LETTER: A reminder to cyclist to have etiquette on the Riverfront Trail
Regarding last week’s Cycling page article, trail etiquette in the desert is important, as etiquette is any time you are riding on any trail. On the Colorado Riverfront Trail, where there are lots of walkers, etiquette becomes a matter of personal safety — for both the walker and cyclist. Walkers can usually see cyclists coming toward them, but those behind the walker are unseen. I appreciate those who shout an “on your left” while still a distance behind me. Just “saying” a warning about 10-feet behind is of little value for two reasons: First, the walker is facing away from you and ears are not designed to hear best from the rear; second, it takes a person a couple of seconds to react and move to the side. A rider going 15 mph covers about 22 feet a second, thus a warning 10 feet before passing has little if any value — beyond realizing you may be hit from behind.
Generally, cyclists are willing to share the trail, but most do not recognize the hazard they can present. If while walking, I stop and turn to take a photo of a goose flying by, there is the danger I may be hit by a passing cyclist — as a couple of times I almost have been. Too often I am surprised as someone whizzes by, my only indication of a rider being anywhere near is their sudden appearance at my side.
Groups tend to ride side-by-side and chat. Many are reluctant to spread out to the single file format for others on the trail. More than once I have been passed by riders side-by-side, leaving marginal room for a walker. Oh yes! My dog (always on a leash) is with me on my walks. This complicates and slows my response. Dogs walking with a person are not unusual and a great use of the trail. The Colorado Riverfront Trail is a multi-use trail of great value to the community. Everyone should be welcome to enjoy it.
Many riders do give a clear warning in sufficient time for me to at least not take a step to my left. I try and reward those with a “Thank You!” as they pass.
I am sure many cyclists just don’t understand the hazards they present to others and could use some etiquette lessons in appropriate behavior — on any trail.
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