Is it rude to run on the street?

I recently started running again. I live in a subdivision which opens into a residential area, the sort with sidewalks and barking dogs and cars parked on either side of the street. Traffic varies according to time of day, but it’s usually pretty quiet.

I started out running on the sidewalks, but I injured my ankle (I already have chronic knee pain.) The concrete is not very well maintained, with the slabs sometimes differing by as much as 4’’ in elevation, and the blocks are short, so I’m having to jump curbs constantly. I recently tried running on the street most of the time (against traffic, well to the side of the road), and it seemed to be better on my knees and ankles. Neither way is exactly ideal, as I often have to run around the cars parked in the street and there are fallen branches and puddles in the road… but it’s marginally better.

I didn’t think anything of it until Sr. Olives remarked that he’s been running on the street and people have been honking at him.** He is a much more experienced runner and also less sensitive to offending others, so it doesn’t bother him. But now I’m worried that by running on the street, I’m somehow breaking some rule of etiquette.

I know ideally I’d be going to a park trail or something, but I don’t have enough time after work to drive to the nearest park before the sun sets. I have this tiny window of daylight and I either do it here or I don’t do it at all.

Anyway, bottom line: Is it rude to run on the street?

**Potentially pertinent information: I live in New Jersey, where inexplicable honking appears to be an unconscious and automatic behavior resulting from years of social conditioning.

Dunno about rude, but it sounds dangerous to me.

IMHO: When there’s a sidewalk - it seems rude to me.

No sidewalk - then the street is open for everyone.

Yeah, don’t worry about rude; can you do it safely? If so, then go for it.

However, the area where you live can make a HUGE difference in honking, swerving, throwing items, swearing…I’ve lived in areas where it just wasn’t worth it.

(runner here)

I think that “rude” is an odd term for it, and I agree that “dangerous” is more apt.

I would imagine that the honkers are annoyed if they get stuck behind you and can’t get past you without having to slow down. I wouldn’t think it’d be any different than them getting stuck behind a bicyclist.

And, I totally understand what you’re saying about running on the sidewalk. I usually do run on the sidewalk (well, when it’s warmer out; I’ve been on the treadmill at the Y since Thanksgiving). I tripped on an uneven sidewalk last fall and scraped myself up pretty well. A friend of mine did the same thing on an uneven sidewalk slab a couple of weeks ago, and it sidelined her for a week. She’s vowed to now only run on the road.

Is it the folks in golf carts that are honking?

I don’t know about rude either, but I never see that where I am. I would consider it very dangerous, which is probably why I see joggers jogging on sidewalks every bit as bad as you describe.

I always ran in the streets. I did, whenever possible, try to choose streets with bike lanes or that were extra wide to leave room for all but that was not always possible.

Wear bright colors so you stand out more and be aware if the setting sun is blinding drivers.

Carry a small flashlight and wear a reflective vest if you’re out anywhere near dark.

AlertShirts has inexpensive Hi-Vis shirts with built in reflective strips.

The speed limit where I’m running is about 25mph and full of four-way stops. I don’t wear headphones, and I can clearly see cars approaching my side of the road. I worry a lot about safety and I feel pretty safe under these conditions.

Otternell: Here’s a photo that closely approximates the condition of the sidewalks. Would that change your opinion?

eta: runnerpat, thank you for the resource.

Cripes. The sidewalks in my neighborhood are an Olympic-quality running track by comparison. :frowning:

I can understand that the sidewalks are not suitable for running.

I think to most drivers, runners on the street can be an irritation, especially when the specific situation requires the car to slow down where it wouldn’t have to if the runner(s) weren’t there. I believe this is noticeably worse with the idiots who run with traffic, and can’t see exactly what the car is dealing with – that’s when it progresses to rude (and foolish).

If you’re running on your left side of the road, facing traffic and able to hop out of the way in a tight squeeze, I don’t think it’s rude. It’s an occasional inconvenience to the drivers, but that’s life.

That is a crappy sidewalk and an injury waiting to happen.

Are the streets typically that wide? The little bit visible looks like there’s not much room for pedestrians.

I doubt it’s true, but is it possible the drivers are honking to simply let you know they’re there?

I think it’s rude, stupid, and dangerous, but that doesn’t stop the people in my neighborhood from doing it. In fact, some of them walk their dogs and strollers through the road as well. They can’t even use the sidewalks as an excuse (they’re well-maintained and generally level) and they’re still all over the road. In my neighborhood, which is full of cars parked on the streets and large, mature trees obstructing one’s vision, I wouldn’t run on our streets unless I had a death wish, even though the speed limit is low and generally observed.

In the three subdivisions I’ve lived in, it was NOT considered rude. These were full of families, though, so there was a lot of bicycle riding, basketball playing, skating, skateboarding, etc. going on along with jogging and walking. Everybody used the street. It helps that here you can basically jog year-round. People are used to it.

I think you’ll be fine as long as you stay alert and follow runnerpat’s advice. He’s got, like, a brazillion miles of running experience.

Before I got a treadmill, I would run on the streets of our neighborhood instead of the sidewalks. The sidewalks are concrete, which is much harder on your feet than asphalt even without the cracks and unevenness.

My only concern would be whether it’s dangerous. If you’re running in broad daylight, against traffic, in a quiet neighborhood, I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Yeah, there’s a section of sidewalk near me that’s like that. I’ve noticed that I’ve never seen anyone in a wheelchair anywhere near it.

No, but please wear bright clothing, even if you think you look fine. It amazes me how many people walk in their black coats.

I won’t even talk about the black man with black hair and black pants and a black coat walking in our subdivision at 9 pm on a cloudy night. I swear I almost didn’t see him. Asshole.

That might be the case, I’m not sure - I haven’t been honked at yet, but my husband remarked that ‘‘every 5 cars or so’’ honk at him when he’s running. For all I know he’s running on the wrong side of the road or something.

So the answer to my question seems to vary dramatically depending on where you live. It looks like I have two options - risk people thinking I’m rude, and run indoors, on a treadmill, which kind of defeats the purpose of getting outside more often, but I’m not sure I can really sustain any kind of training program on those sidewalks. Or maybe I’m just thinking too narrowly - I’ll see if maybe there is a very close area that has more suitable areas for running.

I drive in the city often, and I think bikers are a massive pain in the ass when they slow me down, but I don’t honk at them because I know it’s not their fault that bikes are slower than cars. They’re doing the legal thing and the road is just as much theirs as it is mine. So why honk? What do they expect the cyclist to do about it? It doesn’t make sense.

Olive, I live and run in NJ as well. Please, do yourself a favor, and stop running on the sidewalks. It’s hell on your joints. Asphalt has give but concrete does not, and that tiny flex in the asphalt multiplied by thousands or tens of thousands of steps really matters. I’ve always run on the road, against traffic, staying as close to the edge as I can. If anyone honks, I just wave in response.

Like others have suggested, dress appropriately with reflective or at least bright colors and respect the fact that that 2-ton vehicle barreling past at 30 mph has the right of way, and you shouldn’t have any problem. Unless you’re running along rt. 73, which I would recommend against.