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Night-Time Joggers on Wrong Side of Bernal Road

Original post made by Fault Disney on Dec 22, 2010

Has anyone seen this crazy bunch of joggers jogging on Bernal Ave...AT NIGHT...ON THE STREET...IN THE DIRECTION OF HEAD-ON TRAFFIC...AND IN THE RAIN EVEN? No, really!

Yes, they do all seem to be wearing reflectors, but still...IT'S NIGHT TIME! Get on the other side of the road and OFF THE STREET! Pleasanton has really nice sidewalks that you can run on...I do all the time!

I've come within two feet of hitting one of them recently as I rounded the corner at the top of Bernal. I can't help but utter expletives towards these seemingly dumb bunch of risky night joggers. It's just a matter of time before someone veers into their path and takes one out...a matter of time. Good luck!

Comments (43)

Posted by Experienced, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2010 at 10:26 am

Addressing only one point in your post, running *against* traffic is actually the recommended thing to do, and always has been:
Web Link

for the very reason that the jogger can see YOU coming at them. As for the other points, yes, they should not be running two or three abreast in traffic and should utilize the sidewalks whenever possible (although sidewalks are not always level and can cause tripping injuries). Running at dusk or night-time is also tricky for both the jogger and the driver, but with the end of daylight savings time, winter here and people having day jobs, finding time for a club to jog in daylight hours during the workweek is almost impossible.

Hopefully, the joggers will be more careful AND the drivers will slow down on Bernal -- many are going way too fast as a rule.

Posted by Runner, a resident of Charter Oaks
on Dec 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

If you think running against the flow of traffic is a problem, you are obviously not a runner.

Posted by LSD, a resident of Country Fair
on Dec 23, 2010 at 8:33 am

Agree with Experienced. We runners would love to run in the light but daylight savings time and day jobs don't help. All parties just need to be careful and considerate.

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 23, 2010 at 8:55 am

Aside from the obvious lack of common sense being exhibited by the folks in question, I have to chuckle at the 'recommended thing to do': running against traffic so the jogger can see you. Then what? You dive onto the shoulder of the road as the driver aproaches you at 45 miles an hour because you're running 3 abreast in traffic?
I'm all for fitness, but what's the point of leaving a good looking corpse?

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:31 am

Is watching where you're going and avoiding kids, bikes, animals, debris, or joggers a problem for drivers?? Even boy scouts are taught to walk [hike] on the opposite side of a roadway facing traffic!

Do you want to be hit from behind by someone you never saw coming, or be able to see a crazy driver.. like some of the above.. and jump out of the way??

I'll vote for facing the threat...


Posted by Maria, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

It is a commonly taught thing in traffic safety that when walking, riding or running on the side of a road, that going against the traffic is the safest option.

Also you stated that they were wearing reflectors??? sounds pretty responsible to me.

Posted by Meredith, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2010 at 10:03 am

Runners running in the street has become an epidemic in Pleasanton. It's amazing that these folks have so little regard for their own safety. If a driver hit them, I'm sure they would sue the driver even though they are clearly in the wrong. Pleasanton generally has good sidewalks so pedestrians, whether walking or running, need to get back on the sidewalks. The police really need to start cracking down on this.

Posted by Fault Disney, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Dec 23, 2010 at 10:13 am

I am a runner...I just happen to disagree with running against traffic (ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT & IN THE RAIN).

Just imagine the physics and trauma that would take place from a squared head-on hit versus a hit from behind. The forward inertia from the jogger will only add to the severity of the impact.

I'm quite nimble and have great eye-sight, therefore I don't mind running on the sidewalks. I've sought out two really nice routes along Pleasanton sidewalks that are virtually flawless in terms of hazards and unevenness. I suggest these risky nighttime road-runners seek out safe sidewalks to run on.

The path around the Pleasanton Sports Park is a runner's dream! No auto-traffic, well-lit at night, level, and quite beautiful.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 23, 2010 at 10:29 am

Runners run facing traffic so we can see cars and bikes coming rather than being surprised from behind. In this day and age where some motorists think it is sport to try to buzz runners and cyclists (get as close as possible), having motorists throw bottles, cans, cigarettes, or other debris out the window at us, or driving up behind us and laying on the horn, running against traffic is the prudent thing to do.

Runners run on the asphalt due to the slight give it offers our knees and hips compared to concrete sidewalks. Runners will run in the bike lane or as close to the edge of the road as safety allows, so we are not in the road way where you are unless you make a habit of driving in the bike lane. If that is the case, then you are breaking the law and putting not only the runners in jeopardy, but also anyone on a bike.

Please slow down, keep your eyes open, stay off your cell phone, and we can all share the road.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by soapbox, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

Joggers are seldom the problem, it's the drivers. Does anybody drive the posted 35mph on Bernal? No, more like 50mph. Or the posted 30mph on Bernal between Kottinger and Vineyard? No, more like 45mph. Maybe Ptown's finest should hang out over there, nail speeders and all the hand-held cell phone user. Nobody gives pedestrians the right of way at any of the crosswalks on Bernal either. How many drivers hug the corners and cut into the well marked bike lanes? Give me a break: stop speeding, get off the cell phone, and pay attention surroundings.

Posted by runner too, a resident of Ironwood
on Dec 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

I am an avid runner and have been running for long time. Running on asphalt definitely causes less strain on the knees and hips compared to running on the concrete. If you stick to running within the bike lanes or towards the edge of the road and if the motorists just follow the rules and be a little considerate to fellow Pleasantonians, we all can get along just fine.

About running against the traffic, I am for it since you are always aware of the traffic and are able to take necessary precautions in case if one veers closer to you. If you are more than one person jogging, try to stick to sidewalks or if it is the asphalt, form an inline.

Posted by Avid Driver, a resident of Castlewood
on Dec 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

"...Runners run on the asphalt due to the slight give it offers our knees and hips compared to concrete sidewalks..."

"....Running on asphalt definitely causes less strain on the knees and hips compared to running on the concrete...."

REALLY?? I would be more concerned with getting the long run (no pun intended) will be a bit more painful...don't you think?

There are just as many novice joggers (who all seem to run in packs) as there are experienced. ALL packs should run on the sidewalks PERIOD.

Posted by mooseturd, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Dec 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

mooseturd is a registered user.

When I encounter a pack of runners on the street, I just drive on the sidewalk. No problem.

Posted by also a runner, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I have two words for runners and cyclists -- SINGLE FILE! Stop running and riding two, three or more abreast. If you need to talk while you run then go find a track to run on. Stay in the bike lanes, out of the street and always, always, always, go single file.

Posted by belle, a resident of Avignon
on Dec 23, 2010 at 5:50 pm

If you run against traffic you can see when the cell phoning driver is headed right at you and you can move to avoid them. If you jog with traffic you will not be able to see when the cell phoning driver is about to knock you down.

Posted by David, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

The dotted line at corners indicate that drivers should move into the bike lane to make their right turn. If you don't the cyclist will think you are going straight and you will hit the cyclist when you make your right turn.

Posted by Huh, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm

"Posted by David, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, 23 minutes ago

The dotted line at corners indicate that drivers should move into the bike lane to make their right turn. If you don't the cyclist will think you are going straight and you will hit the cyclist when you make your right turn."

I have to say that reading David's post, I had a flash to a line in a Sheryl Crow song: "apropos of nothing...."

Posted by David, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Someone wanted to criticize so badly they didn't bother to read the thread...that's okay, the holidays can be hard.

Posted by lisa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Runners should not be on the road.
They should be ticketed for not only endangering themselves but for those in vehicles who have to swerve to miss them. There are plenty of off road places to run. GET OUT OF THE STREET!

Posted by Debra, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Dec 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I, being one of the runners who runs Bernal either at 5:30am or 6:00pm, always considered safety FIRST. Due to joint issues, I must run on the road and do so when a bike lane is available. We do run single file when safety requires it such as Bernal Ave. The night being discussed, we ran on the sidewalk until the bike lane became available. There are many, many motorists who exceed the speed limit as they fly up the Bernal hill. If you are worried about safety, take responsible for your own choices and slow down when driving Runners, I believe in general, are very conscious of their surroungings. Consideration is needed for ALL who use the road.

Posted by Fred G., a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2010 at 8:55 am

I have one comment for the runners here that feel they should be able to use the roads to run because its better for your knees: You should be more worried about your brain defect than your knees! OMG am I sick of lunes! Are we facing a problem of people that live in a city too long become brain dead?

Posted by Dan, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 24, 2010 at 9:13 am

These runners start at Fleet Feet, a store on Main Street. You can find them there, I forget the time, perhaps 6pm, and talk to them directly.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 24, 2010 at 9:27 am

Stacey is a registered user.

What's interesting to me in this thread is the question of running on concrete versus asphalt being better for the joints and knees. Is it true? I can't imagine much difference in that they are both hard surfaces. An asphalt roadbed can't be so much softer than a concrete sidewalk in order to reduce or prevent such injuries, can it?

Web Link

It looks like there's no real difference because a runner's attention to form may have more importance than the running surface. It isn't to say that asphalt is not softer than concrete, but to say that the amount of hardness is not the issue.

"In one study, the researcher found, unexpectedly, that the peak value of the vertical force caused by a foot striking concrete was actually lower than on asphalt or grass. The runner's foot also remained in contact with the concrete a few milliseconds longer than with the other surfaces.

This led to the conclusion that just before striking the surface, the runner subconsciously adjusts leg-stiffness based upon perception of surface hardness, to cushion the landing. "

Another site I found seemed to suggest that the issue of running on both asphalt and concrete was that it leads, in effect, to repetitive stress injuries since asphalt and concrete are generally laid down in a continuous and flat manner. The recommendation was to run cross-country, to vary the muscles used and vary the stresses upon the body.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 24, 2010 at 9:40 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Even more information about this subject than you probably ever wanted to know: Web Link

Posted by Comfortable?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 24, 2010 at 10:10 am

These fools seem to think the asphalt street is more comfortable than the concrete sidewalk?
I wonder how comfortable they think a nice hospital bed will be?
Or for even longer, a well lined coffin?
Q. If it isn't illegal to run in traffic, it should be!
There used to be a man who ran in the street in Livermore on College. When he got to the parked cars he just darted out into traffic, and I nearly killed him- and it would have gotten blood all over my car!

Hey, Editor! Lots of response to this thread - hope you do not shut it off early in it's life!

Posted by Curious, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm

I'm amazed and saddened by all the anger and veiled threats being leveled at runners on this thread. Why do you drivers have such hostile feelings towards runners? Were you wronged at some point in your life by a runner? Did a runner steal your binky when you were a wee tot? Was your rush home to watch the American Idol finals impeded by a few seconds due to you having to stay in the lane and not cut the corners over the Bernal hill?

I think all the anger stems from mere jealousy. You know, deep down, that runners (and cyclists) will survive the Zombie plague. When the fuel runs out and your SUVs sit useless in your driveways, us runners and cyclists will be able to get the heck out of Dodge when the brain eating begins. Woe be the driver who cannot outrun the Zombie hordes.

Posted by unclehomerr.., a resident of Downtown
on Dec 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Concrete vs. asphalt.... asphalt doesn't lift up suddenly and unexpectedly by tree roots. On asphalt, one can look where they're going rather than where they're stepping. Drivers - just look where you're going. Make believe it's a kid on a bike and don't get your jockey's in a jumble! Sheesh!

Oh yeah, Merry Christ mas...

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Curious, beat the rush and the Zombies and jog out of town now. Make sure to use the bike lane...Zombies like to stay between the white lines, so you can avoid them in the bike lane......

Posted by Flashing Runner, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 25, 2010 at 12:30 am

I'm loving all the notice that night time running is getting and the 'flasher' refers the one I'm wearing on my hat rather what I'm not wearing on my body. Yes, it is dangerous running up Bernal at night and running on the sidewalk is the only way to go where the road narrows and there is no bike lane. Cars do certainly appear to be exceeding the speed limit. It is also difficult to see the sidewalk without the assistance of a headlamp to light the way. While this thread refers to 'us crazy bunch of joggers' I do have to point out the benefit to my cardiovascular health obtained by running 7 or so miles after work.
Run hard, run safe! Runners unite!

Posted by Common Sense, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Anything done to the point of obsession is Not healthy, remember Jim Fixx: Web Link

If you insist on running to the point where you ignore common sense to secure you're own safety then you might be a bit compulsive. If you need to run at night buy a treadmill, join a gym, run on a track, or use the sidewalks. I would not put my life in the hands of distracted drivers.

Posted by Dr. Joss, a resident of Birdland
on Dec 25, 2010 at 10:29 pm

While being both a motorist and cyclist and a runner (in the past) I see valid points being made all the way around. However, while runners and cyclists need to be safe and stay where they belong (sidewalks, single file on bikes in bike lanes, etc.) the ultimate responsibility is for the drivers to obey the laws, be attentive and be polite. Therre is no reason to go out of one's way to "buzz" a runner. Running into the flow of traffic is recommended and safer. AS to the idea of treadmills for night running, studies have shown that running outside produces higher endorphin levels than treadmill running indoors and there is no reason people should have to run indoors to stay away from crazy divers who don't care about the people trying to stay in shape.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2010 at 2:38 am

Whatever anyone's reasoning is for what they do or has problems with the way people do things - does anyone want know what the law says? The California Vehicle Code says:

21956(a): "No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway. (Basically you have to run / walk against traffic.)


21966: "No pedestrian shall proceed along a bicycle path or lane where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility." (Basically if there is a sidewalk or something similar available then a runner / walker must use it or else be in violation)

Now does anyone really think Pleasanton PD is going to stop and ticket someone for this (wait don't answer that...).

Posted by Pleasantonian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2010 at 8:05 am

On the subject of joggers in the streets:

There is a group of joggers that runs on Saturday mornings. They leave around 9 am and completely take over Main Street. When they run, traffic behind them almost comes to a stop. Are these people even allowed to do that?

This town has so many places to run, and they have to do this on Main Street?

Posted by steve, a resident of Parkside
on Dec 27, 2010 at 8:22 am

Pleasantonian, I know exactly what you're referring to. Every Saturday, the folks arriving to purchase fresh produce and goods at the Farmers Market are subjected to the rude and illegal behavior of joggers in packs running 3 and 4 abreast in the roadway. They gather at Fleet Feet to organize their weekly assault on the Pleasanton vehicle right of ways.
If it's (negative) attention they want, I suppose that's one way they get they ego's stroked---by attempting to divert the flow of traffic and disrupting the majority of folks who are not endorphin junkies.

Posted by Fred G, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2010 at 9:05 am

Are the Pleasanton Police not going to do anything about a mass of running lunes clogging up the downtown streets on Saturdays? Are they going to sit on their thumbs until this becomes another anarchistic mess like the Critical Mass bike rides in San Francisco? Or, another anarachistic mess like the mass bike rides that start from the bike place next to Bank of America downtown, where the biker lunes use the B of A parking lot to launch the race and intimidate the crap out of B of A customers that drive into the lot trying to get to B of A, in some cases doing physical damage to their cars?

Posted by more endorphins please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2010 at 11:00 am

I think this forum is great! We finally get to understand why runners do some of the things they do and we also get to hear what drivers are thinking about it.

I am a Pleasanton runner and have been for over a decade. I understand the reason to run against traffic but always thought of it as how to run when there are no other options. My suspicions of unfriendly or even hostile minded drivers is also confirmed (sadly).

As for the Pleasanton PD needing to step in.. I, for one, don't think I need to be babysat. I think the fact that we have outdoor runners in town is a testament to our community being safe. Thank you, Pleasanton PD!! When I run, I consider myself INVISIBLE to drivers. I try to take full responsibility for every step I take. To run it this town, you must think defensively and understand people don't pay attention and/or just don't care.

I am familiar with Fleet Feet running group and admire the group spirit, without it many people would not commit to running and enjoy all the good stuff that comes from the social connections. I'm a little confused about where on Bernal the pack is being led..I hope to God that the group is not being led down Bernal by the fairgrounds at peak traffic where cars could be going 50mph. That is just stupid and irresponsible. Upper Bernal Ave at the hill by First street is not much better because drivers are coming down the hill, from a blind bend in the road.

Fleet Feet needs to consider their liability in this and coach the group on safety.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Del Prado
on Dec 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Wow, so many misstatements, so little time.

1. Runners do not "clog" Main street on Sat mornings, anymore than the herds of SUVs do trying to jockey for parking next to Tully's. The run starts at 9AM, the runners take off for routes all over Pleasanton and return in small groups of 2's and 3's. They are only running in a large pack for maybe 2-3 minutes then disperse.

2. The Cyclepath rides no longer exist since the shop closed located next to BofA. Nice rant though. I'll give it a 5 out of 10 for inaccuracy and frothiness.

3. Tuesday night runs cross Bernal at Kottinger and go down Bernal for a short distance past St. Augustines, but never in a pack and never outside the bike lane.

4. The runs are not affiliated with Fleet Feet. The runners meet in front of the store for convenience. All the runners assume responsibility for their own safety.

Posted by Maria, a resident of Downtown
on Dec 27, 2010 at 5:57 pm

C'mon kids ......can't we all just get along? No one owns the road...we all use it, just because you have a vehicle doesn't mean you are superior, and neither if you are a runner, or cyclist, or motorcyclist.

Wouldn't it be more constructive to get rid of the obnoxious holy rollers that infiltrate our town on the nicest evenings and days of the year to destroy our lovely respite in the sun?

Runners, run away, be safe

drivers, just be nice, you will feel better too!

Merry Christmas all!

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 27, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Let's just hope there's no group of bicyclists out for a ride on Bernal at the same time as the runners and the cars. Last I heard, two objects can't occupy the same point in space-time.

Posted by tom, a resident of Amador Estates
on Dec 29, 2010 at 8:54 am

Seems that the DMV recomends pedestrians face oncomming traffic. most likely the problem is excessive speed not paying attention while driving.

Posted by pleasantonian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2010 at 11:27 am

No, the problem is jogging in packs in the middle of the road.

Posted by Lisa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2011 at 9:04 pm

all the self righteous yakkity-yak in the world doesn't add up to much when you have been hit by a car going 45 mph. So be right if you want....while your being lowered 10 feet under. You are endangering yourself, right or wrong.

Posted by joggamemory, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2011 at 7:24 am

I thought it was concrete that was putting too much strain on my knees but turned out it was asfault

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