We have security experts and tapped Fort Wayne trails Board Member Lisa Hollister, DNP, MSN, RN, LSSBB, Administrative Director, Trauma Systems, Parkview trauma centersfor her top tips for those wanting to take advantage of our amazing local trails and walkways this season.
12 strategies to stay safe on the trails
Motors are taboo.
The paths are intended for slower pedestrian activities such as walking and jogging, as well as for cyclists. Electric bikes and motorized devices should not be on the trails for any reason. The trails are also not recommended for those who are trapped and driving at increased speeds, as this reduces reaction time and increases the risk of hitting a pedestrian. This type of training is best done on the street.
stay on the path
Those using the trails should avoid walking on grass or private property whenever possible. This is a matter of respect for those living near the trails and a safety measure as outside the paved trails there may be poisonous plants and taller grass with parasites such as ticks. There are instances when it is appropriate to deviate from the path, such as B. with a flat tire or an untied shoelace. Use your best judgment in these situations.
rules of the route.
When you are on a path, think of it as you would a road. Stay right unless you pass. If you need to go around someone, first look over your shoulder and ahead to make sure you can pass safely.
It’s always a good idea to warn those in front of you that you’re passing. If you’re walking or jogging, this could be a simple “To your left.” If you’re on a bike, you can verbally announce that you’re approaching from the left, or, even better, ring the bell to alert others that you’re coming around them.
A big “don’t” for motorists.
At points where a path meets a road, pedestrians must stop for traffic and cannot cross until all vehicles have passed. Accidents happen when traffic is disrupted, so it’s best for drivers to follow signs and keep moving. A yellow flashing light, for example, is not a reason to stop, but to be careful. A red traffic light would mean that you must stop your vehicle. It may seem polite to stop to allow pedestrians to cross, but it is actually very dangerous as drivers behind you cannot see what is causing your actions. Think of drivers: follow signs and signals and keep traffic flowing!
We all love a good podcast or playlist when we go for a walk or jog, but it’s important to make sure you can still hear what’s going on around you. Try turning down the volume or using headphones in one ear only. Cyclists should never wear headphones while cycling because they travel faster and have less reaction time.
Anyone using the trails should wear light-colored clothing so others on the trail and riders can see them. It can be difficult to spot people at dawn, dusk or in the dark, so make sure you have the right reflective or brightly colored accessories so you don’t get hit. A headlight can also be helpful for visibility, both for yourself and for others.
For our four-legged friends.
Dog owners who take their pets on the trails must always keep their pet on a very short leash to protect the animal and pedestrians. A long leash is not only a tripping hazard for others on the trail, but also gives a dog enough length to approach people and possibly bite. We don’t want to think our pets would do that, but it happens. It is imperative that you stay in control of your animal and clean up after them. Waste is not only uncomfortable, it can also be a slip hazard.
Get in line.
Catching up with friends or a hiker’s meetup on the trails is a great way to get outside and get some exercise. Just be sure to walk in single file or close together, depending on the width of the path. You want to be sure that you are leaving at least half the path for others.
Don’t leave home without it.
We cannot stress enough the importance of helmets for cyclists! Be sure to read these bike safety basics and get everyone in your family properly fitted head protection. It could save your life. (Just ask Bob.)
Take the tricks elsewhere.
While most skateboarders don’t spend too much time on the trails, it’s important to remember that these areas, including bridges and railings, are not designed for tricks. If you plan to skate on these trails, stay to the right, pass carefully, and don’t skate without a helmet.
Watch out for oncoming pedestrian traffic.
Some trails have pedestrian crossings that are rarely marked. Approach these crossroads slowly and with caution. There is no right of way, so all parties should cautiously give in and join forces.
Do you need safety equipment?
The Parkview Safety Store at Parkview Hospital Randallia is open Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm and offers helmets for as little as $10 ($8 in the month of May) and accessories. Browse bike lights, reflective gear and more.