Trail Rules: Covidiots Beware
My boss used "Covidiot" recently and I'm officially adopting it to describe stupid behavior in folks who do not either seem to care or know how to behave better.
I'm on the trail every day these days. It's gotten to the point where I go out only at down periods because when the trail is busy, people are acting outright dangerous on the trail. Trail users are sometimes poorly-mannered but this is beyond since our governor called for "shelter in place".
Things I've seen recently are congregations of people obviously from different households - usually with loads of dogs - just hanging out in the middle of the trail or families with tons of kids on bikes who are taking up the entire trail and paying attention to nothing. It's annoying because it leads to the potential for dangerous log jams. It's also bad for groups to congregate because it's actually in violation of our current "shelter in place" order.
Here are some tips for cyclists that are always in good taste:
1. Only ride 2-to-3 abreast when there is no oncoming traffic. It's rude not to yield to
2. If someone needs to pass, get into single file. Do not make me have to breeze past you and risk running into traffic ahead.
3. If you are passing, give fair warning. This is a PET PEEVE of mine. Since I am currently riding between 14 and 17 mph on the regular right now, I rarely get passed. However, on my road bike out on good days, I am usually passed by overzealous cyclists (usually dudes who need to "prove" they can pass me going as fast as possible) with NO warning. We have a machismo in our road cycling culture here in town that can be toxic and they seem to think the rules don't apply - especially on the trail. This scares people and can lead to accidents. I use my bell and if not acknowledged, inform people that I will be coming up on their left to pass. It takes two seconds and is so kind to do. It is actually a requirement on the trails here.
4. In congestion, slow down. This is common sense. I could go 20 mph for long stretches of the trail if not for pedestrians who, rightly so, slow me down. I temper my speed because it's just unsafe otherwise.
5. If you don't want to deal with pedestrians, don't ride on trails. FULL STOP. We have to share and yield to them.
6. Riding with kids? Make sure they know the rules above. Be a good example for them, too. Ensure they know how to respond when someone passes and how to yield to pedestrians. No one should be using the trail until they can do those two things.
Here are some tips for pedestrians:
1. Stick to your side of the trail. This makes passing for runners and cyclists predictable and keeps you safe.
2. Do not take up the whole trail. This should be common sense but if you see traffic ahead or people need to pass, you do have a responsibility to give way. Don't be a covidiot.
3. Try to acknowledge calls to pass in some way. A good way to do so is to raise a hand.
4. If you have children, know where they are. Keep them out of the way of oncoming traffic and passing traffic whenever possible. This is so important for safety. I know it's difficult being the parent of a toddler but it's for their safety.
5. Leave your dogs at home if you can't follow the rules or your dog can't handle it. Dogs who can't tolerate other dogs, cyclists, runners, or kids just should not be out on the trail, period. If you cannot control your animal, don't bring them. Don't take them out on long leashes. These are dangerous and prohibited. Please don't be a Covidiot with a flexi leash ignoring everyone. On a flexi leash, you have 0 control. Don't talk on the phone or block the trail, ignoring everything. Don't let your dog say "hi" to other dogs without warning. I've seen more dogs getting into it and experience more dogs trying to bite me than probably ever before on the trails. I have one dog who is not comfortable with all that goes on on a trail and she stays home. I don't want to be a Covidiot causing problems.
6. Please stop socializing with people not in your household. Shelter-in-place only works if you don't hang out with a bunch of people not living with you. Groups of more than 10 are not permitted. Don't be a Covidiot! Keep us all safe!
7. Please don't have conversations on the trail. Move to the side. Keep the flow of traffic going. The trail is great for families but if you're going to chat, move it to the side. I get that families sometimes need to chat and calm kiddos down but the safest place to do that is on the side of the trail, not the middle.