The Town of Simsbury has installed signage along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail that reminds bicyclists to make their presence known when passing slower trail users.
“It’s not uncommon to be walking along the trail or taking a leisurely bike ride and suddenly a faster bicyclist zips by without warning,” said Ann Marie Potter of BikeWalkSimbury! “Someone could easily get injured. It’s a safety issue and a matter of courtesy for all trail-users, particularly in more congested sections.”
The green-and-white signs read: “Cyclists Must Alert When Passing.” One is posted near the Iron Horse Blvd/Drake Hill Road intersection; the second is along Rte. 315 heading to town center from Tariffville.
“We’re hoping that by raising awareness, more cyclists will remember to announce their presence, especially when they’re going by at a fast clip,” Potter said, noting that signs posted along the trail indicate a maximum speed of 12 mph.
“Many bicyclists do shout out ‘On Your Left’ or ring a bell to announce that they are passing,” Potter said. “But many don’t. It’s a problem out there.”
First Selectman Mary Glassman said that as trail-use increases in popularity, it becomes even more important for cyclists, runners, roller-bladers and walkers to practice courtesy.
“We’re proud to have such a gem running through our community,” she said. “Each year we see more people of all ages having family time together, just taking in the scenery or getting some exercise,” she said. “We want everyone to enjoy the trail and be safe, no matter how fast or slow they are travelling.”
Trail courtesy, according to Potter, includes staying to the right and passing on the left. Walkers or joggers with earphones should be able to hear passersby. Walkers with dogs should keep a short leash and be aware of passing traffic. Helmets are encouraged.
“A lot of this is common sense,” Potter said. “All trail-users should have a positive experience when they’re out there enjoying a lovely fall day.”
In 2010, Simsbury was named the first “Bicycle-Friendly Community” in Connecticut at the bronze-level and the town is currently seeking silver-level status. An announcement is expected in October. Farmington also is seeking the designation, which South Windsor received earlier this year.
- Contributed by Ann Marie Potter for Bike Walk Simsbury.
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