by Erick Wikum
When learning to drive a car, we learn “rules of the road.” When we follow such rules, we know what to expect of others and they know what to expect of us. With experience, we learn various courteous driving practices. For example, when two lanes of traffic merge, then “take gap, give gap” facilitates efficient and fair merging. Pausing to allow another driver to enter a busy roadway (when safe) is another way to extend a courtesy.
The Little Miami Scenic Trail has its own rules of the road and courteous practices. We as trail users are expected to stay to the right, come to a full stop at road crossings and limit our speed to no more than 20 mph. Courtesies concern how we share the trail with other users; for example, by calling out “on your left” when passing.
Given that the Little Miami Scenic Trail is a shared-use facility, an important question concerns how users engaged in different activities should interact with one another. While all users engaged in permitted activity are equally welcome to use the trail, safety, practicality and courtesy necessitate a “pecking order” concerning yielding to others in the following ways:
- Bicyclists should slow and yield to all trail users on foot. Whether walking, hiking or running, one can easily step in the path of a fast and silently approaching bicycle.
- Bicyclists and users on foot should yield to horseback riders. Horses are skittish and unpredictable and can startle when encountering other trail users. Yielding and knowing how to pass safely are critical. Click this link for a past Trail Mail safety article with suggestions for sharing the trail with horseback riders.
While shared use has its challenges, it also has a tremendous benefit. On any given day, you can walk, run, bike or horseback ride on the Little Miami Scenic Trail. By extending courtesy to others through the yield pecking order described above, not only will you have a safe experience, but so too will others.