Friday, March 14, 2008

TRAIL AND BIKE PATH ETIQUETTE
The warmer weather is nice. Lots of people who spent winter indoors are now out walking, running and biking.

Those who use in-town bike paths and hiking trails owe some common courtesy to other users. So here is a list to think about:

Keep your voices down; particularly if it is a “nature” trail.

At the very least, don’t litter with your food wrappings, etc. And, even better, carry a plastic bag and a napkin to pick up other litter you find along the way. Not only are you getting fresh air and exercise, you are doing a little something for your community.

Bike paths and walking trails are shared. And the traffic goes in both directions. Four people don’t need to walk side-by-side in order to share conversation and the exercise. Keep to the right. (You think it’s pretty silly that I deem it necessary to say that? Just go out on a walk and watch.)

Bicyclists need to remember that this is a trail, not a raceway. If you are out for a “burn,” there are lots of appropriate places for that.

Bicyclists and joggers need to give a verbal heads up when they are overtaking walkers. And don’t wait until you are six feet behind to yell, “Watch it!” Better that you speak up from about twenty feet back and say, “bike overtaking on your left” or “jogger coming up on your left.”

Pets along too? Keep them on a leash and keep it short. This is particularly important in areas with bicyclists and other wild animals. A local Missoula man recently witnessed a near-collision between a bicyclist and a leashed dog. The dog leash was too long and the owner wasn’t paying attention and perhaps the bicyclist wasn’t being careful enough, but the leash became entangled in the bicycle.

Most dog owners doo pick up after their dogs. If you don’t: doo. Carry the plastic bags and dispose of properly. (Why do some dog owners put the doo in a bag and then leave that beside the trail? Oh, they will pick it up on the return leg? Uh huh. I must just be in the wrong place all the time.)

Finally, keep your voices down. Yes, this one is repeated for a reason.


Have a great day.


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Doug (Gruggers) in Missoula

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