Safe Trails: Cool Your Heels

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by Erick Wikum

With warm weather and people looking for a healthy outlet amid the pandemic, the Little Miami Scenic Trail is experiencing heavy usage these days. With the need for social distancing, carefully choosing where and when you use the trail is highly recommended. So too is exercising care when meeting or passing other trail users.

Consider the rules and etiquette that cars traveling a two-lane road must follow to ensure safe passing. A car that would pass another must do so in a passing zone (with clear visibility) and must ensure that the opposite lane is clear, both ahead and behind. What should a driver do if these conditions are not met? The driver should cool his or her heels and wait until it is safe to pass.

Similar rules and etiquette apply to you as a user of the Little Miami Scenic Trail. While the trail might possibly accommodate more than two people abreast, the most courteous and safe configuration involves single file traffic in each direction. Is it okay for you to bike, walk or run side-by-side with a friend? It is, but when doing so, stay entirely on your side of the trail, be attentive, and be prepared to go single file in heavily trafficked areas. Pass others only when the path is fully clear, checking both behind and ahead. Call out “on your left” to alert others of your presence. Provide a wide berth while passing; move to the left early, stay far left when passing and return to the right only when well past the other users. And if there is any question as to whether or not the path is clear and it is safe to pass, cool your heels. Slow your pace, lay up behind the users who you want to pass, and wait. Road crossings are inherently dangerous and not the place to pass other trail users. Wait until you (and they) are safely across before looking for an opportunity to pass.

While the pandemic may be with us for quite some time, “this too shall pass.” Meanwhile, when you pass others you encounter on the Little Miami Scenic Trail, be smart and be safe. Enjoy a bit of exercise and a bit of nature and attend to your physical and mental health, but do so safely.


July 2020

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