Trail Safety Tips and Etiquette

Etiquette on the Trail

  • Be courteous to other trail users.
  • Pedestrians have the right-of-way.
  • Stay to the right; pass on the left.
  • When on roadways, remember to ride with traffic, but walk and run against traffic.
  • Bicyclists should ride at speeds that are safe for current conditions: generally 10-15 miles per hour.
  • Bicyclists stopping along the trail, should move off the pavement to avoid accidents and blocking the path for other users.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists traveling two-abreast must yield to on-coming and overtaking traffic.
  • When approaching or overtaking pedestrians, give courteous but audible, advance warning using voice, bell or horn to avoid startling.
  • With the exception of motorized wheelchairs, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
  • Pets should be kept on a short leash, and people must clean up after their pets.
  • Horses should be kept on the grass shoulder, when possible.

Tips to Stay Safe

  • Never use the trails after dark. Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission trails are available for use from sunrise to sunset each day.
  • Tell friends or family the route you'll be taking, and always travel with a partner, when possible.
  • Be sure to carry identification (which includes name, phone number, and pertinent medical information), and record your bicycle serial number.
  • Carry coins for phone calls, or have a cell phone.
  • Keep valuables,such as cell phones and wallets, hidden.
  • Don’t wear earphones.
  • Wear reflective material, and carry a whistle or noisemaker.
  • Bicyclists should always wear a helmet; helmet use is required by state law for those under age 16.
  • Always carry tools to repair minor bike issues and have supplies to change a flat tire.
  • Prior to using a new trail, take the time to familiarize yourself with the trail and plan your route.
  • Stay alert, be observant about your surroundings, and avoid areas where visibility is poor.
  • Use discretion when acknowledging strangers, and follow your intuition about unfamiliar people and areas.
  • Avoid unfamiliar areas when on the trails alone.