Thursday, August 20, 2009
Motorist vs. Runners - Road Sharing
Running in the Philippines has reached its popularity never experienced in the past. We now have road races practically on every weekend and even at times two or three different races on weekends with two races conducted on the same day on different venue. With the popularity and the number of road races comes the heightening problem on road sharing. A concerning issue on road sharing is becoming a reality between motorist versus runners which if left unresolved might just reach a boiling point level resulting to a road rage.
As runners have been clamouring for varied and challenging race routes within the metropolis, race organizers have conducted road races at Fort Bonifacio, Bayan, Lawton Avenue, Bayani Road, Kalayaan flyover, Buendia Avenue, Ayala Avenue, Paseo De Roxas, Makati Avenue, Skyway, MOA grounds, Roxas Boulevard, Luneta, UP Diliman, Commonwealth Avenue, Marikina only to name but a few. Bear in mind that most of the roads mentioned are busy streets. Further, of lately, road races have been innovative to attract more interest to runners. Races have been conducted to cover early morning to late mornings, late afternoons and night time races as well.Runners have taken over the streets to the joy of the runners and to the disgust and anger of the public motorist.
I have witnessed on past races that I have participated in wherein motorists, particularly jeepney drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers and to some extent private car owners showing their clear disgust and anger by continuously blowing their horns, intentional stepping on their gas pedal to emit fumes and worst even shouting offensive foul language to runners to stay home. There have even some incidents of near hits or miss hits recorded that motorist insist on crossing intersections even with runners crossing and marshals preventing them. All these offensive reactions from the mororists have to certain extent earned disgust and anger from the runners and race organizers.
As a coin has always two sides, a motorists who is practically a non-runners do not appreciate health, physical fitness and love for the sport. To these motorists, they feel that the roads are as they are now clogged and narrow that they have to compete with so many vehicles on the road. Worst now that they have to compete with runners. They feel that roads are meant for vehicles only or any transport equipment with wheels. Their only concern is to travel from point A to point B at the shortest possible time with no traffic and delay to prolong their travel time.
On the other side of the coin, runners argue that they do take the road for health, fitness and clean living. That such road races are not a daily occurance and are only on weekends and are not more than 3 hours in duratuion, unless the event is a full marathon that it covers up to 6 hours. Runners feel they have the right to street usage particulary as these races do get the necessary permit from local city or complex authorities. All the runners ask for is a little understanding and an attitude of road sharing on these race days.
In this country, road rage resultant to people losing their tempers causing injury and even death is not that unusual. Before the problem becomes bigger that such a road rage becomes a reality between a runner and a motorist , a “winwin” solution needs to be arrived at to satisfy both the motorists and runners.
I pray that somebody out there has a workable solution.