Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains or you happen to live in glorious isolation out in the sticks, there’s a fairly high chance that when you go out running, you have to take your chances with the rest of the motoring and pedestrian traffic. And with the seemingly contradictory combination of rising fuel prices and gridlocked streets, never has it made more sense to get out on the bike.
But both modes of self-propelled transport bring more hazards than a ballooning holiday with Felix Baumgartner. Sometimes, it’s like Jason Statham in Death Race taking on Arnie in the Running Man. Who knows who is going to come out alive at the end?
Perhaps it’s time to update the highway code to reflect the realities of modern life on Britain’s roads. Here’s a sneak preview of some of the questions that the ministry of transports might like to consider for next year’s theory test.
The highway code (motorists section)
You wish to turn left into a hidden driveway or minor side road, but there is a runners on the pavement going in the same direction. Do you:
- Wait three seconds for the runner to continue past before making the turn
- Beep your horn to let the runner know of your presence
- Accelerate hard, then wildly swing left in front of the runner almost virtually turning them from wannabe Olympian into wannabe Paralympian
Who else you might consider looking out for on the roads when you are driving:
- Other cars
- Other cars, buses, lorries, vans, plus bikes, pedestrians and runners
- Nobody. It’s just you, you selfish b*****d
The traffic light is about to turn red and you’re going to be held up by 30 seconds, but you decide to “go for it”. You are most likely to get
- Flashed by camera (3 points)
- Pulled over by police car (£60 fine and 3 points)
- Direct hit on runner (500 points)
You see a woman running on pavement minding her own business. You beep horn and shout offensive comment from window. You are:
- Driving a white van
- A fat chav
- A tw*t
- All of the above
The mirrors on your vehicle should be used for:
- Looking out for other road users, before safely signalling and manoeuvring
- Checking your hair and/or make up at the lights
- Disabling a runner or cyclist at hip or arm height. (Bonus if you are in a van or lorry and you can take a clean head shot)
A road is closed for two hours on a Sunday morning due to the local half marathon taking place. Do you:
- Find another route and put it down to bad luck
- Make alternative plans to your Sunday morning departure time
- Complain to the police, marshals, race director, local paper, the BBC & your MP, about what a disgrace it all is and how it wouldn’t have happened “in your day”
You pull out into traffic blissfully unaware of a cyclist coming in the opposite direction. You are most likely to hit them if they are:
- Not wearing a high vis jacket, industrial foghorn and Christmas lights
- A senior ranking coach at British Cycling
- Bradley Wiggins
The highway code (pedestrian section)
The length of your dog’s lead should be:
- 2 feet
- 3 feet
- 27 feet
When using your phone whilst walking, you should:
- Keep it to a reasonable volume and refrain from manic arm waving
- Walk in a straight line whilst paying attention to runners who might be passing
- Veer wildly from left to right and back again across the pavement then stop suddenly without warning
You step off a bus or out of a shop at a perpendicular direction to the flow of pedestrian traffic. You should:
- Look left
- Look right
- Look neither left or right and generally cause as much obstruction to any runner who might be passing at that moment. And then blame them for the collision.
You approach a gate or narrow point in the pathway as runner approaches from the opposite direction. You should:
- Hold back a few seconds and let the runner come through.
- Speed up a fraction to pass the pinch-point before the runner gets there.
- Get to the narrow section at exactly the same time as the runner, cause a needless stoppage for both parties and then get foul and abusive when the runner tells you to get out of the damn way.
When walking with friends on a popular running path, you should walk:
- Side by side in pairs
- In a group but aware of other path users
- Six abreast at glacier pace, oblivious to anyone who might be trying to pass without actually going through a tree or bush
You are with some young friends as a runner approaches. You feel obliged to shout:
- Nothing. There’s no need.
- “Keep going” or “well done”
- “Run Forrest Run” – that one always gets a laugh