Speed enforcement may be needed on trails

December 10, 2021

The general readership of the Cape Gazette may or may not know that there have been several crashes on the local trail system in the past couple of years. They have not been, as feared, a result of cyclist and car collisions at trail and road intersections. Rather, they have involved cyclists crashing into other cyclists. In addition to cuts, scrapes and bruises, some have involved serious, bone-breaking injuries.

Just as is the case on our national and local highways, imprudent speed has often been the prevailing factor in the rising number of trail crashes. Bicycle riders going too fast? Absolutely, especially given the broad mix of ages and abilities, from young children to senior, senior citizens, using the trails as cyclists, walkers and joggers.

Most of the time it’s lack of judgment and consideration for others that leads riders to behave recklessly. In so doing, they jeopardize the safety of others, and ruin what should be a pleasant outing and a welcome respite from the more harried transportation experience on our local roadways.

Another factor adding to unsafe conditions related to speed on our trail system, as mentioned in a recent letter to the editor, is the increasing number of electric bicycles finding their way into the mix. While most of these bicycles require pedaling for the electrical assist to kick in, when that extra power does arrive, the pedaling can become so much less strenuous that riders may not realize how much faster they are going. Others may simply not care and are obliviously happy to be riding faster, no matter that it may cause safety issues. The faster the riding, the slower the reaction time for avoiding collisions, especially at times when the trails are more crowded.

Delaware law forbids electric bicycles more powerful than 750 watts, or capable of speeds greater than 20 mph, from being on the trails.

If common sense, common courtesy and obeying the law don’t help curb this disturbing trend, selective law enforcement should be used to send a stronger message. 


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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