Multipurpose trails are true recreational gems, but it seems there are some things everybody should know in order to keep them safe. Safety tips that really don’t have to be learned the hard way. Such as:
PASS WITH CARE: Follow Captain America’s lead and announce your presence before passing. Pass on your left as you would on the road and give yourself as much room as possible.
AVOID SPREADING OUT: Imagine a caravan of friends or family driving cross country. Would they spread out, driving side by side, blocking traffic in both directions? Of course not. But this is commonplace on local trails. If you want to travel the trail side by side, be diligent about checking behind you to make sure you aren’t a road block by the time others reach you.
RESPECT THE YELLOW LINE: When the trail bends, solid yellow center lines appear on the trail. This is not coincidental. Just like the road, these lines mean “Don’t pass.” Stay right to avoid finding a collision around the corner.
CONSIDER THE ROAD: If you’re an experienced cyclist who likes to Spandex-up and rip down the trail at 20 mph, you’ve probably spent enough time on the road to handle skipping the busy sections of trails. Switching to a back road not only will get you through towns faster, but it will keep you from having to dodge slower trail users along the way. Some motorists won’t be happy to see you off the trail, but don’t worry about it. You have as much right to the road as they do.
TEACH YOUR KIDS: Few things are as scary as coming upon a family with a kid pedaling on training wheels. You give a friendly “On your left,” but the little tykes have no clue what you’re talking about and continue swerving back and forth across the trail or maybe just stop and look at the silly man in Spandex. Make sure kids know the basics when you hit the trail and remind them regularly. And if you’re passing a family, slow down and give them as much room as possible.
MIND YOUR PETS: Pets are allowed on most multiuse trails, but stay alert. It’s not good enough to just keep yourself on the right side of the trail. Your dog needs to be there, too, so you don’t clothesline a cyclist with your leash.
BE SMART WITH HEADPHONES: Headphones are allowed on most multiuse trails, but that doesn’t mean they are a good idea. Being aware of your surrounding is arguably the most important step in being a safe trail user. Use headphones that allow you to hear ambient noise or, at least, take one ear bud out so you can hear.
Or, better yet, do like Captain America and leave the headphones at home.
Distributed by MCT Information Services.