It is no secret that where bikers and runners travel is a hot topic as to whether they are supposed to be on the sidewalk or road. As a result, sometimes it can cause a lot of rage, just like what happened in this bikers incident in Chattanooga, Tenn earlier this year. In my view it all depends on how fast your going, the road being run on and the road itself. The reasoning varies with bikers and runners. So here is the reality of both:
Conventional wisdom states that bikers have the right to ride on the road with cars and travel in the same direction. If you are going to bike in the middle of the street there really needs to be a minimum speed limit in some places to avoid holding up traffic for the same reasons why you would not ride that slow in a car. The reasoning is basic science and there would be far less bike accidents with cars.
If your riding with traffic this also means you have to be alert and athletic enough to be able to dodge out of harms way plus quite frankly, if bikers are incapable of riding more than four or five miles an hour it’s probably not safe for them to be on the road as there is no guarantee they would be alert enough to dodge an emergency.
Runners are much more highly controversial since they are going at a slower pace than bikers. Unless you are a runner you are probably scratching your head on why this should even be a topic for discussion, but there is a good reason. When running on sidewalks you are putting additional stress on your joints, mainly when your foot hits the ground. So those that run in the roads are simply trying to protect their joints.
While hitting the ground with a lot of force can cause issues anyways, sidewalks can cause additional stress because of the hardness of the surface. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying runners should have the right to run in the middle of the road during rush hour traffic. If you are going to do road running it is better to simply run during low traffic times and the reason is basic science. As a runner you are forcing traffic. Even if your running a five minute mile where you are going 12 miles per hour you are running half the speed of the car which you are facing.
So if you are a biker or runner should you be in the road? If you’re a biker and you can go faster (approximately 8-20+ miles per hour) have at it. If you can’t stay on the sidewalk or choose a biking trail. If you’re a runner you can be justified in running on the roads but only do so during times where traffic is light or you are on a road less travelled.