Joggers should stay out of bike lanes, cyclists warn

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Joggers who use bike lanes to escape crowded sidewalks are running afoul of roadway laws — and putting cyclists in danger, leading pedal-pushers and bipeds agree.

Brooklyn joggers sometimes obstruct the Kent Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Shore Road, and Prospect Park roadway bike lanes in attempts to avoid injuries, maintain a consistent pace, and get around slow-moving, shoulder-to-shoulder pedestrian traffic.

But in doing so, the joggers — some of whom, ironically, are also avid cyclists — wind up disrupting delicate street-traffic flow and creating a nerve-racking experience for two-wheelers, bike advocates say.

“Running in bike lanes just transfers the problem to someone else — cyclists are forced to take a serious risk and make an unexpected swerve into the adjacent traffic,” said bike advocate Ian Dutton.

Some members of the Asics-sporting set admit their rule-breaking is a bad choice — but say it also feels justifiable through the haze of endorphins.

Faster runners, some say, move at roughly the same speed as cyclists — so an empty bike lane feels like a more suitable spot than a sidewalk full of slow walkers.

“If a runner is dodging pedestrians on the sidewalk and the bike lane is empty, it can be really tempting,” said runner Lee Silverman, who owns JackRabbit Sports in Park Slope. “That said, cyclists are justified in being frustrated.”

Other joggers said they sometimes run in bike lanes to protect their bodies from wear and tear.

Runners complain about uneven sidewalks that are trip-and-fall hazards for those with shuffling gaits, cambered streets such as the Prospect Park “loop” that can wreck knees over long distances, and the simple fact that concrete sidewalks are harder on the joints than smooth asphalt roadways.

“I run in the bike lane on Kent Avenue because the sidewalk is chewed-up,” said Keith Williams, who is also a cyclist. “When you see runners in the bike lane, a lot of times they’re doing it to protect their legs.”

But cyclists who have long fought for safer streets say sore knees are better than broken necks — and it only takes one rogue runner to injure or even kill someone.

That’s why bike boosters want runners to better plan their routes to avoid clogged sidewalks where snagging public space can feel like a Marathon-caliber effort.

“Picking less crowed places is important — you wouldn’t run through Times Square, would you?” Silverman said.

Reach reporter Natalie O'Neill at or by calling her at (718) 260-4505.

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Reader Feedback

Dan from Boerum Hill says:
...Or bicyclists could just slow down when they see a runner. No wait, that'd be crazy!
Oct. 29, 2012, 7:54 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Of course! Enforce THIS law. But pick the ones you like to obey if you are on a bike.
Oct. 29, 2012, 7:55 am
Chicken Underwear from Park Slope says:
There is a bid difference between running in the bike lane in Prospect Park and 9th St.

There is no need to run in the bike lane in Prospect Park. But the bike lanes on streets proved a safe way to get from point a to point b. I run in the bike lanes all the time, facing traffic and as closed to the parked cars as possible. I never had a negative encounter with a cyclists.

I think the more use the bike lanes the better. It just gives cars owners less of excuse to store their property there.
Oct. 29, 2012, 7:57 am
mike from GP says:
Bicyclists and joggers need not fight!

Take more space away from the cars. Problem solved.
Oct. 29, 2012, 9:05 am
Other Michael from Park Slope says:
Natalie, Why didn't you interview Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville for this article?

I am sure he has all the answers, but few of the facts.
Oct. 29, 2012, 9:37 am
Jesse from Harlem says:
Sounds like the sidewalk needs to be widened. Maybe remove a lane of car parking. It sucks how pedestrians get squeezed in this city just because cars are so big and their drivers are so entitled and loud-mouthed.
Oct. 29, 2012, 9:39 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Make a seperate lane for runners. And one for joggers. One for skaters too!

And unicycles!

Welcome to the CITY, not Culdisakia.
Oct. 29, 2012, 10:07 am
S from PPW says:
I'm a cyclist and this is really not a big deal. Maybe it's annoying once in a while, but I can think of a lot of bigger dangers to cyclists than the occasional jogger.

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.
Oct. 29, 2012, 10:10 am
ty from pps says:
This is definitely not that big of a problem. But what happens if the DOT tries to widen sidewalks? There will be OUTRAGE!
Oct. 29, 2012, 10:40 am
Eric McClure from Park Slope says:
What Mike from GP said.
Oct. 29, 2012, 11:49 am
wkgreen from Park Slope says:
If runners are worried about wrecking their knees then maybe they should switch to cycling. That's one big reason that I cycle. Sometimes the road edge where bike lanes are located can be just as messed up as the sidewalk.

That being said, I've never found joggers in the bike lanes to be a big deal. Being kindred spirits they are usually considerate about where they are, and move at about the same speed as a slow bicycle anyway. It's people that walk or stand in the middle or step off into it without looking that are the real hazard. On the major streets and avenues in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn (ie Smith St.) there's also a problem of people using the lanes to pull food carts.
Oct. 29, 2012, 11:58 am
jay from pslope says:
everybody needs their own lane, one for walkers, one for handicapped people, one for strollers, one for joggers, one for runners, one for bicyclists, one for garbage trucks, one for delivery trucks, and one for cars.
We need less buildings, we need to get rid of them, they are the real problem, so we can build all these lanes all these selfish building owners taking up all that space that could be used for everyone to have their own special lane.
Oct. 29, 2012, 12:27 pm
PingoPlus from Kensington says:
Runners and Joggers in the bike lane are not that big of a deal. They tend to use the bike lane only when it is less crowded than the sidewalk, they are usually more aware of their surroundings than the average pedestrian, and many of them are moving at nearly the same speed as slower bikers.

People walking and standing in the bike lanes are a bigger problem. They are often not paying any attention to bike traffic or anything else, and they are unpredictable - might step right in front of an oncoming bike.

But the biggest problems are still caused by drivers, both in and out of the bike lanes.
Oct. 29, 2012, 1:53 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Disregarding an insult that was aimed at me by one of the comments, I find cyclists to be very hypocritical on this. I always hear the bike zealots claiming that the road should be shared with them, but they don't want to share anything back. Then again, that is the nature of bike zealots in that everything should be for them. Honestly, many motor vehicles have lost enough space just for that pet project known as bike lanes that hardly get used. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more joggers in those lanes than bicycles. At least they are getting used for something rather than being seen as a waste of space with those joggers! On a side note, I heard that bus drivers have more issues with cyclists than double parked cars in Park Slope according to the NY Post.
Oct. 29, 2012, 1:58 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal --
That "article" just epitomizes the ignorant thinking that you just love.

“They could take Sixth Avenue, where there is so much less traffic. Why this avenue?”

Umm... Why is there a bus and cars and pedestrians on 5th Avenue?! Well, maybe it's because that's where people are going. Why would a person on a bicycle go to 6th Avenue to go to a store on 5th Avenue?!? Uggh.

Shouldn't you be helping your mom with hurricane stuff?
Oct. 29, 2012, 2:37 pm
Brownstone from Park Slope says:
If I found that drivers would reliably move over or slow down when I have to leave the bike lane into the motor lane, this would not be a big conflict. But when too many motorists refuse to share - the race past cyclists with inches to spare - then moving out of the bike lane to avoid a jogger is life threatening, not just knee threatening.

Pingo thinks joggers are more aware of their surroundings than pedestrians. Maybe. But wearing headphones, on a runners high, they act more like Zombies. Sorry, but try using a bike bell or asking politely if they can move over, they can't or won't hear you. Ask loudly enough to get through their haze, and runners accuse cyclists of being too aggressive. Really.
I have ridden slowly behind a jogger, at his speed, waiting for space to pass, and been yelled at for going too fast. Really.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Bikes are an intermediate speed between foot traffic and motor traffic - and only the fastest runners - marathon class averaging 12.5 MPH - are moving at average bicycling speed, which is 10 to 15 MPH, and occasionally a bit over 20 MPH. Remember that the NYC street speed limit is 30 MPH, and most drivers equal or exceed 30 MPH between red light stops - funny, but drivers usually average only about 12-15 MPH after all their Zero-Fifty-Zero zooms to the next red light.

Are we Goldilocks, always too fast, and too slow, but never just right? Drivers complain cyclists move too slowly, joggers and pedestrians complain we move too fast. Think about how even slower runner fit into this mix - Do they fit into this mix? Can they fit into this mix?
Oct. 29, 2012, 2:59 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Why should cyclists, joggers, and walkers have to fight over the scraps of road that cars don't want? Take away the lane of parking where cars sit empty all day and give it to people who can use it.
Oct. 29, 2012, 3:07 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Once again, the bike zealots brings cars into this issue when the article itself doesn't even mention them once. According to bike zealots, whenever there is a problem, the cars are their scapegoat for everything. Just reading that quote saying from cyclists that there are laws against joggers using the bike lanes is just hypocritical as if most cyclists hardly ever follow the laws themselves. Why is that cyclists can't just slow down when approaching joggers let alone intersections or even stop for the lights or signs that tell them to? Another irony is that cyclists say it's wrong for joggers in their bike lanes, but feel that they deserve ride on a boardwalk, which is very dangerous for them. As for that comment by Mike from Williamsburg, I don't find that very practical. The parking lanes are used a lot more than any bike lanes are. Also, where are they going to park when more spaces are taken away forcing them to park even further from either their homes or where they want to be unless where they are going includes parking? Let's not forget that these days almost no new garages or lots are allowed to be built, and you guys went all out against parking premiums for new residential development. Perhaps, we can open up bus stops of no longer used lines to parking, which will make them good for something.
Oct. 29, 2012, 4:10 pm
Crusty from Ditmas Park says:
I have no problem sharing the bike path with joggers. None. However, sharing works both ways. If you jog on a bike path please run along the edge of the path. At the very least take the buds out of your ears so you can move over when a bike wants to pass.
Oct. 29, 2012, 4:54 pm
Other Michael from Park Slope says:

Cyclists do slow down when they approach a running int he bike lane. I know that because when I am riding I slow and go around runners and when I am running cyclists slow and go around me. This has been a real non issue.

as for "open[ing] up bus stops of no longer used lines to parking" That is a great idea. The MTA did that when the 67 and 69 we discontinued and / or moved. You would know that if you were actually part of the community that you claim to be such an expert on.
Oct. 29, 2012, 5 pm
Geoff from Squirrel Hill says:
I drive, bike, and run. Driving, biking and running are a privilege in urban areas. Teaching all of the stakeholders to"share the road" would go a long way to promoting civility and safety!
Oct. 29, 2012, 7:39 pm
Gary from Park Slope says:
Joggers should simply act with respect in using a designated bicycle space. Keep to the edge, run single file, and be aware of your surroundings. Don't force bicyclist into a dangerous situation to get around you.
Oct. 29, 2012, 9:36 pm
Janet from Brooklyn says:
I don't mind runners in the bike lane as long as they run WITH not against the bike traffic, stay right and keep the earbuds out. They're not any slower than a kid on a bike.
Oct. 30, 2012, 11:55 am
Ben from Brooklyn says:
can we get carriage lanes?
Oct. 30, 2012, 1:06 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I suspect that all the bikers and joggers will be pleased at this editorial, but us taxpaying motorists are at the breaking point. Before the usaul hamasing remarks against me come out from the streetsblogger zealouts hiding under aliases in cahoots with the sordid impersonateurs, remember that I have already made my statement on this a while ago. It's not that I have anything against others that want to disagree with me, it was those who have actually attacked for taking a different side from them. It was more like they were like fanatics and extermists rather than just some simple bandwagoner and yesmen in that they were looking for those who weren't on their side and acted as if they were pointing a gun at me to either agree with me or die. Some of them didn't like it when I used facts to disproove them on their statements. Most of them had responded with either some blanket statement that was already mentioned by either the politicians or developers, while others just got very defensive or tried to dodge the question. They felt as if my questions on their attitude was a humilation and hurting their acts of fanaticisim on projects, bikelanes or otherwise, so they demanded a ban all b/c they couldn't answer it as quickly as I could. Some of them were against bringing up some projects or other issues up for a debate, b/c they were afraid that they would have nothing to rebuttle with other than what they started with. As for the statement on me bieng stupid, I take great issue with personal attacks, which I consider to be a hit way below the belt, and even below the likes of you, Ty. I am tired of the lazy arrogant bikers getting away with so many tax breaks making those drivers some struggling with a lower income pay more. I haven't got enough money to live on my own, so I live in my parents house consequently. Therefore, your reference of using that on me is wrong on all levels. Other Michael, you can't even see that your comments are completely from the prism of somebody who bikes all the live long day. everything looks different from the perspective of a selfish biker who flagarently ignores the rules of the road, and apparently this website as I believe that personal attacks are not permitted yet I still seem to be the primary victim of all this incessant hamasing.

As I mentioned in an earlier thread, attack the issue not the person taking a legitamate perspective. Going back to my points about philosophy, peple that don't seem to like those such as myself who can disproove their statements with actual facts where they are just throwing talking points that I can easily refute. These are people who believe that it's the weapon that makes them stronger when in fact that isn't always true. Eventually, they will come to a point where even their own weapons can't save them. The truth is that it's not the weapons that makes the person stronger, it's the one who uses them. An example of someone who had to learn it the hard way was King Ferdinand II, who was the king of Spain, when having the Spanish Armada against England's Queen Elizabeth II in 188. Before then, Spain was said to have the most powerfull navy at the time especially when they have sailed to numerous corners of the globe in conquering lands. Many of thought that trying to fight the armada was asking for a tombstone b/c of how powerfull they were. However, the fleet was not prepared for the English Channel, and their ships were too big for a body of water with such a low depth for them. Although the English fleet had smaller ships, it was easier to get by and with the cannon, they didn't even have to board the enemy fleet but just fire from their own. Some of those who helped fight for England in that battle included explorers such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Franciss Drake managing the fleets. As Elizabeth walked out on the cliffs of Dover, she saw the armada on fire in the humiliating defeat on Spain. It showed that even the greatest had their demise. How it relates to my point is that some just can't seem to take it when someone can find a way to poke holes in their statements by finding facts and other stats that disproove theirs' when they don't even come up with anything to back them except for repititions. Also, the reference of the Spanish Armada is to show that even the greatest can just be human at sometimes in that nobody is invincible and there will always be a clink somewhere in that armor. On a side note, joggers are to bikers as bikers are to motorists, but at least joggers don't kill people when they bash into you like bikers do. Don't blame me b/c I am stating the facts with cold cartesian logic, as befitting a nerdy leftist.
Oct. 31, 2012, 9:11 am
Ashley from South Williamsburg says:
The runners have never been an issue for me in the bike lanes. They are aware of their surroundings. We make eye contact and work with each other.

Pedestrians on the other hand are more of a danger. They step into the bike lane without warning and tend to be wearing headphones, so it's tough to notify them that you are there unless you scream...then they act like a dear in the headlights and pause right in the middle of where they shouldn't be.

Cabbies and oblivious pedestrians cause the most danger.
Oct. 31, 2012, 2:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First off all, cut the impersonations, ty, and I wasn't even online this morning after being so busy take back out the outside furniture after the hurricane passed by, though we didn't really lose any power that day. Ashley, I can say the same thing about bicycles. They have been known to run red lights and stop signs constantly, which shows how they can approach without warning as well. I can even remember hearing from those who got hit by a bicycle when having the walk signal. Let's not forget that cyclists seem to have headphones a lot like that one who was fined $1,555 for not only running a number of red lights, but also didn't even listen to being pulled over. Before you cry foul, he was breaking the law and got what he deserved. Overall, until cyclists start following the laws themselves, they have no moral legitimacy to tell others to follow the rules.
Oct. 31, 2012, 3:09 pm
Ashley from South Williamsburg says:

You are naming one scenario of a cyclist riding recklessly. You think there aren't drivers who do the same? I ride responsibly, and I have been hit by a pedestrian and once by a car while IN a bike lane.

Playing the blame game won't solve anything. This is a city with a lot of people and we all need to learn to respect each other and work together.

Cyclists are here to stay. All progressive cities who care about the environment and live in an urban area are moving this way. More and more people are adopting alternative forms of transportation (thankfully). If you are fighting for cars and parking in a city like BK and NYC, you are on the wrong side of the fight. It's better to have a constructive conversation with each of these communities than to point the finger.
Oct. 31, 2012, 3:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ashley, you have it all wrong. I have never called for cyclists to be removed unlike your kind that has been calling for cars to removed numerous times. All I just want them to do is just follow the traffic laws just like every other vehicle does. Another thing is that if they are to use the road as vehicles, then they should have their bicycles licensed, registered, and insured just like all the rest do. Is that really too much to ask for? The reason why so many cyclists oppose that is because doing those things will make them part of the system that they are trying to fight as well as now being able to be tracked if they hit somebody when they used to get away with this. Overall, I am just tired of cyclists who believe that they are holier than thou and immune to all rules when everyone else has to be subject to them. I don't have anything against those who want to use bicycles, just those that don't follow the rules. For the record, I'm NOT forcing anyone to drive a car just because of my concerns on this. If you really want to see someone pointing fingers than look no further than Streetsblog, who act as chief enablers for such bike zealots. Still, I find it so hypocritical for them to tell others to follow the traffic laws when they aren't doing that themselves. When is your group going to start practicing what you preach or was it really meant for others but not themselves? Every time I hear that famous quote, "Do as I say, not as I do", I think about those bike zealots who are like that all the time.
Oct. 31, 2012, 5:24 pm
jx from former fort greene says:
Joggers in the bike lane? Oh please. Please. I RUN in the bike lane and I bike in the lanes. Never once had a problem with runners or bikes.

My problem is the incessant cars that block every bit of space that is not a sequestered sidewalk. Car think every bit of space not attached to a building should be available to their motorized vehicles.

The tax paying argument is their only defense. I pay taxes just like they do. Oh, how come the fattest big belly people are generally the rudest and most inconsiderate drivers.

All cyclist know that many drivers lose their sense of humanity when they get behind the wheel and are in motion...

You can be a cyclist in the pedestrian lane crossing a bike and many motorist will still act in an aggressive manner to your being. After 30 years of biking in the city I have come to accept these facts. And ps. The bike lanes are a sham.

Only the new tourist class of NYC citizens actually believe this is a leap forward. My friends from Germany and Netherlands can't believe these painted lines are supposed to represent some kind of bike safety zone.

The sight of shock on their faces was quite pleasant to see as they understand the absurdity of our so called bike lanes.
Nov. 3, 2012, 4:08 pm
eric from nyc says:
Joggers in the bike lane ARE a problem as was proven when one did a quick u-turn when I was passing and broke my nose. It's twisted a bit to the left now.
Nov. 17, 2012, 4:25 pm
IBikeNYC from NYC says:
Tell ya what:

WE will cycle on sidewalks so Y'ALL can run in bike lanes.
April 16, 2013, 2:17 pm
Matt from Cobble Hill says:
I would like to keep my comment to the issue at hand not bikes vs cars. Should runners run in bike lanes? Short answer NO.

Reason 1: Transportation
Cars and Bicycles are (technically) modes transportation and thus are allowed in the road. The whole idea behind modern transportation is to make an investment for society with the purpose of traveling around faster than our bodies can go alone (running)! There is a written set of rules for cars and bikes to follow, there is no written set of rules for runners to follow. Cars and bicycles must signal, be illuminated at night and have devices to alert others on the road.

Reason 2: Use
Running and Jogging are recreational fitness activities. To me, allowing this on a road is an illegitimate use of a roadway.

Reason 3: Necessity
The road is flat and smooth because round wheels (such as those on cars and bicycles) roll on this type of surface. Runners and pedestrians have two articulating legs attached to feet which can traverse much more easily uneven surfaces. The mere "conveniences" of "ease on the knees" and "fewer slow moving peds" does not seem to me to outweigh the safety concerns.

Reason 4: Safety
Motorists and cyclists alike have a lot to watch out for on the road already. There are cars, cyclists, and pedestrians (crossing legally and illegally). Adding runners and joggers to the mix makes a more crowded and dangerous roadway for everyone. Furthermore the severity of a runner or jogger colliding with a pedestrian is much lower than runner v. car, or runner v. bike.

Reason 5: Conflict
There is still (very obviously from reading select comments above) conflict between those who already "share" the road. Adding another group (which would undoubtedly have their own zealots, law-breakers, law-abiders, etc) without setting up a set of rules for the runners and briefing the drivers and cyclists on the new standards would be a bad idea.

Commentary on Tal's comments:
We get it, you have a very well defined bias against cyclists. It appears that every time you see a cyclist do something wrong you hold it against the whole cycling community. It seems that you think cyclists are incapable of doing anything but running lights and stop signs, fighting the system, being zealots, feeling we are holier than thou, being hypocrites, tax evasion, thinking everything should be for us, refusing to share, deserving to ride on your boardwalk and not using the bike lane enough. If I saw you in a car at a red light I would invite you for tea because you clearly have some tension built up.
April 23, 2013, 7:53 pm
Matt from Cobble Hill says:
A rant to point out things that cars do which are an annoyance and danger to cyclists (and other motorists) trying to follow the rules

1. Many motorists do not obey the speed limit, they look at is as more of a guide. The police seem to enforce it that way too.

2. Cars frequently double park in the bike lane. I can imagine that motorists would be none to happy if a cyclist just stopped in the car lane.

3. Standing cars only pull halfway into spaces because "they are just going to be there for a little bit" even though there is room to park properly and get their car out of the road. I guess it's too much trouble, or they are bad at parking.

4. In two of three (bike v. car) collisions I was in the driver left the scene of the accident. This is illegal and immoral.

SO WHAT?: All of these moves put other users on the road at risk, they block traffic and elevate the stress level of other cars and cyclists alike making the roadways a more dangerous place for everybody. I agree with Tal, cyclists should obey the rules of the road, there is no argument to the contrary.

What we can probably agree on is that cycling on a road with cars is inherently MORE RISKY for the cyclist than the motorist. If a motorist is sitting at a red light and gets rear ended at 30mph they have a messed up car and they are fine. If a cyclist gets rear ended at a red light at 30mph they are dead. Cyclists don't have a huge bubble of steel around them to mitigate the risk to their bodies and I understand why they take more liberties on the road to do what they think is best and safest for them.
April 23, 2013, 8:10 pm
Marty Liquori III from Park Slope says:
Candy ass immigrant cyclists-- not foreigners, but nerds from other states and fancy predominantly white colleges-- needs to STFU and...


A runner is as dangerous to an attentive cyclist as a cyclist is as dangerous to a g.d. car.

And if you believe otherwise, you don't deserve to be on a bicycle, period.
Sept. 24, 2013, 12:24 am
Bike mama from LES says:
At Dan from Boerum Hill...should cars slow down if you decide to jog down Flatbush Ave?
July 13, 2014, 4:37 pm
Betan Testravosky from Schaulch says:
Walkers/Joggers/Runners - you're stuck to the sidewalk if it is relatively free. If crowded, you can use the Bike Lane BUT you are now subject to Traffic Laws meaning that Cyclists (considered vehicles) have the right of way and you (the pedestrian) must yield (get out of the way). Pedestrians do not have the right of way in bike lanes. Only if they are in a marked cross walk across a Bike Lane. And if you are walking/jogging/running in the middle of the Bike Lane ... cyclists have every right to tell you to get out of the way and police (if they feel like it) can cite you a really nasty fine. This should clear it up.
Aug. 11, 2015, 9:48 am

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