During the Circuit Breaker (CB), there was a large increase in the number of people visiting the park connectors (PCNs) to walk/jog/run/cycle. This resulted in regular runners like myself having to find an alternative running route as the PCNs were unusually packed.
The lack of adequate knowledge on running etiquette became evident during this time to many runners. My fellow runners and I have been running for a long time and running etiquette has since been ingrained in us but that is not necessarily the case with new runners.
My name is Eugene and I am a regular runner with the Running Department.
Over the years, I have learnt a few things about what would make running a more pleasant experience for everyone, especially in public and crowded areas. Although this reflection may be a little too late as the CB is poised to end on the 2nd of June, as a runner, I feel that everyone should have at least some basic running etiquette regardless of the situation.
Here are some basic running etiquette rules which I hope will help you make wiser choices whilst running.
Always keep to the left hand side of the path
This is one of the most basic running etiquette. While running/walking/cycling, always keep to the left hand side of the path. Not to the right hand side, not in the center but to the left. It is similar to driving on the road where you always keep to the left while cruising. Always be aware of the opposing lane of traffic and keep out of their lane.
The only time you should be running on your right is if you are over-taking a person in front of you. When over-taking, you should pass him/her on his right (be careful not to veer in the opposing lane of traffic) subsequently return back to the left hand side of the path.
Always pay attention to your surroundings
While running, try to keep your vision to the front and not on the floor to prevent any unnecessary collisions. It also motivates you to go further (rather than just looking at the ground and hoping it ends). Once in a while, glance to your left, right and rear to see if there are runners around you so you can take note of them. Most importantly, when overtaking a runner, always check your blind spots before moving to the right to over-take (again very similar to driving a vehicle). There have been several instances where I have seen people overtaking without looking and then crashing into someone behind.
Runners who run with earphones should pay attention to their surroundings too. Running with music allows you to feel more motivated but do ensure that the volume levels don’t completely drown out background noises like bicycle bells or PMD horns.
Try to keep to a maximum of two abreast while running
Right now, running in pairs or groups is not allowed due to social distancing measures. However, should these measures become relaxed in the future, try to keep to a maximum of two abreast. This ensures sufficient room for people who wish to over-take without having to enter the pathway of oncoming traffic. While running two abreast, the pair should be roughly an arm’s length apart from each other and not further than that to avoid hogging the entire left lane with no room for anyone to overtake safely.
It can be rather annoying for runners to encounter a group of people strolling in a horizontal line, occupying the entire running path. This is made worse when they are completely oblivious to their surroundings and not realizing how runners/cyclists on both sides having to dodge/run around them. This scene has became more common during the CB where families go for walks or strolls, creating choke points along the PCN.
Keep a safe distance behind runners and move to the side if you are slowing down/ stopping
Always keep a safe distance from the runner in front of you (don’t tailgate). This will prevent unwanted collisions with the runner in front of you. As mentioned above, not all runners are aware of their surroundings and they do not usually look to their rear before stopping or slowing down. If you need to catch your breath or are experiencing a stitch and want to stop running, always step off the path if possible (on to the grass or dirt patch beside) so as to keep the traffic along the PCN smooth and not obstruct runners behind.
This should not be more obvious that one should not be spitting anywhere in Singapore, as it is against the law. Also, please do maintain good personal hygiene, especially so during this pandemic.
Wear appropriate attire for exercise
Especially if you are running in the wee hours of the day or late at night, please wear bright clothing (not black, dark coloured) to enable other users of the PCN to be aware of you. (You don’t want a cyclist to come crashing into you because he can’t see you while you are walking).
It is good to see more Singaporeans pick up running or exercising, but as with any sport, there are basic etiquette rules to take note of so that anyone using the PCNs or footpaths can enjoy them together.
Please continue to practice social distancing and wear your mask if you are not running!
Stay safe and healthy everyone!