Central Park Training Etiquette and Safety
For your own safety and the safety of other park users, please follow these rules when running or cycling in Central Park. Central Park is the largest urban park in the nation and the training site for the city’s many athletes. Runners, cyclists and in-line skaters use the park on a regular basis. In addition, the many tourists that our city attracts stroll through Central Park. Dog owners use the park regularly – be careful of those long leashes! As you can see, without some rules there would be chaos in the park.
Always carry identification. Your business card is an excellent form of identification, if you are concerned about carrying your keys and home address. You should always have emergency contact information with you – the name and phone number of a friend or family member that lives in NYC. Always carry a small amount of cash to use in case of an emergency– a Metro Card, or a few dollars for a taxi and a quarter (or a pre-paid phone card) for a phone call.
As you train in Central Park, make a mental note of the Emergency Phone locations and the bathrooms.
Know where you are! In case of emergency call 911 or use the call boxes located around the park (there are 39 of them, see the map) for injuries or other emergencies, and give them your location. The police use the light posts to identify where you are in the park. Here is how it works. Each light post has a series of letters and number on the side in white reflective tape. To Identify your location read the light pole:
Line 1: East or West E
Line 2: Street # 91
Line 3: Lamp Post # 01
This means you are on East 91st Street at lamp post #1
Never venture above the 102nd Street Traverse alone. There is always a Police presence on the 102nd Street Traverse. The Central Park Precinct is located on the 86th Street Traverse. It can be reached from the Bridle Path that circles the Reservoir at the south end.
Above all, share the park with the other users, keep your eyes open and have fun!
Running in Central Park
- Always run in the Recreation Lane – the inner most lane (left lane when facing in the direction car traffic is going). Below 72nd Street you may also want to use the foot path on the inside, particularly when the park is open to vehicular traffic. This will leave the recreation lane for cyclist.
- When the park is open to vehicular traffic, stay in the inside half of the Recreation Lane, leave the outside half for bicycles.
- Whenever possible, run facing traffic, especially when the park is open to vehicular traffic.
- Run single file when sharing the Recreation Lane with bicycles.
- When running around the Reservoir, always run in a counter clockwise direction. When running on the bridle path, remember that horses have the right of way.
- We recommend training with a buddy at all times.
Biking in Central Park
- Always cycle in the direction vehicular traffic. Never cycle on the walk ways!
- When the park is open to vehicular traffic, stay in the outside half of the Recreation Lane, leave the inside half for runners.
- When the park is closed to vehicular traffic, only cycle in the center and outside lanes, not in the recreation lane – leave that for runners.
- Watch out for in-line skaters!
- Watch out for tourists, pedestrians and dogs – on and off leashes.
- Expect the unexpected – that car will swerve into the Recreation Lane, the pedestrian will look at you and step into your path, the dog will jump up to greet you!
- Slow down as you approach crowded intersections – East 90th Street, 72nd Street (East and West), lower loop especially at the 7th Avenue exit and the 6th Avenue entrance.
- Wear your helmet at ALL TIMES! In a triathlon you will be disqualified if you even straddle your bicycle without your helmet on and buckled!
- Wear gloves. This will protect help your hands if you fall.
- Wear eye protection at all times.
Group Rides –
- Ride single file when in the recreation lane.
- Ride no more than two abreast when the park is closed to vehicular traffic.
- Never get on a someone’s wheel – let them know you are going to be back there first.
- Always assume someone is on your wheel. Signal and warn them of obstacles and your actions – slowing, breaking.
- Never use aero bars when in traffic – bicycle, automobile or pedestrian – keep your fingers on your break levers.
- Never use aero bars while in a pace line.
- Hydration is important, but don’t grab that water bottle while in a pace line or while on your aero bars.
- Ride a straight and predictable line. Cutting tangents is dangerous – other park users expect you to be moving in a straight line, not from the inside lane to the outside curb.
- Take care of your fellow cyclists – don’t drift over and force them into traffic or the Recreation Lane.