Trail etiquette needed
I have ridden the Legacy Trail a dozen times this summer. I have felt relatively safe most times that I have ridden the trail. Most users stay to the right of the trail as they would if they were driving a vehicle on the road. When it comes time to pass, they warn you by ringing a bell or calling out “on your left,” they wait until someone has passed them before they pull out to pass the cyclists in front of them, they pull over to the right if someone wants to pass them, they quickly move into a single file when someone approaches from the opposite direction. Roller skiers will hold their poles in as they pass a cyclist, parents tell their children to move off the trail when they stop for a drink of water, tourists move off the trail to take photographs. All of these actions make for a very pleasant ride.
Unfortunately, a number of people seem to think that since the Legacy Trail is separated from the highway this gives them permission to disregard safety precautions.
I have cycled past cyclists texting or talking on their phones, joggers walking their dogs (albeit on a leash) in the middle of the trail listening to their iPods, oblivious to the world around them, roller bladers and roller skiers neglectful of the fact that their legs or poles swing out across the centre of the path, cyclists and walkers weaving across the centre of the trail, and cyclists chatting away with their friends as they ride beside each other ignoring the fact that other cyclists are riding towards them.
The most ludicrous situation, however, occurred today as I was cycling towards Banff. A cyclist passed two cyclists riding side by side as I approached in the opposite direction. Coming towards me at a distance of less than 50 feet were three cyclists abreast.
The cyclist passing just managed to squeak in front of the other two cyclists as I passed him. I was just lucky I didn’t end up crashing into him and having yet another concussion while riding on a bike path (20 years ago a cyclist crashed into me on the river path in Calgary. Fortunately, I was wearing my helmet. Yet I still ended up with a concussion).
It is not the cyclists going at high speeds, nor the Nordic skiers training on their roller skis that are the problem on the trails, but the lack of etiquette that is required of all users on a multi-use trail.
If all users of these trails would stop to think about the proper etiquette and the safety of all concerned, then the Legacy Trail would be much safer to travel on. It is just a matter of time before someone ends up in a serous accident because of neglectful cycling, jogging, walking, rollerblading or roller skiing.
Does Parks Canada need to paint a yellow line all the way along the trail for users to recognize that there is a limited space? Do we need signs to indicate that when someone is coming in the opposite, for safety reasons cyclists should fall into a single file?
Please think of the other users of the trail when you choose to walk, jog, cycle, roller blade or roller ski on the Legacy Trail. I would like to thank all of those users who are conscious of the safety of the other users.
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