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Be safe on our growing network of trails

May 14, 2019

The Cape Region’s growing network of trails is attracting residents and tourists alike. More people than ever are getting out to bike, run and stroll, some with cameras, others with dogs, still others with babies, children and friends.

Our trails are encouraging people to get outside, and that’s especially important in a state where nearly a third of adults are obese. When it comes to childhood obesity, Delaware ranks a dismal third in the nation.

Exercise is key in reducing those numbers, but the value of a stroll or bike ride go beyond calorie-burning. Research shows getting moving helps combat anxiety and depression and elevates mood. It’s also a good way to stimulate creativity. And there’s no time like a walk to chat, without constant interruption, with a friend or relative.

While we celebrate people using the trails, it’s a good time to remind everyone to use them safely.

Emergency officials remind everyone to take a phone and an ID on the trail. Health emergencies can happen anywhere; with more people on the trails, the possible need for emergency services also increases. Everyone on a bike should wear a helmet, and reflective clothing will help others see you.

Even on trails, there are rules of the road. Dogs should be leashed; even well-behaved pets may scare children, cyclists or other dogs.

Keep to the right, even in an organized race. Other people may still use the trail, and everyone needs space.

Bikes should keep to the right except when passing. Let people ahead know you’re coming and how many bikes are passing. Pass on the left and then move right. If bikes are coming the other way, be courteous. Let them pass.

It’s especially important for new cyclists to follow the rules of the road on the way to the trails. Vehicles are required to change lanes when passing bikes, but cyclists must follow traffic laws and ride to the right.

Our trails are a gateway to better health and a pathway to travel without summer’s traffic. Let’s use them often – and use them safely.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, publisher emeritus, and Laura Ritter, news editor, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.