Path Etiquette; What Is Appropriate When Running, Walking or Cycling on a Public Path

From a previous TrafficJamJen blog post at Fast Girls Have A Better Time:

As a runner who has been hitting the path for years now, I have noticed a SIGNIFICANT gain in population on the path.  Runners have multiplied like rabbits, cyclists think that they can keep up with the cars on LSD, and then we have the tourists from all over the world who don’t understand when we are yelling “left” or “bike back” because they just don’t know the language!  The path has actually gone from a wonderful place to get out, to a very dangerous, overcrowded area. What are all of your tips on how to stay safe? What do you do to make sure you are being a “good citizen?” And most importantly, what do you LOVE to do on our lakefront? My first piece of advice is for any runner or cyclist to pass on the left when going around pedestrians.  As you approach, just merely yell, “LEFT,” so that people will be aware not to blindly walk in front of you, and have them be more alert.  Now this is something that goes for anybody on the lakefront.  We need to understand the “LEFT” code.  If you hear somebody yell, continue your activity by moving straight or veering to the right just a little.  This is a way we can all know these social norms on the path in order to keep our summer safe!

A trail etiquette guide at Waterfall Glen in Lemont

Coaching Tip of the Week from Team In Training Coach, Omar Gutierrez

  • In general be courteous and aware of others using the path.
  • Always look both ways –at least twice- before entering or exiting a path, including when you are approaching intersections and at drinking fountains.
  • Stay on the right side of the path!!!
  • Only walk or run two abreast!!!
  • Never force other athletes or pedestrians off the path. If you are in a particularly busy area walk or run single file.
  • Never stop suddenly in the middle of a path.
  • If you are passing someone, warn them ahead before passing by saying “On your left.”  Be courteous and alert them to your presence without frightening them. Saying “good morning” or “great job” is another way to let them know you’re there in a friendly way.
  • Be careful when merging to the left to pass. Another athlete could be passing you without giving you a warning.
  • If someone says “on your left” to you, move to the right and allow them to pass.
  • Pay attention to people speaking to you on the path. Do not get so involved in conversation or your music that you don’t hear or pay attention to what’s going on around you.
  • Communicate with your TEAM members and others on the path. For example, if a bike just passed you call out “bike back” to warn others in front of you.  If a group of runners are in front of you call back “runners up”
  • When you see a fellow TEAM member acknowledge them with a “Go Team” or other encouragement.
  • Do not throw candy or gel wrappers on the ground.  Save them for the next trash can.  At water stops, stack used cups neatly or throw them in a trash bag.
  • Turn your headphones down so you can hear what is going on around you.
  • If you need to use your phone, go to the side of the path.

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