Share the Trail

A biker, a man on roller blades and a runner on a trail

It pays to be nice on the trail! Follow these tips for sharing the trails within and between our parks.

  • Be Predictable - Travel in a consistent and predictable manner. Always look behind before changing position on the trail.
  • Don’t Block the Trail - When in a group, avoid using more than half the trail.
  • Dog Walkers - Keep dogs under control and on a 6’ non-retractable leash.
  • Keep Right - Stay to the right side of the trail as is safe, except when passing another user.
  • Pass on the Left - Pass others, going in your direction, on their left. Faster traffic must yield to slower and oncoming traffic.
  • Give Audible Signal - When passing a frequently used warning is…“PASSING ON YOUR LEFT.” A clear warning signal may be given by voice, bell or horn.
  • Helmets - Bicyclists, skaters and skateboarders should always wear a properly fitted helmet.
  • Stop Means Stop - Obey all stop signs along the trail.

A campaign for trail safety

Roughly 5.2 million visitors a year use the regional trail system managed by Three Rivers Park District. Safety for all these bikers, runners, walkers and commuters is a top priority. Regional trails are a shared public space – safety and courtesy are necessary to make a positive trail experience for everyone. Over the past five years, Three Rivers Park District has encouraged users to respect each other through a “Share the Trail” safety campaign.

“Sharing the Trail” is a simple concept. It means sharing the trail with multiple users, even if they use the trails differently than you do. The system works best when everyone respects one another’s use of the trails and all follow the same general rules.

The regional trail system is designed to connect people to parks, schools, town centers, and other vibrant spaces. But most of all, it was created to encourage active recreation. It carries with it a variety of user groups, including walkers, runners, dog walkers, cyclists, in-line skaters, and other non-motorized traffic. All of these different modes move at different speeds and take up different spaces. Everyone benefits when people respect each other’s mode of travel. However, from time to time, trail users may find themselves in conflict with other users.

The most common conflicts involve cyclists and pedestrians. They are moving at very different speeds and take up different spaces. Cyclists often don’t alert pedestrians when passing at high speeds, which can cause sudden and startled responses from those on foot. Sometimes groups of walkers can take up both lanes, which leaves cyclists nowhere to pass as they move through. Both users have a responsibility to share the trail.

Another common safety concern revolves around obeying traffic signs. Cyclists are sometimes required to stop at roadway crossings. There is often confusion between motorists and cyclists in regards to right of way. Overall, cyclists need to obey traffic signs in order to stay safe.

Three Rivers uses trail signage to communicate positive trail etiquette. Trail safety messages are placed around the regional trails in various locations, catching the attention of our users and creating teachable moments. 

Partnership with Adam Turman

Three Rivers has partnered with local bicycle artist Adam Turman to develop a new series of images to help communicate our trail safety efforts. These eye-catching messages can be seen on trail shoulders, trail kiosks, and on bicycle wheel spoke cards.

Three Rivers staff and regional trail volunteers will be out on the trails spreading the “Share the Trail” message. As more trail users adopt this attitude, the trails will become even friendlier and safer places for everyone to enjoy.

Share the Trail