Can you run in the road?

You’re running down the sidewalk. Ahead of you are two people, walking the same direction you’re going. They’re walking side-by-side, taking up the entire sidewalk, and they seem oblivious to the fact that you’re coming up behind them. To make things worse, they’re loosely holding a dog on a leash, and you don’t know how friendly that dog may be.

What should you do? Can you step over the curb and run in the street to get around them?

Generally, it is legal to do this. Drivers may not like having runners in the road, but you also have a right to that road. You’re supposed to run against traffic, the same way you would walk on a road where there wasn’t a sidewalk at all. 

Is it safe? It can be. Many people run on the road all of the time, either to avoid other pedestrians or to get a smoother surface than the sidewalk can provide. But there is an added risk when running near cars, even if you’re in a bike lane. It makes your margin of safety smaller because a smaller error — a driver drifting toward the shoulder while texting and driving — could mean that you get hit. 

If you do get struck by a car while running, odds are that it’s going to lead to serious injuries, even if the vehicle isn’t moving that fast. You could find yourself in the hospital for weeks and facing a long time healing at home after they release you. This is all very costly and difficult, so you have to be aware of the legal options you have to seek financial compensation for your injuries.