As a walker or jogger, have you ever been frightened or startled by a bicyclist on the trail? As a bicyclist, have you ever worried about what that trail user up ahead is going to do or if there will be space on the trail for you to get by? Everyone can better enjoy our trails if we all know what is expected of ourselves and others on the trail. Here are some basic “rules of the trail,” which if followed, can increase the safety and pleasure of all trail users.
Walkers, joggers and riders
All trail users should use the right side of the trail to allow oncoming users and those coming up from behind to pass on the left, just like the rule of the road for automobiles. Be predictable and always look behind you before changing positions on the trail.
Bicycle riders should ride in single file on the right side of the trail.
Passing from behind
Bicycle riders should pass walkers, joggers and slower riders on the left when the trail is clear of oncoming trail users. Passing bicycle riders should announce their presence and intent to pass with “passing on your left” or similar phrase. Watch for the reaction of those in front. Always pass with ample separation when safe to do so. Riders should control their speed and use extreme caution when pedestrians are present.
Stopping along the trail
If you stop along the trail to chat or enjoy the view, please move to the side and off the trail surface. Look both ways before stepping back into the flow of traffic or moving to the other side. Do not park your bicycle or leave any other equipment lying on the trail surface.
Try to avoid stopping on a bridge. But if necessary, stay to one side so that the bridge is clear for passage by bicycles and other trail users. Look both ways before stepping back into the flow of traffic or moving to the other side. Never park or lay your bicycle on a bridge.
All trail users regardless of age should know and follow the rules of courtesy and safety. Adults are responsible for ensuring that children accompanying them know and follow trail etiquette.
Wearing a helmet is recommended for all bicycle riders to prevent or reduce the severity of head injury in the event of an accident.
The use of headphones on a trail can be dangerous if you don’t maintain awareness of your surroundings. When you can’t hear the verbal cues of someone approaching, be sure to maintain visual awareness all around you. Check your surroundings before crossing lanes on a trail.
Traffic Signs and Signals
Obey all signs and signals. Be especially cautious when trails cross streets. Come to a full stop when encountering a stop sign on a trail.
City Ordinance Article 3, Sec. 15-61 requires dogs to be on a maximum 6-foot leash and under the control of their owner at all times. The owner should maintain a “short leash length” on trails and keep the dog to the right to avoid the dog crossing into the path of others. Allowing a dog to walk across trail lanes is a danger to anyone approaching from behind or ahead, as well as to the dog. If unsure of your dog’s behavior when approaching others, kindly step off the trail to maintain distance between yourself and the approaching trail user.
Deposits of dog waste anywhere is very unpleasant. City ordinance Article 3, Sec. 15-61 requires everyone to immediately remove their dog’s waste.