Safe Trails: Cross with Care

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By Erick Wikum

In FLMSP’s 2017 survey, road intersections ranked as the number one safety concern of trail users. Fortunately, the Little Miami Scenic Trail, which runs nearly 60 miles from the extension south of Newtown north to Xenia Station, includes relatively few road crossings. Unfortunately, a number of the trail’s road crossings are heavily trafficked, especially on weekends. Chief among these busy crossings are the two in downtown Loveland, Bridge Street near Symmes, and Old 3C near Foster. Others of note include Glendale-Milford Road near Miamiville, Grandin Road near the Peters Cartridge factory, South Main Street in South Lebanon, Stubbs Mills Road between South Lebanon and Morrow, Rte. 350 near Fort Ancient and two crossings on Rte. 47 near Caesar Creek.

Any trail crossing, no matter how busy, deserves proper respect. Cyclists, who are especially at risk, should adopt a consistent, careful approach as follows:

  • When approaching a road crossing, glance behind you before signaling (left arm straight down with palm open) to indicate that you are slowing and then stopping. If others are present, also call out “stopping.”
  • If you ride up on others slowing or stopped, announce your presence to avoid confusion.
  • Come to a complete stop before the crossing. Never assume that the road will be clear and that you will not need to stop, no matter how much you are enjoying making time on the trail.
  • Check both ways, looking left, then right, then left again.
  • Assume that drivers do not see you and will not stop (which is especially important in the age of drivers distracted by cell phones).
  • If a driver stops for you, ensure that any driver going in the opposite direction also stops for you AND makes eye contact with you before proceeding. Be aware that if you pause to wait for a second driver to stop, then the first driver may decide to proceed.
  • Do not cross until you are entirely confident that you can do so safely. Cross quickly while continuing to observe the state of traffic.
  • Give drivers a wave of thanks to encourage their courteous behavior.
  • Be respectful of drivers. Their vehicles are bigger than yours and they will always win. What is more, discourteous behavior will not only jeopardize your safety, but also alienate drivers, which may lead to hostile behavior towards you or other cyclists in the future.

What is as rewarding as a ride, run or walk on the Little Miami Scenic Trail today? Being able to do so again tomorrow. Exercising proper care at trail crossings is one key to being able to enjoy the trail both now and in the future. Commit yourself today to being safe at trail crossings.

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