Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Dear runner, please turn down the volume

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 20, 2013

Dear runner wearing head phones,

I was pedaling along the Shoal Creek hike and bike trail the other day, on my way home from work. You were running right in front of me, smack in the middle of the trail.

I rang the little bell on my handlebars once, to alert you I was coming, then again. I hollered once, then again, much louder. I didn’t want to startle you.

But you didn’t turn. You didn’t hear me. You were rocking out, jamming to music that blocked out just about every other sound around you. It was cranked so loud I heard it as I biked past.

I get that music makes the run easier. That it helps you slip into some other-worldly groove where the miles flow past like sweat down the back of your neck.

But I worry about you. And me, of course. What if you didn’t know I was coming, and suddenly shifted position or turned around, directly into my path?

I had to maneuver into the grass to get around you.

No big deal, but there’s a better way.

Turn down the volume, or wear an ear bud in just one ear. That way you can hear your music, but tune into your surroundings, too. And if I approach from the rear, out of sight, I can ring out a warning before passing.

Thanks for listening,