By MARY KIM FOLDS
I love the greenway. A run or walk on it with my dog is part of my daily routine and I am so grateful for that. The natural beauty and peace and quiet are so rejuvenating no matter the weather. I enjoy seeing the familiar faces who share my routine as well as the robins, blue birds, hawks, deer, …whatever might cross my path.
Most days I have a lovely experience. Some days, however, I have encounters that make me wonder if we are all using our best judgment on the trail. In particular, I have concerns about people with dogs and cyclists.
Also today, a Letter to the Editor
“Is someone poisoning the squirrels?” See PETS & ANIMALS»
As a person with a dog, I try to prevent any problems with other dogs or people before they start. For example, if someone is approaching, I shorten the leash, put myself between my dog and the passerby, and keep moving along. I have seen that letting dogs “say hello” or wander into another dog’s path can cause problems. Also, I have seen that having an actual physical leash on your dog is a great idea! Owners who let their dogs off-leash or use electronic leashes are putting us all at risk. Off-leash dog aggression toward a leashed dog is an unpleasant experience. The greenway is not a place to test your off-leash training. And signs at all trail heads specify that dogs should be on leashes.
Speaking of training, I have tried to train “chase” out of my dog for years, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. Squirrels, trucks, and yes, bikes, are fair game to him. So when I am on the greenway with him and a cyclist approaches, I reel him in, move to the side and keep going. As a dog owner it is my responsibility to be in charge of this.
However, cyclists also have responsibilities on the greenway. One of these is to give a “heads up!” to people on the ground that they are coming from behind. Today a cyclist appeared out of nowhere from behind me without a sound. My dog and I were both surprised, so he barked and lunged at the biker. A simple “on your left” would have given me time to prepare. Another heart-rate-spiking moment that I didn’t need to have.
Other cyclist responsibilities would include SLOWING DOWN and falling into single file if in groups of two or more. Riding two and three abreast on this narrow path in large groups at high speeds just isn’t safe. The margin for error on the greenway is too small. HIgh speed group riding is best for the road.
So here’s to the greenway! It’s for everyone so come out and enjoy and bring your common sense!
Posted July 26, 2012
David, As a follow up to my piece on greenway etiquette I would like to pass along these links from other towns that have taken some more proactive measures to prevent accidents on the greenway than Davidson has:
I believe our town website should have THIS information, and then if it’s on the website, then signs could be generated basically making etiquette a perceived “rule”:
The key is to sort of CODIFY the rules of etiquette, such that if they are broken, there will be consequences…not just something happening that is just selfish or rude:
And hopefully nothing happens that is bad like this below. There could always be a lawsuit or worse case, a death: