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Is it inconsiderate to run on the road?

Unlike cyclists, runners are allowed on the sidewalk, but here's why lots still opt for the road

The road is for cars, and the sidewalk is for those traveling on the heel-toe express–right? Well, not always. There are some motorists who believe that runners have no place on the road and that using anything other than the sidewalk is inconsiderate, but here’s a breakdown of why runners shouldn’t be confined to two feet of elevated concrete.

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Asphalt is softer than concrete

The roads are typically a softer surface than the sidewalk, and runners who run a lot can become a little injury-prone as their miles accumulate. It sounds like a minor difference, but one that really adds up over time.

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You avoid the hustle and bustle of the sidewalk


There’s a lot that happens on the sidewalk, and sometimes cars are more predictable than pedestrians. Cars have marked lines that they’re supposed to stay within and signals to use if they want to change location, but pedestrians are all over the place. If you’re trying to stay smooth on your run and you’re navigating a busy area, it’s often easier to occupy the outside of the road over the middle of a sidewalk.

The roads are often better plowed

This isn’t a concern in the warmer months, but through the winter the roads are taken care of before the paths and sidewalks. So if someone is headed out for an early-morning run after a big snowfall, chances are you’ll find them on the road.

There are lots of places that don’t have a sidewalk

Especially in rural areas, there are lots of roads ideal for running that don’t have a great sidewalk or shoulder. Runners who are using these roads are typically pretty aware of their surroundings and understand the risk they’re taking by sharing a space with cars. Runners will try and take up as little space as possible, and drivers, try and give them the space they need.