Safety Dance!


by Maureen Gaffney

I don’t love writing about bike/ped/trail safety. It feels alternately kind of “duh” and like I’m your bike/ped/trail mom. “Johnny—make sure to look both ways and buckle that darned helmet!” Ugh. I have had a career in some kind of bike/ped/trail work for about 20 years, including a short stint as acting Executive Director for this very organization. I am an experienced cyclist. I’m a roadie, a mountain biker, a commuter cyclist and most recently a begrudging gravel biker. I can largely mind my manners on a path on a bike, but when I turn into a pedestrian—particularly when in the company of other upright, bi-pedal humans, I will, almost without fail, wander like a lost calf across the middle of the trail inviting and deserving the wrath of my fellow trail user. 

!!DING!! “Jeez Lady! Share The Trail!” 

Having worked on multiple Share the Trail campaigns over the past two decades, this one really hurts. The point of this anecdote is that we can all use some reminders about safety while walking, riding, rolling on the Vine Trail. 

When riding:

  • Mind your speed. The limit is usually 15 mph. This may be challenging, especially if you are on an e-bike, but hey—speed is a major contributor to the seriousness of an accident, so let’s keep it mellow
  • Call out when passing, or, you know… “!!!DING!!!” so that “career professional trail lady” can get the heck out of your way
  • Use lights at night. Front and back. White in front, red in the back

When pedestrianizing: 

  • Choose one side or the other and be predictable. Don’t be like me—“oh look! A shiny thing…over there…” and cause an accident for which you will be wholly at fault
  • Look both ways when entering/exiting the path. I know, I know…but really, it’s weird how easy it is to forget
  • Be visible at night

When dog-walking:

  • Keep Fido on a leash
  • Keep Fido on a leash that is attached to a human
  • Keep Fido on a leash that does not stretch across the entire width of the trail, ensnaring passers-by
  • Pick up Fido’s poop AND dispose of it. Putting it in a bag and leaving it trailside is not only rude, it’s called littering and it’s illegal

When anything else-ing:

  • Common sense/courtesy
  • Smile, wave, say hello! After all, you’re on the Best Trail Ever, right?