Runner hit by car….gets a ticket!

It always tugs at my heart when I hear about a runner getting hit by a car. Regardless of how extensive the injuries are, it’s something you never want to hear about.

This morning I went out for a run that only lasted for 2 and a half miles mostly because it’s ridiculously humid but also because it seemed like everyone in my neighborhood was pulling out of their respective driveways at the same time.  Most of them weren’t paying attention which loosely translated means, I almost got hit a few times, and had I not been paying attention, I would have.

crazy drivers

Elizabeth Jaeger was not so lucky.

Elizabeth Jaeger loves to run and that’s what she was doing on a street in Bernards Township, New Jersey when a car shot out of a driveway.  Before she knew it, she had run into the back of the car, fell and hit her head.  Fortunately she wasn’t hurt badly and didn’t require medical attention but she did call the police in order to report the accident in case she realized later that her injuries were worse than she first thought.

When the policeman arrived on the scene he gave Jaeger a piece of paper with the case number and explained that she shared half the responsibility for the accident by running in the street and that she should have been running on the sidewalk.


She explained that she would like to run on the sidewalk but it is often blocked by cars, un-shoveled snow, uneven pavement, etc. making it impassable and so she just runs in the street.

So the officer told her to ‘get a treadmill’.

Excuse meJaeger admits that she was confrontational but she said it was because he told her to go buy something she couldn’t afford.

So, about an hour later the officer showed up at Jaeger’s home and proceeded to hand her a ticket.  He also told her that he had found her 100% responsible for the accident.

Apparently hell yes….

because in New Jersey there is a little known law that states a pedestrian, (defined as anyone on foot), must use the sidewalks when they are provided and accessible, which Jaeger did not do.

And so Jaeger received a ticket for $54 which she paid.  She could have fought the ticket but chances are, she would have lost so she chose to pay it and avoid any possible additional fines.

After reading this story I was curious so I consulted my old friend Google and I found out that Florida has the same law!  The exact same law!  Florida Statute 316.130 (4) basically says the exact same thing.

Technically I could get a ticket every time I run on the street in Florida when there is an accessible sidewalk present.  Wow.  Kind of makes me love my little running trail out in the middle of nowhere even more.

Do you know if it’s illegal to run in the street in your state and do you run in the street?  (I do it all the time!)
Would you continue to run in the street if you got a ticket for it?  (I’m going to because obviously I’m a hellion and a rebel!)

10 thoughts on “Runner hit by car….gets a ticket!

  1. Damn. My cross country coach from college always said to stay on the road, as “black top” is always a softer surface than white sidewalks. And for the number of miles we did, it mattered. Shit. AND the sidewalks here in California suck as they have so many cracks and elevation issues from driveways. Gotta go look up the laws in my hood….thanks for the heads up.

    • My coach in high school told us the same thing and even led us around neighborhood roads and we NEVER ran on the sidewalk. What’s so confusing is that you would think pedestrians have the right of way but dang, I guess not!

  2. 1. Well I do know thanks to you 🙂
    2. Yes

    I agree with Elizabeth that many times sidewalks are blocked. Also, drivers don’t look much when in their driveways (slightly more once they’re in the street). If I got a ticket, I’d request everyone blocking the sidewalks got one (I think that is illegal).

    • It IS illegal and I know because I got into a little tiff with this batshit crazy lady around the corner who insist on parking on the sidewalk ON PURPOSE to block the walkers and their dogs. Seriously there’s all kinds of crazy around here. 🙂

    • Seriously? I would just die if an officer ‘pulled me over’. Well, actually, I would probably just be speechless at the sheer idiocracy. Were you freaked out? What did he say?

  3. Really interesting post! If anything, I think it’s good that situations like this get people to be more aware of the laws in their state. While I do think you should follow the law, I know in my neighborhood tons of people break the law by parking across the sidewalks which forces me into the street often. Sometimes you just can’t win.

  4. This was news to me (Michigan):
    257.655 Pedestrians on highways; violation as civil infraction.
    (1) Where sidewalks are provided, a pedestrian shall not walk upon the main traveled portion of the highway. Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians shall, when practicable, walk on the left side of the highway facing traffic which passes nearest.
    (2) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.

    I would prefer to run in the road, but the streets are always filled with parked cars on both sides. You are not allowed to park overnight, but when I have attempted it in the early morning hours I find there are far too many drunks out there so I stick to sidewalks. What amazes me is how many people forget that since you are running, rather than walking, you are STILL A PEDESTRIAN on the sidewalks. I have had people honk at me as if I am supposed to stop for THEM (although I err on the side of safety and wait for them most times). grrrrrr …and this is why I love trails. All I have to worry about are tree roots, critters, and my two left feet! 🙂

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