September 29 2011

Sharing Bicycle Trails and Pedestrian Paths: Etiquette Rules

As a pedestrian on a bicycling/walking path, you’ve probably grumbled as a bicyclist passed from behind without warning. Or maybe you’ve feared for your children’s safety as you’ve pulled them to the side of the path as bicyclists whizzed past without regard to their speed.

On the other hand, as a bicyclist, chances are you get frustrated by people who walk on both sides of the divided path. Or you have had to contend with a leash strung across your side of the path when dog walkers let their animal jet to the opposite side of the trail.

Most of the time, these issues can be addressed by simply remembering that other people, besides yourself, have the right to use the path. Other tools utilized may include education or signage along the trail.

Some rules of thumb when utilizing bicycling/walking trails:

  • Always stay to the right side of the trail;
  • Avoid congregating on the path – move off to the side;
  • Give ample warning when passing – a simple “to your left” should suffice;
  • Slow down when approaching pedestrians, especially children;
  • Be courteous and friendly.

In addition, landscape architects, urban designers, and urban planners can become involved in the design process and community outreach in ways that can minimize issues along the trails.

Environmental design solutions include:

  • Designing a wide path with a clearly marked center line;
  • Posting signs reminding people to stay to the right and be aware of other users;
  • Etiquette rules on the city website showing trail maps;
  • Organizing community events based on the trails;
  • Offering educational programs through the schools.

Providing needed information, education, and community involvement can be done through social media by utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. A broader portion of the community could be reached by approaching environmental non-profits for help and asking local broadcasting companies to run community service advertisements.

What issues regarding bicycling/walking trails do you see in your area? What are some other ideas you can think of to promote safe and enjoyable trails for pedestrians and bicyclists?

Shelley Rekte

Shelley Rekte is a native of Lincoln, Nebraska, a graduate of the University of Nebraska, and works within the environmental design sector. As a mother, she has seen many changes in the world around her, as well as the differences between her son’s life experiences and her own. Shelley understands the importance of the environment and strives to broaden her perspective, with the aspiration of expanding the perspectives of others for developing equitable communities. Shelley Rekte blogged for The Grid until October 2011.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 6:10 pm and is filed under Environmental Design, Environmental Non-Profit, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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