Spring is coming (no matter what Game of Thrones has you saying), and that means busy, high-traffic trails. White Rock and Katy Trail probably are among Dallas’ most congested. We asked members of local running and cycling clubs that frequent these busy trails about the things that bother them most. Below find what, according to our samplings, are the most irritating types of trail users …

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The unsafe pet walker:

It is super that you are taking your pooch out for playtime, but on a crowded trail, FIDO should be on a leash and a short one, users suggest.

… the person who lets his yap dog walk on a full extension of the leash, stretched across the entire trail, especially when this happens at dawn and I can’t see the dog and I trip on the leash and it’s my fault. —Luke Bateman

I don’t see this very often, but the people who let their dog off leash, then when I’m scrambling not to trip over/kick the dog, they tell me “oh Sparky won’t bite!” —Julie Lanaux

This area of Lawther is a road, but frequently used as trail due to the condition of the existing trail: Google maps

This area of Lawther is a road, but frequently used as trail due to the condition of the existing trail: Google maps

The runner/walker on the wrong side (and this is tricky at White Rock):

It is quite easy, mostly. On a trail, stay to the right. However there is a stretch of White Rock Lake Trail that actually morphs into road. (The real trail exists parallel to the road, but most people either don’t know it is there or refuse to use it. If you are walking/running on a street/road with cars, you should be to the left, facing traffic. It is even more confusing directly in front of the White Rock Bath House, which is road, but usually closed off to traffic. Here, it is probably best to assess the situation and attempt to go with the flow, most seasoned users agree.

The northeast side of white rock is jacked. People run on the wrong side all the time of the road portions. I just put my head down and go straight. I’m a big guy they figure it out. Lol. —Bryce Brooks

… between the Mockingbird Pedestrian Bridge and the north side of Winfrey Point—there is a lot of confusion about what is a road with cars or what is just a running trail. Certain parts of that strip have gates, so if they gates are closed does that mean it’s a “running trail” or do you still treat it as a “car road”? I usually just treat the whole strip as a “car road” but I see people running all over the place and it creates a lot of confusion. —Jonathan Brower

Just people who don’t know the rules in general. Runners face traffic when there are cars and are on the right when they don’t. —Heather Williams



The road hogs:

Sometimes it appears to be out of a sense of entitlement, and sometimes it is pure obliviousness, but those who alone or as part of a group take up too much of a narrow trail, or who seem to be of the assumption that they are alone in the world, are among the top annoyances.

I get really annoyed with people who are several deep — especially if they are casually walking and chatting. Not in “the zone” — just oblivious! —Laura Stead

… people who just stand on the path — usually more on Katy than elsewhere. Once, near the Ice House, a group of people was standing, taking up the entire path just yammering away. I politely (really, it was) asked them if they’d mind moving off the trail to the grass. They were oblivious and said “oh, sure, sorry!” but c’mon folks! Do you see all these people? Get out of the way! —Heather Williams

…  big groups of runners/walkers taking both sides of the trail pretending not to see us jumping off the trail to avoid crashing with them. —Blanca Gonzales

… People walking, running, or on bikes who don’t look over their shoulder to see what’s behind them before passing another walker, runner, or bicyclist. If they’re wearing headphones when they do it, double demerits. —Darryl Dickson-Carr 

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

The speedsters:

Many, aside from the offenders, agree that White Rock Trail or Katy Trail, especially during peak hours, are not the proper place for speed training, on bike or even on foot.

I’d say speed training during high-density hours. It alarms me when I see cyclists or runners zooming around people pushing strollers or small children out for a walk. I think if you want to go as fast as you can you should go during “off peak” hours for yourself and for others. —Francesca Bissman

… the occasional “Weekend Warrior” cyclist who seems to think it is his own personal Olympic training center. —Kevin Roberts

… cyclists who get pissed at people on Katy Trail while flying down the trail way too fast. Not a place for speed work! —Allyson Gump

Teach your children well: Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Unsupervised children:

One Saturday morning, when the trail was teeming with running groups, strolling moms and cyclists, I passed a family whose toddler was sitting on the trail, making chalk art. Cute, but a terrible idea.

… children on bikes, etc. It has become everyone’s responsibility to watch because parents are oblivious. —Dawn Hosking

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio (not rude or tacky, necessarily, but a great photo, no?)

Other generally rude or tacky trail users:

Here are some of the other behaviors you might want to avoid while on the crowded trail.

…  the guy on the bike that doesn’t say ” on your left” but comes so close you sort-a brush elbows. Hmm… Passive aggressive. —Susan Joiner

Makes me crazy when cyclists or even drivers yell at me or my group for being on the *correct* side of the road going against traffic! —Heather Galindo

Bikes who don’t announce themselves or worse yet, buzz you or yell at you for doing the right thing. Or uneducated runners who yell at other runners! It’s not hard to find the rules but most people don’t care. —Heather Williams

On Katy trail especially, Girls who dress up way to much to go “workout” and chitchat with their girlfriends while zigzagging on the trail. Walk on the edge of the trail ladies. People do like to sweat! —Allyson Gump

… on White Rock, pet peeve is the runners that yell at bikers, and the bikers that yell at runners, it is a multi purpose trail in the nations largest urban park. —Richard Caspers

Cyclists that use the flashing white light in front, steady wouldn’t be as blinding. —Omar Venzor

People who blow snot rockets without a courtesy look behind them. —Paul Agruso

… the litter bugs! There’s just no excuse for that one. Even a novice should know better than to litter at White Rock Lake or Katy Trail. —Julie Lanaux

Do be tolerant, kind and aware:

We can’t shove rules or etiquette down people’s throats, and odds are that if you have read this far, you probably aren’t the one who needs to be reading. Here are good suggestions for how to have a safe experience on the trails.

I think seasoned runners and cyclists overestimate ‘regular’ people’s knowledge of safe and appropriate trail use. Instead of cursing and yelling at them it might help to provide useful information. I doubt many people are doing unsafe things on purpose or to annoy you. They honestly don’t know what they are doing wrong, or what You perceive as wrong. —Lisa McGuyer

One must enter the trails knowing there will be obstacles—a few mindless people, a few people ignorant of the rules, and many people who are just trying to get exercise and have fun and do not intend to get in the way. Be aware of your surroundings, and be calm and tolerant of others. —Tom Weinberg

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