A wise man (woman?) once said, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” This is one of the most basic rules that have been instilled in us since grade school yet it seems that as we begin to grow older our application of this “golden rule” seems to have diminished greatly. The Virginia Capital Trail seems to be no exception to experiencing its fair share of lack of manners and obeying of the rules.
As someone who has just recently begun to interact with the cycling community, it is easy to see why cyclists are seen as the “bullies” of the Trail — cyclists are not only moving at a faster pace than everyone else on the Trail, but they are also doing so with an expensive piece of equipment between their legs, and usually while traveling in groups. All factors of which may create a superiority complex leading one to think they “own” the Trail. I want to point out that in no way am I classifying every cyclist as a bully or rule breaker, but I do believe that many times the Trail is incorrectly defined as an exclusive cycling space, with those who use the Trail to run, walk dogs, and simply explore the area being put at the mercy of local cyclists. For these reasons, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to a quick (and honest) review of a few of the rules that everyone should adhere to while using the Trail:
- Leave no trace – This rule is pretty simple. As the Trail is still fairly new, we want to keep it looking beautiful and clean for future trail users. For this reason all trail users should dispose of all trash in the proper waste areas.
- Stay to the right, pass on the left – Because there is two-way traffic on the Trail, it is imperative that all trail users abide by this rule so as to avoid confusion and injury. While passing fellow bikers and pedestrians, cyclist should always let others know that they are passing with a simple bell ring or “passing on your left”; notice how I said simple, as there is nothing worse than an aggressive/obnoxious command to move aside.
- Treat others as you want to be treated – I know it sounds juvenile to say out loud (see above) but when all else fails this is a handy rule to fall back on. It is safe to assume that if you’re using the Trail, whether you’re an individual who is new to the healthy living scene or an expert who is in the best shape of your life, you desire to have an enjoyable and safe time on the Trail. Following this rule will ensure that happens.
Posted by: Keshara Moore, VCTF Intern