FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The summer weather is rolling in and Fort Wayne’s trails are seeing heavy foot traffic once again.
Trail safety and etiquette are important to keep in mind, and the city of Fort Wayne Greenways manager, Dawn Ritchie, shared with WANE 15 tips for trail users.
#1 – Pay attention to crossings:
Midblock crossings are the areas where the road crosses the trail and the most dangerous area on any trail. There are stop signs and flashing yellow lights at these crossings to indicate where trail users should stop. Ritchie said it is important to obey traffic rules exactly how a motorist would.
“Even if a motorist stops and waives you across the road, don’t do it,” Ritchie said. Cars in line waiting for trail goers to pass may become impatient and go around the stopped car, hitting the pedestrian.
#2 – Bike and running safety:
As far as runners go, Ritchie suggests running with only one earbud in. This way, runners can be more aware of their surroundings and hear people that are approaching them. Communication is very important along these trails– if you have both earbuds in, you may be startled when someone is passing you.
She said to walk, ride, or run on the right-hand side of the trail, and if you approach a slower user, to let them know by yelling out something such as “passing on the left”, or using a bell to communicate you are passing on their left side. If something happens with your bike, she said to get off of the trail and fix the problem there, so other bikers do not run into you.
Other concerns Ritchie had are bikers racing along the trails. Sometimes, people may be training for a race or going too fast for the pace of the trail. Bikers can go on the county roads if they are going that fast. “Yes, you’re getting exercise, but you’re not training for some triathlon!” Ritchie said.
#3 – Pet etiquette:
Make sure to clean up after your pet and keep dogs on a leash that measures six feet or less. Keep control of your dogs and bring doggy bags with you, as they are not provided along the trails.
#4 – Private property:
There are multiple access points to each trail, and the city of Fort Wayne only owns about 15-20 feet outside of the pathways. Often, users cut through private property to get to them. Ritchie said to respect private property and use the access points.
#5 – Parking lots:
Another safety concern is around the trailhead parking areas. According to the police, people are leaving purses, wallets, cell phones, and other valuables in their cars, not hidden. Ritchie said if you are going to leave valuables in the car, make sure they are hidden so nothing gets stolen.
#6 – Bring a friend:
An injury can happen at any time on the trails and having a friend along for the ride- or run- can prevent you from having to wait for medical attention. Dehydration is one example of an injury that can happen to anyone, and having someone else call for help can save an injury from getting worse.
If you need to report any problems on or regarding the trails, you can call the city’s Greenways Department at (260) 427-6002. If it is an emergency, please call 911.
“You can call me and let me know about any concerns that you might find out on the trails,” Ritchie said. “We do love to hear from our trail users!”
Stay on the lookout for further construction on the Pufferbelly Trail. Once it is fully completed, it will be 13 miles, connecting with the Rivergreenway in downtown Fort Wayne.