by Erick Wikum
A friend of mine who is an excellent cross-country skier once came upon clearly novice skiers as he skied along a trail. As he approached, the skiers jumped off the trail to get out of his way. He stopped. “There’s no reason why you have to get off of the trail for me,” he told them. “You have the same right to use the trail as I do.”
And so it should be with the Little Miami Scenic Trail. Trail Mail recently received an email from a trail user who stopped to help a mother and young daughter who had both fallen while biking. Fortunately, neither was hurt, but the mother shared a troubling story. “A short time ago two riders approached us while riding side by side and taking up much of the trail. The riders were going very fast and left us little room in our own lane. My daughter wrecked and is very scared now. This is her first ride on a bike trail." The email author surmised that that ride would be the daughter’s last for quite some time.
Little Miami Scenic Trail users are a diverse bunch. I myself am the type who dons lycra or running clothes and primarily uses the trail for training. Most of my workouts are long, slow affairs, but a few involve intervals and recovery. Whether slow or faster (the trail’s posted speed limit is 20 mph), I have adopted the following rule for myself to respect the rights of fellow trail users: At all times be courteous and safe.
Passing children, families, horseback riders, etc. at high speed is neither courteous nor safe. My workouts take a back seat to the enjoyment and well-being of others. I slow to a crawl (in the language of boating, I go “slow, no wake”) when passing these groups and clearly announce my presence well in advance with “On your left.” I adopt a similarly slow speed when navigating congested portions of the trail, especially near Loveland on weekends and near trailheads.
My rule is similar to rules and etiquette described on the FLMSP web site at https://littlemiamistatepark.org/park-and-trail/rules-etiquette as well as special rules Ohio DNR has established for the Little Miami State Park, which are listed at http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/littlemiami#rules.
By all means, get out and enjoy the Little Miami Scenic Trail. But when you do, remember that, unlike in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “all trail users are equal, and none are more equal than others.”