Ped Tard O’ The Day

It’s one of those ironies that people will mindlessly risk bodily injury in their quests for physical fitness. Such is the case of this fellow I found on 4th Street who couldn’t care less that the law states if there’s an existing and navigable sidewalk available that’s where pedestrians need to relegate themselves. Screw that, he’s gonna jog 4th Street wherever he damn well pleases, even if it’s a good three feet in the traffic lane, and extra especially if it pisses off the impatient motorist who you can just see on the left coming into frame after gunning it around the outside of me and my bike — all the better to hurry up and roll-stop through the signpost up ahead at Norton.

23 thoughts on “Ped Tard O’ The Day”

  1. Obviously, you’ve never tried running on a sidewalk in LA. Broken sidewalks, sprinklers spraying full blast, huge puddles that aren’t navigable, no street lights, overgrown trees and bushes, slippery leaves, dog poop, etc. I run several days a week, early in the mornings, and I always run on the street. I stay to the side, run early before a lot of cars are out, and try to jump onto the sidewalk if traffic is coming. Get over it.

  2. You know, some might say that taking a photo while riding a bike isn’t the smartest thing either.

    I don’t understand why people would want to walk or jog in the street, but if they’re off to the side, I see it as they’re not obstructing traffic and if they’re okay with taking a risk, so be it.

    Honestly–is part of this that he was in the path of your bicycle?

  3. this is dangerous for cyclists too, they are pushing me out of the bike lane (if there is one) and into traffic. if there isn’t one, like here, it forces me to completely take over the car lane.


  4. yeah yeah yeah, the law is the law, I love how everyone finds a way to justify breaking it to suit their needs.

    Seriously, I love the “ped-tards”. The guy is clearly in a position to create a hazard to bikes and cars by not being where he is supposed to be.

    But we’ll never see a cop give these guys a ticket. It is lower on the enforcement scale than making sure cars share the road with bikes.

    I’ve got a teen poised to get her permit…the hardest thing I still have with her is the concept of share the road and how/where to look for bicycles as you get to intersections. Yikes…

  5. OK, Weeeee, here we go!

    Ginna, tell me: how does one even derive an opinion that I don’t know squat about L.A. sidewalks? Is it beecause I don’t jog around a couple square blocks of them several days a week? In fact as eye-poppingly surprising as it might seem to you I’m quite familiar with sidewalks all over this city and understand their conditions can leave a lot to be desired. If it’s your decision to play in the street instead of seeking out a safer less sprinklery, poopy place to run that’s your choice, but if you’re straying as far out as this guy was, you’re risking your health trying to keep your health. Get why that can be construed as tard-like?

    And Evan, In the past three years I’ve taken more than 4,000 images from my bike saddle with no risk to myself or anyone around me. So snarking on my form of mobile pixel capture is just frail. I keep my cam holstered on my belt and as has been witnessed by some of my fellow riders, I can skin it, aim it, fire the shutter and have it back home in less than three seconds. Easy breezy. But of course, I wouldn’t recommend attempting what’s second nature to me to a newbie such as yourself so you’re right to be so judgmental I guess.

    As to your question of whether the jogger was impeding me? Not at all. Should he have been? Should I have made him out to have been? I didn’t take his actions personally (unlike the motorist who was late for his latte), I merely recognized this as an unsafe practice and that this guy had overstepped his bounds and the law’s.

  6. Christ, Will…I’m one of your contacts on Flickr, so I know all about your photos. I was just pointing out that someone might think that taking a photo while riding could be a safety hazard.

  7. oh that’s nothing! duplicate this scene, but instead the street is curving so you can’t see the guy yet… when you finally do you see he’s walking and reading a book at the same time… at night! this really happened as i was driving past silver lake reservoir one night. sidewalk on one side, walk/jog path on the other.

  8. heh. will, i’m a bikey-photog myself and if someone were to point out to me that what i was doing was a tad dangerous well.. they might be right. i don’t, however, (as you said) think it’s dangerous to anyone but my own self.

    speaking of cycling and photography – where do you keep your camera? i run a chrome bag with a cell phone attachment on the strap. phone goes in the bag and out of reach, the camera is always at hand. you never know.. :-)

  9. “oh that’s nothing! duplicate this scene, but instead the street is curving so you can’t see the guy yet… when you finally do you see he’s walking and reading a book at the same time… at night”

    Hah! Reminds me of one of the newer Simpsons Halloween episodes where Flanders gets run over while out taking one of his “fog walks.”

  10. There’s something about that Hancock Park crowd. Every single time I’ve been down 4th St., nobody is walking or jogging on the sidewalk. EVERYONE is in the street.

  11. Well Christ Evan I didn’t recognize you without your Flickr icon! Apologies for the vehement defensivity of my freewheeling photoginess. It indeed might not be the smartest thing, but it’s not illegal.

    Elserracho: I keep my cam separate from my pack in a Velcro’d beltcase on my right hip, ready for the quickdraw. I hardly go anywhere on my bike without having a cam at the ready.

  12. If you posted this to slam this guy for being unsafe and you end up taking shit from posters who think it’s unsafe to take pics from your bike, does that mean you’ve been hoisted by your own ped-tard?

  13. I’m surprised no one has mentioned it yet, but I think his offense would be easier to forgive (and safer for him) if he were running facing the flow of cars and bicycles.

  14. aye aye aye…talk about hijacking comments. Nice to know I’m not the only one that gets attacked from time to time in the comments.

  15. OK, as a runner, I have to chime in.

    90% of the time, I’ll run on the sidewalk if it’s available.

    When I run in the street (when there’s a sidewalk available), I do so because the conditions of the sidewalk are not good for running. Broken pavement, sprinklers flooding the sidewalk, or no “buffer” between the sidewalk and the street (i.e. the sidewalk is right up against the curb, which is annoying when you hit a lot of driveways, causing an uneven up and down when you cross each driveway)… it may not seem like much when you’re only walking a block or two, but when you’re running 6 or 7 miles, bad sidewalks takes their toll.

    THAT SAID, I’m always mindful of traffic around me, and I’d usually be facing traffic, and sticking closer to the sides of the street. This guy should probably be running closer to the cars; I doubt he’s running so fast that he couldn’t react should someone open their door in front of him.

  16. I hear you Robbbb. I’ve got nothing against a walker or runner needing to detour around an obstruction or even a stretch of slippery sidewalk. We cyclist types do it all the time when confronting poor road conditions or debris (and for which we risk getting yelled at to get ON the sidewalk!).

    In the case of the jogger I featured here, he was streetbound all the way. He came trotting in full mindless entitlement south on Van Ness — in the street. Made a right onto 4th — in the street. Then proceeded westward on 4th as shown — in the street. When I was a couple blocks past him I turned to look behind and there he was still — in the street. He might still be there now.

    And just a general postscript: The disasterous degenerative toll that running takes on a body — with or without the factor of craptastic sidewalks is WHY I RIDE A BIKE.

  17. As I runner myself I’d like to chime in here as well…

    I personally prefer sidewalks and the physical safety they offer, BUT, if you are an avid runner you will know that the material used to pave sidewalks is much harder and denser than that used to pave streets. So over time, if you put in too many miles on sidewalks you put yourself at more risk of stress fractures and injuries.

    Again, I prefer to take this risk over getting smashed by a car in one fell swoop, but this is the reason that a lot of people run in the street and not on the sidewalk!

  18. I didn’t know the difference in materials between sidewalks and streets were that drastic to make a difference physically.

    In my neighborhood in Santa Monica, they’re replacing a lot of concrete sidewalks with sidewalks made from recycled tires–they’re super springy when you walk on them!

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