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We have been getting an influx of messages as of late about folks running in the opposite direction of traffic, in bike lanes. It’s important that runners use the sidewalk, when available, for the safety of all road users.

Running and bicycling have become extremely popular during the pandemic — and for good reason. Both activities give people a chance to get outside, maintain social distance from those around them, and get some exercise as indoor facilities have remained closed, or operate at limited capacity.

But bike lanes are safest when used a certain way: That is, with traffic, unimpeded, and by alternative transportation modes, like bicycling and scooting.

We understand sidewalks are generally small, especially on the streets we’ve been hearing most of the complaints (Spruce and Pine Streets in Center City, mostly). But it’s important that, when a sidewalk is available, runners use them.

We’ve additionally heard from our supporters that folks running on these streets are running in the opposite direction of bicycle traffic with headphones in and, sometimes, maskless. Not good!

As a runner myself, I understand the need to get out there and log some miles. But not at the expense of others’ safety.

A good alternative: Running on streets with less foot traffic, or streets which do not already have bike lanes. And, if you really need to run in the bike lane (if there are absolutely no other options), make sure to stay as close to the curb as possible, and run with bicycle traffic.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy director at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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