On Friday, Angelica Colantuoni and I were riding our bikes along the Lakefront (Chicago, for those of you who have never been). Just as we rounded the corner at North Avenue Beach, we saw a jogger go flying across the path, as a cyclist ran right into her.

The jogger crossed the path, from east to west, without looking to see if anyone was coming from the north or the south (which is the direction the path runs so you’d think she’d look both ways before crossing). And she got hit. And she flew through the air. And Angelica and I both had to ride into the grass to keep from running over her. Fortunately, she was not hurt and she realized her mistake, and the cyclist was not hurt, but it could have turned out disastrous.

As we continued our ride, I thought about how to educate cyclists, runners, and walkers about the rules of the road and, while this blog isn’t typically about exercise or rules, I figure it’s a good place to begin the conversation.

As cyclists, we always joke about the runners who check their watches, see they’ve run 30 minutes (or whatever their turnaround point is) and they turn around (which means crossing the path to the other lane) without looking to see if anyone is coming. I’ve become pretty accustomed to leaving a really wide berth when passing runners, just in case that happens. And it happens…a lot. It happens at least once a ride and that’s too often. In fact, it happened to me this morning. A jogger was running north on the east side of the path. She saw a water fountain on the west side and crossed…right as I was going to pass her. She never even looked.

No matter what your form of exercise, be aware of your surroundings, follow the same rules you would if you were driving (signal, check over your shoulders for someone in your blind spot, don’t turn left from the right lane, stop at lights and signs, etc.), and be considerate.

This is not a place for road rage or one form of exercising being right while the others are wrong. Also be aware that if you are walking or running and you don’t look for cyclists, some of us ride more than 20 mph. It will hurt BADLY if you get hit and it could kill the cyclist.  Communicate your intent (on your left or, in velodrome speak, STICK!). Be considerate, careful, and safe.

What tips do you have for those of us exercising outside?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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