This morning on my commute I encountered a runner in the bike lane I was riding in. This irked me because:
- The bike lane was on a busy street, with three lanes of motor vehicle traffic in each direction. (I was northbound on Embarcadero in San Francisco, for those of you familiar with the city.) To go around the runner I had to enter the car lanes, which makes me a little uneasy.
- There is a very wide sidewalk available to runners and other pedestrians along this street. There were no obstructions on the sidewalk, and it was not choked with other pedestrians. In other words, there was plenty of room for this runner to run on the sidewalk. (I'm guessing that he didn't want to run on the concrete sidewalk based on the misguided belief that the asphalt roadway would be easier on his joints.)
So when I was about to pass the runner, I called out, "You're in my lane!" His reaction was... not positive. He started yelling and cursing at me. I don't know exactly what he said; probably something about runners being entitled to use of the bike lane, too.
So my question is this:
Do runners or other pedestrians have a legal right to use the bike lane (not that SFPD would ever enforce this even if it were a violation), especially when there is a sidewalk available? If this varies with the jurisdiction -- and it probably does -- then I suppose I'm most curious about what the law says where I do all of my riding, in the San Francisco bay area.
(Irrelevant detail: I'm a runner myself -- I do a lot more running than cycling, in fact -- and I've run on this route many times. I really have no sympathy for those who want to run in the bike lane, just because I feel like the sidewalk is perfectly adequate for runners when it's available. I don't ride my bike on the sidewalk, after all.)