Petition launched to regulate size of running clubs on Toronto sidewalks

A woman has launched a petition after she says she was nearly run over by groups of joggers on Toronto sidewalks twice in the past year.

“When a group of 50 people are running at you down the sidewalk, there’s nowhere to go,” said Zulf, the Toronto resident who launched the petition on Dec. 21, he told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

Zulf, who asked that his last name be omitted, said the first encounter took place over the summer while he was walking with his sister.

“In a matter of seconds, a running club turns the corner and there are more than 50 people. “Half of them are on the sidewalk, half in the street, and we literally have nowhere to go.”

It was the second incident, months later, that she says prompted her to launch the petition. During that meet, which took place in late December, she said she passed a smaller group of five or six runners, one of whom hit her “hard on the shoulder.”

“To the point where the guy who hit me almost fell over,” he said. “It was ridiculous.”

Since sharing the petition, along with a TikTok on the topic that has since racked up nearly three million views, Zulf said she’s received “many” messages from other Torontonians with similar stories.

A person who signed the petition. wrote that they had encountered the same problem “many times,” adding that groups “should be limited to less than 20 people and have space requirements.”

Others have been less supportive, Zulf said.

“I get it, it’s not scenic and it’s not ideal, but if you choose to do a group training activity, they are usually held in parks or areas that don’t bother anyone, so I don’t see why running would be any different. ,” she said.

When Jamie Corrales, Toronto running coach When he came across Zulf’s TikTok, he left a comment apologizing on behalf of the community.

“We are all guilty of this,” he wrote. “We’re trying to work on it.”

When contacted for further comment Thursday, Corrales told CTV News Toronto that Toronto’s running community is “exceptionally respectful, inclusive and comforting.”

Corrales himself runs a club with approximately 40 to 50 runners, all of whom he said do their best to safely share the sidewalk and practice considerate etiquette.

“For example, staying on one side of the sidewalk, using hand signals or verbal signals to pedestrians or other runners, and stopping when we encounter a yellow or red light,” he said. “We also let everyone know our route in advance to keep things organized and ensure no one is left behind.”

Corrales said he hopes a few bad actors don’t influence the city’s opinion of the sport.

“Sure, you might run into some people who aren’t up to speed on running etiquette, but that’s not representative of the entire running community,” he said.

At the time of publication, the petition had garnered just over 400 signatures.

Russell Baker, manager of media relations and issues management for the City of Toronto, said in a statement to CTV News Toronto that the city “encourages running groups with large memberships to be thoughtful and mindful of those with whom they share public spaces during their activity”.

Permits are not required or issued for “impromptu” events, he said.

When an event requires a street closure, Baker said the city works with organizers to help ensure a safe environment for everyone.

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