Multipurpose trails are true recreational gems, but it seems there are some things everybody should know in order to keep them safe. Safety tips that really don’t have to be learned the hard way. Such as:
Pass with care: Announce your presence before passing. Pass on your left as you would on the road and give yourself as much room as possible.
Avoid spreading out: Imagine a caravan of friends or family driving cross country. Would they spread out, driving side by side blocking traffic in both directions? Of course not. But this is commonplace on local trails. If you want to travel the trail side by side, be diligent about checking behind you to make sure you aren’t a road block by the time others reach you.
Teach your kids: Few things are as scary as coming upon a family with a kids pedaling on training wheels. You give a friendly “On your left,” but the little tykes have no clue what you’re talking about and continue swerving back and forth across the trail or maybe just stop and look at the silly man in Spandex. Make sure kids know the basics when you hit the trail and remind them regularly. And if you’re passing a family, slow down and give them as much room as possible.
Mind your pets: Pets are allowed on many multiuse trails, but stay alert. It’s not good enough to just keep yourself on the right side of the trail. Your dog needs to be there, too, so you don’t clothesline a cyclist with your leash.
Be smart with headphones: Headphones are allowed on most multiuse trails, but that doesn’t mean they are a good idea. Being aware of your surroundings is arguably the most important step in being a safe trail user. Use headphones that allow you to hear ambient noise or, at least, take one ear bud out so you can hear.