Doing our part to get along with the non-runners

NOTE: Some runners may consider this a rant. It’s just my personal take.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately on getting along with different groups. From the weird but fun things about Barton Springs to the recent City policies that have ended some races to the downtown street closure task force that could change the face of races and festivals downtown for the worse … there just seems to be a lot going on to keep our minds occupied.

In the end we need to find a balance but I wanted to ask runners to do their part. We run around town lake, on the greenbelt and on roads through countless neighborhoods. I can understand why some people are annoyed at runners in general and some of it has to do with how we act and how we impact others by our running.

Here’s a specific example, on a long run one day there were around 6 to 8 people running in the lane where there was already a bike lane. A cab is coming down that lane and the runners wait till pretty late to move into the bike lane but don’t really move completely out of the lane so the cabby has to swerve around them a little. Nobody gets hurt. But then behind that group is another runner and I guess the cabby was pissed so he then proceeded to swerve towards this runner scaring the crap out of him.

If I put myself in the shoes of people driving around and if their only experience is runners getting in their way and forcing them into the wrong lane I would probably be annoyed. Why do I have to go into the other lane around a bend which is blind. Yes there may be no car in the other lane but that person doesn’t know that so all we do is stress them out unnecessarily. As if cutting that .1 foot on that bend matters. It’s not that much effort to move over and run two abreast on the side of the road as soon as we see a car. So why should somebody that experiences something like this support anything to do with running? Should they really care if races don’t happen downtown anymore? Will they complain instead?

I’m not saying don’t run on roads, or move towards the middle if the camber is bad. But I am saying we need to be considerate of others that don’t share the same passion for running we do. As more and more of us take up running we can’t keep alienating all the other Austinites and expect our running to continue as is.

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