A Plea: What Happened to Trail Etiquette?

I recently switched from day shifts to night shifts, which means my commuting routine feels a heck of a lot different.  No longer do I hit the trails at 0400 when its me and the lone runner who I cross paths with.  I won’t lie, I miss seeing this runner, he was a little late starting his run the other day and I started to worry about him!  We see intersect at nearly the same point on the trail every day.  Anyway, I digress.

Nigh commuting can be really nice, especially when the weather is beautiful outside – the sun is out, there is a nice breeze, the river shines…the downside?  The trail is crowded.  During the week its not too terrible, but weekends or holidays I almost prefer to drive or take the metro because so many of the trail users are clueless and stress me out.  As a runner, I use the trails and don’t want to get hit by over-zealous bikers.  Having both perspectives, I am a huge believer in trail etiquette and it drives me bonkers when people don’t.

Whether you are a biker, runner, walker, or whatever – trail etiquette applies to you.  If you wouldn’t act this way in a car, don’t do it on the trail.

  1. Stay in your Lane – the rules of the road apply to the trail.  Don’t run or bike in the middle of the trail.
  2. Signaling – Speak and Listen.  If I tell you I’m passing you on the left please do NOT move to the left lane, seriously. You would be surprised how hard this is.  If you are going to pass me, tell me – I’d rather you yell than ring a bell.
  3. Passing – If its not safe to pass, don’t pass – yes its annoying when you have speed going, but I don’t want to crash.  Similarly, if you are running/biking with multiple people go single-file when you see crowds or someone says they are passing.
  4. Be Aware – Smartphone users, please just have some situational awareness.  Don’t wander across the trails with your eyes glued to your phone.
  5. Don’t Stop in the Trail – something wrong with your bike? waiting for your trail mate? fixing your shoe? Great, just move off the main trail.
  6. Respect – if we all respect each other and show some common courtesy, no one will be stressed.  If you want the trail to your self, then run or bike at 5am.

Please people.  LISTEN and be RESPECTFUL.  I cannot stress enough the listening part.  “Passing on Your Left” should not indicate your need to move to your left.  I don’t know why this is so hard.  Also, what is with the dirty looks when I tell you I’m passing?  Yes, I yell, I’m on a bike, its windy, I want you to have time to stay to the right.  Don’t be annoyed at me.  If you want silence and solitude, do not take a walk around Gravely Point during peak hours.  Sigh…

Ok. I’m off my soap box…for now.

Caribou Out.