Letter to the NY Road Runners who seek the help of cyclists.

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Anonymous's picture


I write in response to your asking me to provide you with six cyclists--you call them bikers; bikers are motorcyclists--to form a protective wedge around elite professional runners at the front of a pack in a race in Central Park, Saturday, June 10th, 8AM-10:30AM, in exchange for which you offer to donate $300 to an entity with which the cyclists are affiliated.

I'll make an extended effort to provide you with volunteer cyclists for that event...however, here is what I want in return for that, if I'm successful--or even if I'm not successful--more than the donation of money: I want a ten minute meeting between me and the president of the NYRR: is it Mary Wittenberg who succeeded Allan Steinfeld? I'd be delighted to have anyone else from the NYRR attend it who wished to.

You are, I assume, aware that a reknowned, 80-year old psychiatrist and NYU professor was critically injured when he collided with a runner May 2 in Central Park. He was in a cycling lane. The agenda for the meeting I seek is a brief discussion of the presence of runners outside of their dedicated running lane(s) and in dedicated cycling and skating lanes where they jeopardize and injure cyclists and skaters—and what the NYRR could do to mitigate this...but, apparently, isn't.

Not the least of my reasons for creating a group of cyclists from a wide range of NYC's cycling organizations to assist the NYRR in the ING NYC Marathon, as I have for some years, is to have a platfrom from which to speak to the NYRR about this very thing...and to create in the NYRR some feeling of obligation and commitment to ensuring that its members do not jeopardize the safety and enjoyment of cyclists in Central Park by running outside their dedicated running lane(s).

It continues to be the case that some runners run wherever they please on park roads, completely oblivious to the presence and safety of cyclists and skaters who respect the runners' dedicated running lane(s). I have seen collisions and near collisions far too often in the main roadway when runners are there, not infrequently running counterclockwise down the middle of the road and not even looking where they are running. Are these NYRR runners? Certainly not all--maybe not even most; but some are; and, when asked in a collegial manner to respect the dedicated lanes, their responses, often as not, are variations of ""fuck you.""

The marshalling of these runners--during as well as outside of races--is wholly inadequate...to the extent it exists at all. I have ideas how the NYRR could mitigate this--if it wanted to.

Also, I would call upon the NYRR to communicate its races in Central Park to the NYCC, and other cycling groups, some few days ahead of the races in order that cyclists may avoid the park. This can be done easily and quickly by posting an annoucement in a timely fashion on the online message boards of the various clubs.

This is what I would like to discuss at a meeting I ask you to arrange in exchange for my providing you with cyclists to form a protective wedge around your lead runners.




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Anonymous's picture
TRIGUY (not verified)

"Nice letter Richard. Many thanks for your diligence and dedication.

But if I may ... the NYRRC is not the only running entity out there, although it may be the biggest. New York City has many running clubs that operate independently of the NYRRC, and the NYRRC may not really have a say in how they ""behave"" in the park. Monthly ""Club Council"" meetings are held at the NYRRC headquarters with the 'heads of state' of these smaller clubs, but I think these almost always concern only the needs of the clubs and not other park users.

As a side note to one of your comments about runners feeling entitled to their space to the detriment of cyclists, there was recently a disturbing incident on the bridle path where a particularly angry runner knocked down a young biker because, he yelled, ""No bikes on the bridle path! Get out!"" (though as always there were many other people on bikes that day on the path, in full view of the nearby police station and the police themselves). Regardless of whether or not bikes are allowed, I hope you agree that that runner did not have any right to hurt another person and push him off his bike and onto the ground. Scary behaviour. Unnerving to say the least.

That runner I later found out was someone with a reputation for altercations, and his name is Stuart Calderwood. He coaches one of the local running clubs, Central Park Track Club. With people like him around, how does a cycling club demand respect from running clubs when sometimes the running club's officers themselves assault cyclists?

Anonymous's picture
Alan Resnick (not verified)
Central Park Roads

"As a LONG time user of Central Park roads I would be happy to offer my views. As the former President of CRCA(bicycle racing club) and former President of Team Red Line(elite triathalon team) I was on ""The Central Park Safety Committee from around 1993-1999. The meetings were usually held at NYRRC headquarters and most meetings were extremely frustrating due to the city official groups(Police, Parks,DOT)who were not willing to ENFORCE rules ALL of the volunteer groups agreed upon.(runners, cyclists, skaters, walkers and community board attendees).
The roads have marking, and a pamphlet exists with rules of the road suggestions. Good luck Richard"

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

I think the tone is too emotional.

Do you think the NYRR has any more sway over runners in Central Park than the NYCC has over cyclists? An interesting aside would be the question of what percentage of runners in Central Park actually compete or are members of organized running.

As to the schedule of running events in Central Park. The publication is more open to the public than NYCC rides. The NYRR publishes a schedule of events in January for events all year, available online on their website at:

Anonymous's picture
George Arcarola (not verified)
a good start

Hank, you may be right that the tone is too emotional. You are definitely right that neither the NYRR or the NYCC have control over all runners and cyclists. But I think Richard has a very good point here. These two groups, while certainly, by any measurement, are not all encompassing, they are an excellent starting point. If somehow, a dialog (both parties in active participation) can prevent a single collision, or even better, begin more courteous relations between runners and cyclists, then it's certainly worth some exploration.

Good luck Richard!!

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

George, we agree that Richard's mission is correct. My point is to caution him on the art of diplomacy. He is informed and bright. I hope my feedback will help him achieve his goal, which would be a benefit to us all.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Emotion is a good thing

In rhetoric as in life.

Richard, you know that I for one adore your passionate nature. Thank you for caring about such things.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Emotion has no place in this: it is simple, clear, cold reason.

"Let me make clear and emphasize, I am not, cannot, and will not speak for the NYCC. I don't have the position to do that.

Any representations I make, and I make clear this is the case, I do strictly as an individual cyclist but one who has in mind the interests of all cyclists and, in this case, all users of the park roads.

I have total and complete regard and respect for Hank, but take issue with him it is the responsibility of cyclists, skaters, and club to inform themselves about the dates the NYRR is commandeering the park for its races and events.

I take it to be the responsibililty of NYRR to inform us (and other groups that use the park en masse) of their plans rather than it falling to us to inform ourselves of their plans. Surely, in consideration of the numerous very special privileges accorded the NYRR by the City of New York through the Dept. of Parks, it is a responsibility they should acquit.

And how easy it can be for them to do so: they can and should designate one of their many hundreds of volunteers to be their loudspeaker to auslanders, ""others."" Here's how you do it, NYRR: Use our own Gabriella and her weekly G-gram as a model. Create an e-list of, likely, no more than four groups. Then, every week there is a NYRR activity that clogs/overwhelms/seizes for itself the park roads, send it to the message boards of those c. four groups to inform us/them of the times of your takeovers.

Let me assure you when the welfare of others is at stake, I temper the expression of my temper."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Your note is EXTREMELY helpful for informing me about...

Dear Triguy:

No, I hadn't known at all of there being a council of running cheiftans. Boy, are you ever right! Is that ever a venue to put forward our interests. Thanks.


Anonymous's picture
tom m. (not verified)

The Running Clubs start the training runs at 7pm or slightly before but we know that there are still cars in the park at that time . This makes things extremely dangerous for cyclist . You got the rec. lane fully filled with runners , cyclist riding on the outside of the rec. lane and cars on the main road.
When they(runners) end their runs they are all over the road up by Engineers gate socializing .
I think these two issues the running clubs could do something about .

Anonymous's picture
Stuart Calderwood (not verified)

"<> Most important: Central Park Track Club has a large triathlon contingent and is very sensitive to cycling issues and cyclist/runner compatibility. I'm a longtime CPTC member, but not a coach--Tony Ruiz, the head coach, asks me to unofficially assist him every couple of months. He and Devon Martin, the other coach, both frequently advise club members to stay out of the cycling lane during team workouts. CPTC isn't an ""us-against-them""-type group at all, and cyclists are welcomed and respected in the club.

<> There's a lot more to the altercation mentioned here by Triguy. It happened on July 18, 2002--maybe not ""recently,"" but certainly still fresh in the participants' memories. The cyclist was 38 at the time; I was 44. Before that very bad night, we already had a ten-year history that shouldn't have to be made public, but it generally involved our earlier good friendship and coach/athlete relationship, and then a falling-out over who I was dating (I'm married to her now). The trouble started in 1997 and might have slowly dissipated if I hadn't lost my temper that night. I did push him off his bike, and I deeply regret it. I called him and apologised, and he listened; I hoped he would forgive me, but he hasn't. I don't know if he is Triguy, but this is as good a place as any to say that I still have old Track & Field News magazines from a subscription he gave me as a gift, I've always kept the secret he told me about the Olympics, and I've missed our friendship for nine years. I was sorry five minutes later that night and I've been sorry for four years. Two nights ago in the Harlem Hills I wanted to tell him that he still has perfect running form, but I knew he wouldn't want to hear anything from me. I wish the silence could end--I hate the feud that's made me have to avoid someone I used to love to talk to. Any response here or anywhere else would be very welcome.


Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
Chaos Rules!

Stuart: Assuming all this is real and you are who you say you are, thanks for your reply. I was wondering who this monster with runner's rage was and of course googled you and found some pictures. Then I read this, and you are hardly a monster but someone exhibiting sincere regret after doing something that crossed the line.

To the larger world and especially Richard: It is certainly understandable to be frustrated with the disorder of runners, and dogwalkers, and skaters, and of course cyclists in the park and the city in general. Cyclists go the wrong way. Cyclists ride on the sidewalk. Runners run every which way in every which lane in Central Park (they really suck in large groups, but I guess if you can't beat 'em, join 'em). Dog walkers love their dogs more than their neighbors. Skaters can't be trusted to go straight and some like to sprawl all over the recreational lane near Tavern on the Green. (What is up with those jerks!?)

Make peace with the chaos or you are just harming yourself. (Try to remember peace.) Or perhaps gain a whole new perspective instead of the sense that your rights are violated or you are being disrepsected. Namely: What is the harm here? You have to slow down a little? Well what is the hurry - you are just out on a bike ride. If you are training for whatever, good - that is more work for you. Think of the challenges of weaving through the chaos, of timing the various obstacles and sailing through them seamlessly. Think how boring it would be to do laps and there not be another soul in the park. Embrace the beauty of the chaos, of the untameable human spirit, or at least how inconsiderate it can be.

Demands for regulation are frustrating because I like to run lights and go faster than 15 mph in the Park, and I do not want to yield to pedestrians when I have the green light. Yet militant stances like Richard's will lead to this.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
MILITANT? What's militant about wanting to talk & improve thngs?

"Chris, do you really suppose the 80 year old NYU post-doctoral professor in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy who was riding his bike in Central Park on May 2nd and was SEVERELY injured was speeding when brought down by a jogger?

Here's what I take from your advice to accept all things: seek no improvement. If someone throws his garbage on your lawn (enlarge that as a metaphor), accept it; or, as you advise, ""Make peace with the chaos."" And thus do we continue to have people throwing their garbage on other peoples' lawns (enlarge that as metaphor).

What you call chaos is, in reality, nothing more than inconsideration of others. You accept that. I don't. I think we can do better.

We have a culture whose standard for conduct is: Screw you. I'll do what I want and I won't do anything that inhibits my pleasure. You accept that. I don't. I think we can do better.

My means of trying to mitigate ""chaos"" on the park roads and elsewhere is to speak, to talk, to discuss it in venues where discussion might possibly, conceivably lead to change.

Yes, I am as aggrieved by cyclists transgressing the right of way and dedicated lanes of runners as I am by runners disregard for cycling/skating lanes. But, then, perhaps you read my screed on this in MetroSports.

Perhaps you, like me, have gone to the booth that rents bikes in Central Park after seeing dozens of those renting bikes riding in the running lane(s) and urged the concessionaire to explain to those renting bikes the dedicated use of lanes.

Oh, no, of course, you didn't: you just accept that as part of the chaos to be accepted and lived with. Why try to actually DO something constructive about it? After all, doing something--anything, any mild, slight, reasonable thing--is, what did you call it? Oh, yes: militancy.

If you don't care about runners in cycling/skaters lanes and cyclists in runners lanes, then why even have the regulations? Write Adrian Benepe, Parks Commissioner, and Douglas Blonsky, parks administrator through the Central Park Conservancy and suggest they withdraw the regulations govering lane use. Tell them to take down what few and largely invisible signs there are advising users of the road on proper lane use as blights on the natural scenery of the park.

As for me, I'm suggesting they be made more plentiful and more visible, that the park rangers who do just about nothing, at least inform errant road users--runners and cyclists--of the designated lanes so that there can be less...oh, what shall I call it...chaos?"

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)
Small changes

"Sometime last fall I phoned the Parks Dept. about the East River Park greenway. Since its renovation, the park has gotten ever more usage, which is great--especially for that neighborhood, where I used to live.

But for some reason, most runners (a lot of angry white yuppies, it seemed to me) had collectively decided that going against traffic was safer for them--screw everyone else. So on my evening bike commute I was usually forced to choose between running into people head-on or weaving around into the left lane and causing other people to run into me. Sometimes I preferred to face the rush-hour auto traffic rather than these kamikazes. At least the cars were going predictably in the right direction.

After one particularly hostile encounter with two young men, I got fed up and phoned the Parks Dept. The woman I spoke with (sorry can't remember her name) had just started her job, but was very receptive. I asked if more signs indicating ""stay right, pass left"" could be installed, and lower on the lightpoles where people would see them. There were a couple of signs around, but they weren't visible or numerous enough for this dense multiuse path.

The very next week, a couple more signs appeared, and foot traffic patterns improved immediately. Today, at peak exercise season, there are several more signs, and I have to say that 80%-90% of people observe them. What a relief.

Because it's so crowded, especially with the ball games taking place (kids have a place to play!), I have to really slow my pace when I ride through. That's okay. There's still plenty of serendipity, but without the chaos and aggression, thank you. And because the runners respect my right of way, I'll go out of my way to respect theirs. I run in that park on occasion too."

Anonymous's picture
el jefe (not verified)
"""Embrace the beauty of the chaos"""

"Richard, here's a better (and shorter) analogy for ChrisO:
There are rules against cars using the Park drives during specific hours and when they are allowed in the park there are rules governing their lane usage. According to Chris's logic it should be OK for the motorists (and truck drivers) to ignore those rules.
With no more ""frustrating demands for regulation"" he can
""Embrace the beauty of the chaos""."

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)

And according to El Jefe's logic, no cyclist can exceed 15 mph or run red lights in the park , or fail to yield to pedestrians, among other things.

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
Do not exceed 15, stop at every light

"I wish the chaos could be fixed but I fear the cost to cyclists of your calls for ""improvement"". I could be wrong but I am not aware of any exemption for the traffic laws in central park just because it is closed to motor vehicles. And if that is true, that would mean that cyclists would have to stop at every red light in the park. That cyclists would have to yield to pedestrians in every cross walk no matter what the color of the light. And that cyclists could not exceed 15 mph. You are apparently willing to pay that price (or expect some double standard to be applied). I am not.

Cyclists are vastly outnumbered by runners and other recreational users in the Park and I suspect most complaints are about cyclists. So any enforcement for ""improvement"" of the chaos will most likely fall on the cyclists.

I get extremely frustrated with how inconsiderate people can be in the Park. But my point, and I need to constantly remind myself because it does not always work, is that instead of getting angry to try to view it from another perspective. (This goes back to a problem I had when the rain and runoff landed on my A/C making a lot of noise and thus disturbing my sleep. One night, with the wind howling, and the rain pouring, it occured to me I could in a state of nature: wet and miserable and cold with no shelter. But instead I was safe and warm and dry. And the noise never bothered me again. Unfortunately I am still bothered by the behavior of people, but I am trying to take that different mental approach for my own peace of mind.)


Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)

"""I had when the rain and runoff landed on my A/C making a lot of noise and thus disturbing my sleep.""

Secure a folded up old towel to the top of the AC with a bungee or heavy magnets. That will muffle the noise."

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
I'm not preaching obedience to law but to reason & consideration


I will not allow you to pinion me, of all people, to obedience to law.

Consider this: a desert landscape. The horizon is miles in either direction. There is a traffic light. It is red. A car approaches it. The driver can see for miles. There is no one.

As I advocate for applying reason, common sense, consideration, and good judgment as the standard of conduct, and as there is no potential conflict, I would not stop.

Good judgment, common sense, and consideration for others. That is the standard I advocate in this thread and none other.

There is ample room in the running lanes for runners. There is no need for them to be in the cycling lane.

There is ample room in the cycling lanes for cyclists. There is no need for them to be in the running lanes.

Therefore, cyclists in the cycling lanes; runners in the running lanes. Surely that concept is easily apprehended and reified.

Your holding out to Jeff the notion of adhering to all red lights and obeying a 15MPH speed limit (I don't recall you were active in opposing it) is a false dichotomy. Although I would never presume to put words in his mouth, I think he, too, would argue from a position of reason, good judgment, and consideration for others. That's all.

In summary: there is never a reason to make someone else who is acting lawfully and who has the right-of-way even merely apprehensive of you, much less putting him or her in actual danger. If your violating a law, or even your legal conduct would do that--don't do that.

If your violating a law does not put anyone in apprehension, much less actual danger...well, need I spell it out.

When in doubt, obey the law.


Tell me: when you roll up to a red light and there are cars ahead of you in separate lanes, do you roll between them?

Anonymous's picture
PLee (not verified)
What are the rules?

Just curious - Both Central Park and Prospect Park (which is where I do most of my riding) have lanes marked for cyclists and runners, respectively. I assume rollerbladers are supposed to use the bike lanes.

But what are the rules when the park roads are closed to automobiles?? Is the whole roadway then supposedly wide open for use by all, including parents pushing baby strollers??

As an aside, by the way, I hate running in the running lane because the road camber in the roadway at that point does nasty things to your legs.

In any event, I hope you get a chance to sit down with Mary Wittenberg. She's quite pleasant and reasonable. When you do, you might want to suggest that they just pop a friendly reminder into their weekly emails to members about safety issues with sharing the park with cyclists, et al. One thing worth reminding runners to do is to check behind carefully before changing their running path. It is very easy to miss seeing a bicyclist with just a quick glance (I learned that lesson the hard way . . .).

Conversely, riders, don't assume that just because the runner ahead of you glanced backwards that they saw you.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Rules of the park road--and thanks for your suggestion(s)


You point up the most glaring point to be made: the rules of the road are unknown by most road users--and the Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy are woefully derelict in addressing the fact that park users simply don't know the rules.

And why should they? There's virtually no information offered park users about the rules of the road.

Here are the rules for Central Park. I'm not familiar with Prospect Park.

When cars are allowed in the park, the inside (half/demarcated) lane is restricted to use by runners/joggers/walkers; the (half/demarcated)lane contiguous to that is for cyclists and skaters.

When cars are not allowed in the park, both half-lanes, the ones inadequately marked with icons (one for runners, the other for cyclists (missing: skaters. Why not use a wheel as the symbol?), are for the exclusive use of runners/joggers/walkers. Cyclists and skaters are to use the main roadway.

------------------------BEGINNING OF DIGRESSION-------------------

I digress to speak of the park rangers and workers. Two of them yesterday, near 59th and Sixth, were unable to tell a man where the zoo was.

I recall last year two speeding the wrong way in the middle of the road in one of their carts, scattering us as they bombed around a curve. We learned their rush. Lunch.

This week one, unable to turn into the road leading into the inner park near 59th and Sixth backed up, disregarding cyclists in the lane he was backing into, so that the cyclists had to swerve into a car lane with oncoming traffic to avoid the backing up parks truck.

An elongated van with five park rangers sped (c. 45MPH) past cyclists only to be seen ten minutes and thirty minutes later with all the rangers sitting in it. When asked why they sped as they did, the line was they went to help a police officer in distress. Can you imagine a park ranger or worker being able to help a police officer in distress? Oh, the distress: the policeman had stopped a pedicab. The policeman had left. The van remained with its complement of rangers. So we paid five park rangers to sit in the van for at least thirty minutes.

As for the deployment of police in the park, you might think it would make some sense to have them spread out, the better to deter crime and the better to help people seeking their help throughout the park.

What I saw yesterday, today, and most every time I do see them--granted, most often one does not see police as one circles the park--is two, three, or four of them in lengthy conversation with one another. How lengthy? Circle the park and they're still chatting away. ...And no other police elsewhere as one loops the park.

Do they at least stop cars that are in the park that go right by them when the park is closed to cars? They didn't yesterday or today.

Perhaps when not smiting criminals they could leaflet or inform errant park users about correct use of the roadway so long since the park rangers don't. Nah, surely that's not the job of the NYPD—although it does appear the police in the park aren't so burdened that they couldn't do this.

---------------------------END OF DIGRESSION--------------------------

As I have written elsewhere, not the least of the reasons I have taken on the recruiting and organizing of the cyclists who accompany the disabled wheelchair and handcycle athletes in the NYC (ING) Marathon run by the NYRR for some years is to give me some credential with the NYRR. I'm about to use it.

The response to my proposal to meet with them was enthusiastically received. I have reason to believe it will happen.

Beginning last year, the group I recruited to accompany the marathoners was very deliberately drawn from a number of NYC cycling organizations (Fast & Fabulous, Kissena Cycle Club, Staten Island Bicycle Club, 5 Boro Bicycle Club, NYCC, CRCA, and Major Taylor) in order that the NYRR feel some appreciatio

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

"In Prospect Park, the rules are: When closed to motor traffic, runners get the inner, ""recreation lane"", skaters get the middle lane, and cyclists get the outer lane.

As Prospect is not very crowded, people tend to run in the recreation lane and skaters and cyclists share the other two lanes with little if any incident.

Oh, I'd have to side with Chris on this one– ""Be careful what you wish for: You might get it."""

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)

"""The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."" - George Bernard Shaw


I'm somewhat caught between Richard's and Chris' POVs.

Besides meetings at the Boathouse, I'm not a CP habitue, but few things piss me off as the daily wall of stupid on my morning bike commutes -- and I do not hesitate to curse the egregious.

OTOH, I believe acceptance of chaos to be critical to one's survival. If one does NOT expect every car door to open ... or cell-impaired ped to jay walk ... or rush hour cab to swerve ... then one is biking on borrowed time.


For fun, background on the English legal concept of ""the Reasonable Man"":

""The Reasonable Man is reproduced and cited in many modern British and United States legal books as it illustrates a key axiom of the common law that many jury decisions are centered around the concept of the 'reasonable man'. Without this concept, trespass and the law of torts (for example negligence, or bad faith breach of contract) and many other legal cases could not be decided.""

""This noble creature ... is always thinking of others; prudence is his guide, and 'Safety First', if I may borrow a contemporary catchword, is his rule of life. All solid virtues are his, save only that peculiar quality by which the affection of other men is won. ... Though any given example of his behaviour must command our admiration, when taken in the mass his acts create a very different set of impressions.

He is one who invariably looks where he is going, and is careful to examine the immediate foreground before he executes a leap or bound;

Who neither star-gazes nor is lost in meditation when approaching trap-doors or the margin of a dock;

Who records in every case upon the counterfoils of cheques such ample details as are desirable, scrupulously substitutes the word 'Order' for the word 'Bearer', crosses the instrument 'a/c Payee only', and registers the package in which it is despatched;

Who never mounts a moving omnibus, and does not alight from any car while the train is in motion;

Who investigates exhaustively the bona fides of every mendicant [beggar] before distributing alms, and will inform himself of the history and habits of a dog before administering a caress;

Who believes no gossip, nor repeats it, without firm basis for believing it to be true;

Who never drives his ball till those in front of him have definitely vacated the putting-green which is his own objective;

Who never from one year's end to another makes an excessive demand upon his wife, his neighbours, his servants, his ox, or his ass;

Who in the way of business looks only for that narrow margin of profit which twelve men such as himself would reckon to be 'fair', contemplates his fellow-merchants, their agents, and their goods, with that degree of suspicion and distrust which the law deems admirable;

Who never swears, gambles, or loses his temper;

Who uses nothing except in moderation, and even while he flogs his child is meditating only on the golden mean.""




Anonymous's picture
TRIGUY (not verified)

"Mr. Calderwood,

No ""excuse"" outside of a true accident can justify someone pushing someone off his/her bike. Apologising for a brief episode of road rage that puts the other person in danger/pain does not make it justified or forgivable. Violence is never justified. I hope you get counseling or found the inner peace Chris O mentioned. Do not be so arogant to assume that your victim is the only one to know about the incident and be disturbed and affected by it.


Anonymous's picture
Stuart Calderwood (not verified)

<> Thank you for ending your letter with ""peace.""
<> I'm not making an excuse for what I did. I know it was wrong.
<> I wrote that I was NOT assuming that you were the person in question; that doesn't seem arrogant.
<> He was stopped when I pushed him; I'd run past his bike and stood in his way. I was violent, but there wasn't the kind of danger that I think you're picturing--someone being pushed while riding and caused to crash.
<> It wasn't road rage. I ran after him because he used a familiar obscene response when I told him that bikes weren't allowed on the trail; I wanted to confront him, but not physically. (I didn't know who he was at that point because it was dark, he had a helmet on, and I saw him from the back.) When I realized who he was, I got angry because of things that he'd said about my wife and me in e-mails to many people on the running team that we were all on at the time.
<> This was the only physical altercation that I've been in since grade school (except being mugged), and I'm very sorry about it already, so I don't think I need violence counseling. I have some inner peace, but not always, and not about everything. I do work on that, and Chris's ideas help.
<> You're right that what I did wasn't justified, but that doesn't make it unforgivable. Each person decides what to forgive. I've forgiven the cyclist for his years of written and verbal slights about me to others; I've tried to see his motives (about the falling-out mentioned in my earlier post), and I think I understand them better now. We'd made some small progress before I messed it up. He and I both have good sides and good intentions much of the time (like you obviously do, too, or you wouldn't be writing here), and I'm trying to act on the good in our past and let that win out. This was the fourth inaccurate version of the incident that I've read on a sport website, and I thought it was time that I responded. I've tried to be completely clear. If he doesn't forgive me, I'll have to accept that, of course, but that possibility shouldn't cut off efforts to make things better, should it?"

Anonymous's picture
TRIGUY (not verified)

"I have no say with regards to your personal life. However:

When I am driving on the highway and someone gives me the finger, I do not drive up in front of him and slow down or stop to impede his progress and ""confront him"" for giving me the finger. That is road rage. If someone did that to me I think he was crazy and I would surely be scared, I admit. Patrol the westside of the dirt bridle path on any sunny weekend afternoon and you will see no less than 5-10 people on mt. bikes every hour, women, teenagers, and big burly men alike. Do you stand in the way of each and every one of them in order to declare your rights over these criminal bicyclists? Saying something to them is one thing, but coinfronting them in this physical manner is threatening and unproductive."

Anonymous's picture
Stuart Calderwood (not verified)

"No, I don't stand in front of any of them. I say, ""Just for next time--bikes aren't allowed on this trail."" About half the time, there's no response. About a quarter of the time, the rider either stops to ask what the rule is or says something surprised and apologetic (they're usually tourists on rented bikes) and turns off toward the road. The other quarter of the time, the rider says something dismissive and/or insulting: ""Yeah, right!"" or the like. In exactly three cases in 21 years, the rider has cursed at me directly. My policy then is to run after the bike in order to talk to the rider. I say, ""Excuse me--can I talk to you for a minute?"" If he stops (it's always been a man; both the others stopped), I tell him the story of my friend who won the 1970 New York City Marathon but hasn't been able to run normally for 15 years since a cyclist hit him on the bridle path and badly hurt his back. One of the two guys paused a bit and then said, ""You're right. You're right."" The other cut me off after half a sentence and said, ""I don't give a ---- who your ------- friend is,"" and rode away. I can't see any of my responses here as road rage, especially since I wasn't angry during them. In the case about which so much has now been written, I already knew the rider and, yes, was angry at him. That's really as far as it goes. But I'm beginning to think that I'm wasting time by writing to you, because you don't answer my questions even though I try to answer yours carefully. You seem to want more to defame or reprimand me than to understand or reconcile anything, and I don't think I can explain myself or the incident any better. Instead I'll describe a challenge that I faced that might be a bit like yours here, and your friend's: in my second letter to you, I mentioned having been mugged. It was terrifying and painful: five guys choked me and a female roommate from behind, threw us onto the sidewalk, and kneeled on us with knives pointed at our faces. They took my wallet and her purse and ran away. We walked home. My trachea was slightly injured; I couldn't exercise or turn my head for ten days. During that time, I walked around angry to the point of near-tears, wishing I could fight those guys, get them arrested, something. This was in December of 1991. The only aftermath came about a month later, when my roommate's bank record showed that the muggers had been able to use one of her credit cards before she'd cancelled it. They had bought nothing but two hundred dollars' worth of baby toys, just before Christmas. This made them become, in my mind, people who had lives outside of having attacked me and my friend; who had other sides and feelings. Accepting this was a struggle: part of me wanted them to stay the enemy. But finally I forgave them. And for the first time in a month, I walked down the street with my hands relaxed."

Anonymous's picture
Stuart Calderwood (not verified)
For chris o

Yes, it's real and I am who I say I am. Thanks for your thorough and sensitive reply. And for the larger issue, you have the most acceptant, positive, and all-embracing answer that I've ever heard. If people could follow your example, all the pettinesses of the crowded Park (and any such scene) would evaporate. I'll keep your thoughts in mind the next time my son's running stroller is sideswiped by a delivery-cyclist on the sidewalk, and, conversely, when I get my next screamed curses about running too close to someone's dog on the bridle path. Thank you.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Large Groups/Runner-cyclist signs

It is good that you are having this meeting, Richard, because whoever mentioned it in your original thread is likely right that the Club Council meetings address the problems/suggestions of other runners. Representatives from the various running clubs attend the meetings. But there is a large (and ever growing) number of triathletes whose interests would certainly coincide with yours, who experience both sides of the coin, as it were. I run with the New York Flyers and other clubs such as Central Park Track and Warren Street also train in the park. These groups are usually very courteous towards cyclists and other runners. But over the last couple of years the number of runners has grown enormously, and groups such as Niketown, the NYRR's own Bob Glover, and Team in Training are enormous and tend to run in large tight packs, spread out, making it very dangerous for single runners who, running in the opposite direction, have no choice sometimes but to move into the cycling lane or, worse, into the main roadway and the cars. Why isn't everyone running in the same direction, you might ask? Well, the common practice is to run counterclockwise, in the same direction as the cyclists, but the almost invisible signs in the park actually direct the runners to run in the opposite direction. Also, the practice that I attend in the park is a coached one (as are many others) and one does what the coach asks. The sign problem has come up before but has never been resolved. The main problem, again as someone pointed out on the original post, is the HUGE groups running tightly packed. (They've even started running on the bridle path!) It's simply dangerous, to everyone. So, even if we can't reduce the numbers of the runners, it might be possible to require the group leaders to break the groups up into much smaller groups. Most of the group workouts take place on Tuesday and/or Thursday evenings. And even winter has become crowded, but spring/summer is just crazy!

I hope the 80 year old professor is recuperating; I was also shocked at reading in a previous thread about a guy who pushed two people in the bike lane off their bikes in the middle of a road race in the park. The NYRR definitely would be interested in curbing this type of behavior. You're right about the police; I was pushed down on the bridle path about a year ago and went, with black eyes and a swollen lip, to file a report, but was so discouraged and disgusted by their attitude that after about 45 minutes when it became apparent they simply weren't listening I walked out. I e-mailed Doug Blonsky about the whole episode and he replied saying he was shocked and wanted to get together with me and would contact me soon (he had a plane to catch) but he didn't follow up.

Good luck with your meeting, Richard; I hope you give us a full report.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

Judith, (BTW, nice running, you have been smoking lately,) a reason that runners and groups run clockwise on the Park Drive is that some events run that way. Training just follows suit.

I will add that Bob Glover is adament about keeping runners on the inside lane in his classes. And we all know Bob can turn on the heat. He does not suffer fools lightly...

The sad thing is that this thread exists at all; some people think the Golden Rule does not apply to them.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
What's in that pipe she's smoking?

(Apologies to Arlo Guthrie.)

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)
woad wubber you dumb wabbit! (nm)
cycling trips