Surviving Chicago’s Lakefront Path

| August 20, 2009 | 0 Comments


Each summer millions flock to Chicago’s iconic lakefront path. With picturesque views of the skyline and glistening Lake Michigan, the 18 mile path is one of the best in the nation and is a Chicago novelty.  But with millions of cyclists, runners, walkers, rollerbladers and beach-goers, navigating the path can be treacherous. From Hollywood to 75th Street, all users of the path must be cautious and courteous when exercising on the path.

This fall as you take your family out to exercise on the Lakefront, make sure you follow these important safety instructions.

Runners: It’s marathon season and odds are the Chicago Area Runner’s Association, Chicago Endurance Sports and others are running 15 miles or more each weekend as we approach the big race. But just because the majority of the path is taken up by your fellow half-or-full marathoners, doesn’t mean they get to run rampant. Runners should stay to the far right side of the path and run on the shoulder when and where possible. When running with friends or family, make sure to run no more than two-by-two. Finally, while the jams flowing from your iPod may motivate you, be sure you’re able to hear traffic that maybe be coming behind you.

Cyclists: Cyclists are the fastest people on the path and the most dangerous; often times averaging 15 to 20 mph. While there is technically room for two cyclists abreast, in peak times or places, (which is almost always), cyclists should ride in singles. It’s imperative that cyclists are always on the lookout for someone to jump out, turn around or chase a ball. By being vocal and saying things like “on your left” or “coming through” cyclists can alert other path users of their presence. Cyclists should never listen to music while riding on the lakefront.

Walkers: If cyclists are the fastest exercisers, walkers are the slowest. Walking is a great way to get a good workout and the Lakefront is a perfect place for it. Similar to runners, walkers should always stay to the right and never walk more than two across. Also, be sure to yield to runners, cyclists and others passing.

Rollerbladers: No longer a 90’s activity, rollerblading is fun for the whole family if you take the proper safety precautions. A rollerblader’s stride will inevitably take up the entire lane so it’s especially important that they pay attention to walkers and runners ahead of them. Be sure to alert those ahead by saying “on your left” or “coming up behind” when passing. Take extra precaution when near a cyclist and move the right side of the lane and slow down.

Beach-goers: In the busiest parts of the path near the beaches and volleyball courts, beach-goers use the path to get to their destination. These can often be the most dangerous path users since they’re not used to obeying the path rules or watching for others. If you’re walking to the beach or using the path to pass through, always stay to the far right and never walk more than two across. Be especially careful when crossing the path and yield to the exercisers.

Remember that the Lakefront path is a scenic and fun way to exercise in the summer, with respect and awareness for all runners, cyclists, walkers, rollerbladers and beachgoers everyone can enjoy one of Chicago’s finest assets.

Need some extra motivation? Check out this path map:

Photo Credit: via flickr by kendoman26

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Category: Featured, Health & Fitness

About the Author ()

Katie Hasse is the fitness writer for Chicagonista and a fitness fanatic. In addition to working in fitness PR, Katie enjoys cycling, running marathons, triathlons, skiing and just being active. When not working out, Katie can be found hanging out with friends, traveling or experimenting in the kitchen! Follow Katie on Twitter at or check out her blog at

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