I am a huge fan of the Coventry Greenway, it's a quiet reprieve from the sidewalks, flat (which is just so nice sometimes), and always well maintained (thank you!). With the exception of the most bitter months during the winter, you can find cyclists, walkers, joggers, families and pets enjoying themselves here year round from sun up to sun down.
A year or two ago when the finishing touches were added along several stretches of the path, there were signs posted explaining a fundamental rule of the road: walkers stay to the left, cyclists stay to the right. Since then, these signs have disappeared. I can only assume they are now decorating some lucky teen's bedroom or garage in town somewhere. In any case, this small act of innocent vandalism has left any newbies to the path without clarification.
Also, I have become aware that there is a general misunderstanding about the rules of the road (which are observed on the bike/ walking path). My personal experience with such misunderstanding happened when I was shouted at and run off the path by a cyclist and her friend. They rode side by side obstructing the entire path, neither yielding to oncoming foot traffic. As I jogged on the left hand side she approached me head on with her friend blocking the right half of the path and she shouted to me "joggers to the right!". But there was no room on the right! So I jumped out of the way to the left (totally in shock over her ignorance and bullying), said some nasty things in my head, and I thought to my self "man, I wish those kids didn't steal the rule signs!"
So I figured until our beloved signs are replaced, I would share a few basic rules of bike/ walking path etiquette. Enjoy!
4 Simple Rules to Remember on the Bike/ Walking Path
1. Cyclists ride on the right. Foot traffic stays to the left.
Why? When you follow this rule you are always facing the oncoming foot/ cycle traffic. This helps to avoid a walker accidentally stepping in front of a cyclist. Also, both parties have a clear view of any one passing slower traffic and using the center of the lane.
2. Dogs should always walk on the left of their person.
Why? Rule number one of dog walking: dog walks on the left. End of story. This helps to train the dog, but this also keeps the dog away from on coming traffic. We all worry about Fido getting hit by a car, but I'm sure we would feel pretty horrible if our retractable leash roaming friend tripped up a cyclist or runner.
3. Use your words when you pass.
Why? "Passing on the right!" "Passing on the left!" These four simple words that have a big effect. By alerting those around you of your presence, and that you are going to get real close real soon, you just did everything you can to avoid a collision. You never know if the person you are coming up on may decide to stop, cross the path, or turn around. It doesn't have to be a shout, just a friendly heads up.
4. Be polite.
Why? Smiles are contagious! OK, you don't have to smile at everyone you see, that's your prerogative. But, most people appreciate it if you show general respect, and it feels good to have some camaraderie when you're working out! (Not to be totally biased, but in my opinion, the early morning crowd is the friendliest!) If you're walking with a group of friends, try to stay on one half of the path. If your in high school and hanging out with a bunch of your friends, and sitting in the middle of the path, maybe consider sitting on the grass instead? If you're walking your dog, please don't let him have free range of the path. Road rage benefits no one and bad attitudes always make things worse.
And of course, the unofficial number one rule of the path - HAVE FUN! As blogger of this post I vow on Girl Scouts honor that I will do my best to respect the rules of the road. Happy cycling, walking, running, jogging, strolling, rollerblading & skateboarding!