I switched my bike from stationary to regular style on Saturday and rode up the trail to Friendship Heights. This ride should have only taken about 20 minutes and been relatively safe, instead it took about 45 and was frought with peril. The duration of the trip was extended because I have not made as much use of my bike during the winter months as I would have liked. The peril of the trip is due in large part to my foolish lack of proper garments and a rather complete disregard for the implied/suggested rules of the road by my fellow bikers, skaters and pedestrians. In the hopes that I may contribute to the safe enjoyment of the Capital Crescent Trail, I post the following list of rules for trailriding.
1. Always stay on the right side of the trail. Never cross the center line unless you are passing.
2. Always call out to indicate that you are passing another traveller. The use of a bell is encouraged.
3. Never pass when there is oncoming traffic, regardless of whether it is a bicycle or pedestrian.
4. Keep your headlight pointed at the ground in front of you, similar to a car's headlights. DO NOT SHINE IT DIRECTLY AT OTHER RIDERS. This will momentarily blind them at night.
5. Red lights may only be used as tail lights, never as head lights. This is also the law in Maryland. Rollerbladers and pedestrians are also encouraged to wear red lights on their backs at night.
6. Wear a helmet. There are many opportunities to build up an impressive speed on the trail and it is easily possible to be involved in a crash with a combined speed over 40 miles an hour. Accidents at speeds like this are dangerous enough with a helmet, let's leave serious brain trauma out of it.
7. Always walk single file on the trail. Two people walking abreast will occupy the entire side of the trail.
8. Shouting at people as you fly by them on a bicycle is NOT an effective way to change behavior.
8. Keep all pets on a short leash, be they canine, feline, avian or arachnid.
9. Clean up after all pets.
10. Please be courteous and remember that the trail exists for the enjoyment of all.
If anyone else has any serious suggestions, please leave them in the comments section.