The other day I was at an event at White Rock Lake when someone handed me a pamphlet entitled Share the Trail, a user-guide for multi-use trails. It bullet-points several valid reminders about how to behave on the trails around our neighborhoods, especially the heavy trafficked White Rock trails. Some highlights:
Don’t block the trail: should be obvious, but the running/walking groups just don’t get it. I’m a runner. I run with groups, and I constantly implore my peers to stay on the right side of the trail, no more than two wide. But they get chatty, and they can’t keep talking unless they are right alongside their buddies. As hard as they try, bless them, they inevitably end up blocking two thirds of the trail, which ain’t cool. I know. I’ll tell you what my high school cross country coach once told me: “Run harder; talk less!”
Oh, and if you are walking a dog, please refrain from turning the leash into a trip wire by allowing Fluffy to wander to the opposite side of the trail.
Give an audible signal when passing: Cyclists, “On your left”, a beep of a horn or a ring of a bell does nicely. Many pedestrians won’t hear you because they will have headphones blasting into their ears, but at least you did your part.
Stay to the right (sometimes): when you are on a trail for non-motorized use only, stay on the right. But when you are looping the lake much of the trail is shared with motorized vehicles. On a road shared with cars, those on foot should stay to the left, running into traffic. That way, you see the cars headed for you.
Night lights: Bikes need to have a light when riding in the dark, duh, but, what the pamphlet fails to mention, runners and walkers should also wear a light at night, in order to avoid being run down or colliding with one another. It’s dark out there!
Helmets are required: If you’re on a bike, you must have a helmet on. It’s the law.
If you’ve outgrown the trail, seek an alternate route: If you are speedier on a bike than is safe on the crowded White Rock trails, go somewhere else. There’s nothing more dangerous than a group of runners blocking two thirds of the trail meeting up with a group of cyclists who seem to be attempting a speed record for the 9.2-mile lake loop.
Here’s the full trail-etiquette list.