The approaching spring weather suggests that trips to the nearest multi-use path are in the near future. With that in mind, it’s time to remind ourselves that multi-use means just that – people will be there with a multiplicity of modes of transport ranging from babies in carriages to mobility devices to road warriors on carbon-fiber bikes. It is a good time to review some of the appropriate protocols or rules for using a multi-use path.
The very first one and probably the most important to both walkers/joggers and cyclists is to keep to the right. Sometimes walkers are confused since they were raised to walk on the left side facing traffic. However, that is on a road or street with no sidewalks. A multi-use path is not a roadway so walk on the right and ride on the right.
Here are some other tips:
- It’s great to walk in twos or threes for the social benefit, but keep in mind the need to move to the right into single file to allow faster moving traffic – generally bicycles, skaters and joggers – to pass safely by.
- As needed, just move to the right trail edge. Don’t scatter in different directions, and divide to different sides of the path or stand still in the middle like a bunny in the headlights!
- Stay alert to what is behind you.
- Small children and dogs on leashes need to be kept under control for their safety and for the safety of others on the trail. This is especially true when a dog is on a retractable lead as it allows the animal to range across the trail forming a barrier.
The main rule is to be aware that you are traveling faster than other trail users. You are obligated to extend courtesy to them as you pass by.
- Always signal your presence by ringing your bell, calling out, or clearly indicating you’re passing on the left – “on your left!”
- Avoid startling those being overtaken.
- Always yield to pedestrians and mobility devices – no exceptions.
- If traveling two or more abreast, be prepared to single up when overtaking other path users, approaching other users, or when being overtaken by faster riders.
- Experienced riders who are out on training rides must remember that the multi-use path is not a racetrack and that you put yourself and others at risk by riding at speeds that are far in excess of all other users. Nobody wants to get hit by the combined weight of cyclist and bicycle moving at any speed – especially if the rider is using a peddle assist bike with the added weight of a battery, motor, heavier frame, etc.
- If you need high speed training rides, choose the appropriate time and place.
Both Walkers and Riders –
- If stopping, get off the trail to allow others to pass by.
- At dusk and in the dark, have a light front and rear.
- Bring out any trash you bring to the trail (plus a little more if you can). Take it with you or deposit in appropriate container when you leave.
- Those who bring dogs need to clean up and discard or carry out any “by-product.”
- If you reach the trailhead by a motor vehicle, park where indicated and ensure that your vehicle is not blocking another.
- If you come across someone having difficulty, check to see if you can offer needed assistance.
- Stay off private property. Be courteous to local residents and respect their property.