Is it Safe to Jog in DC’s Bike Lanes?

By Peter DePaolis

Cyclists in Washington D.C. already have to weave their way around vehicles whose drivers think bike lanes are convenient places to park. Now, they are having to contend with joggers on these designated bike lanes who don’t want to run around pedestrians on sidewalks. Is this fair?

This question was posed on Reddit’s D.C. subreddit channel, eliciting a wide range of responses. Most seemed to think joggers should not be able to use the bike lanes.

Legally, the answer in D.C. is ‘No.’. The District Department of Transportation says the paths are reserved for two-wheeled vehicles, and, when a sidewalk is available, it is illegal for anyone to walk or run on the bike lane. People who do so could be subject to a $10 fine, according to DDOT.

If a $10 fine doesn’t deter a jogger from running in a bike lane, then it’s really a question of safety and etiquette.

There’s no doubt that jogging in a bike lane frustrates cyclists as joggers don’t move as fast as cyclists and, if someone’s moving slower, it slows everyone down.

For and Against Jogging in Bike Lanes

There are compelling arguments on both sides. D.C. sidewalks are often cracked and uneven and when they are also filled with pedestrians, the desire to run along the typically smoother and open bike paths is understandable.

However, some argue it’s too dangerous for joggers in bike lanes: Many of them are wearing headphones alongside cyclists, who aren’t usually expecting a jogger in their path.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. – Washington, D.C. Pedestrian Accident Attorneys

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.