feel you have the right to use my tiny ribbon of road that we have had to fight for and defend vigorously, next to fast-moving traffic, because you don’t want to get your shoes dusty?” “You are in fact incorrect, you muppet. This is not a shared-use path, and I have absolutely no legal nor moral obligation to share with you the tiny space only sometimes provided for me” (it’s only a bike lane between 7:30-9am and 4:30-6pm). The tiny space that is usually full of branches, gravel and glass.
I was feeling a little better the next time I saw him – he was running on the groomed path. Maybe I wasn’t the only one to have a go at him, or maybe he actually thought about it. Last week I had to go around another jogger on the other side of the very same road on my way home, who in the bike lane coming towards me. There is a sidewalk/pavement with no blind driveways that is perfectly joggable on that side. I had no choice but to deploy the devastating head-shake and frown of disapproval.
I don’t know. Am I just being unreasonable? Can anyone enlighten me on why some joggers feel the need to occupy the space alloted to cyclists when they already have their own? Is it not enough that we have to battle with vehicles?
No, really. This is a genuine question. Someone please tell me I’m crazy.
Header image: *Bitch Cakes*/Flickr