As everyone emerges from their winter hibernation, trails like the Midland Trace are likely to be packed with users. It can be a little frustrating playing a real-life game of Frogger on the trail, but having a little patience and knowing the proper trail etiquette can go along way to making everyone's experience enjoyable.
1. Walkers have priority on the trails, followed by folks on skates, and lastly, cyclists. (Think wheels yield to heels.) If you want to pass a slower trail user, wait until the coast is clear in front of you, then announce your presence with a ding of a bell or a simple "On your left!" Pass cautiously, as some walkers can get spooked and get their directions a little messed up.
2. If you're traveling with children, keep them close at all times. Little ones are easily distracted and have been known to run into the opposite trail lane where danger may be around the corner. I can bunny-hop a curb OK, but your three-year-old toddler?
3. If you're traveling with a dog - or your prized pet pig, you never know - keep it on a fixed leash and away from the opposing lane of traffic. And if it poops, please clean it up. I can speak from experience that it sucks to pull over to change a flat tire, only to step in a pile of Fido's droppings.
4. Cyclists should ride at an appropriate level of speed for the trail. If there are plenty of people on the path, slow down. I personally love showing off how fast I am on the bike, but on busy days, I take advantage of the opportunity to exercise my core and lung capacity by sucking in my gut and trying to look better in my tight lycra cycling kit.
(Oh, and there's never an excuse to wear a time-trial helmet on a bike path. Never.)
5. When you get to an intersection, stop. Only cross if it's safe. There are a few spots on the Monon Greenway, among others, where it can be difficult to see vehicle traffic until you're practically at the intersection.
6. By all means, have a snack, but throw the wrapper (and any other trash) in an appropriate receptacle. If I see you littering on the trail, I will chase you down.