Park and Trail Safety and Etiquette

Park and Trail Safety

The following tips are provided by the Durham Police Department:

  • Whenever possible, always be on the trail with someone else.
  • While walking, jogging, or biking on any park or trail, make sure a responsible person knows your plans, where you will be, and when you expect to return.
  • Carry identification that includes your name, phone number, pertinent medical information, and emergency contact.
  • Take a cell phone and make sure you can quickly make a call in case of an emergency or see any suspicious activity.
  • While using the parks or trails during the daytime hours, wear bright colors.
  • While using the parks or trails at night, wear light-colored clothing or a reflective vest.
  • Know the operating regulations of the park or trail. Normally they open at sunrise and close at dusk or 10 p.m.
  • Make sure that the music from your cell phone or listening device isn’t too loud so that you can hear people passing or approaching while you enjoy the park or trail.
  • Do not leave valuables or items visible in your vehicle when leaving your vehicle parked. Store valuables in the trunk of your vehicle or other secure location while you are on the trail.
  • Know your location at all times. Choose or plan your routes for paths most frequently used by walkers, joggers, and bikers.
  • If a suspicious person appears to be following you, create some distance and prepare to react by calling 911 or moving to a secure location. Acting alert and aware can deter bad guys.
  • If an incident occurs do not risk your safety to protect things that can be replaced. Afterwards call 911. If you call 911, stay on the phone until help arrives.
  • For any Suspicious Activity, dial 911. When in doubt, have law enforcement check it out. Still call 911!

For more information visit the Durham Community Trail Watch page.

Trail Etiquette

  • Pass others on the left. Just like out on the road, faster trail users should pass slower users on the left. Give an audible warning with a bell, or call out “Passing on your left!”
  • Pets on the trail should be on a leash and under control.
  • Make sure the volume on your headphones does not keep you from hearing others approach or calling out.
  • Do not litter along the trails. There are trash receptacles at most intersections.

Speed Guide

  • It is the nature of trails that users are moving at different speeds. Families with children and folks with pets may be moving slowly. ‘Bladers’ and cyclists are moving fast and faster. With a mix of speeds, there’s a need to understand where you fit in, and whom to yield to when out on the trails. The short rule is: Wheels Yield to Heels

Trail Use for Walkers and Runners

  • Walk on the right side of the trail; slowest traffic keeps right; pass on left.
  • At busy areas on the trail, avoid walking three abreast. Two people walking side by side fills up a lot of trail. When faster traffic comes up from behind switch from walking abreast to single file to give them room to go by you safely.

Trail Use for In-Line Skaters

  • Stay on the right side of the trail. You should not skate down the middle.
  • When approaching slower traffic move to the left side of the trail (pass on left only) and say loudly: "On Your Left." This will give people time to clear the way.

Trail Use for Bicyclists

  • Bikes are the fastest traffic on the trail. Very fast riding is inappropriate for the trails during high usage times.
  • At busy areas on the trail, avoid riding two abreast.
  • Riders should take it slow when passing pedestrians, they can be unpredictable.
  • Warn slower-moving traffic that you are passing. Sound your bell or call out loudly before you get to the other traffic "On Your Left." Don't wait to give your warning until you are right next to the walker or runner. Do give enough time.
  • Trails have engineering and design limitations that require you to ride differently than you would on the road. If your preferred speed or style of cycling is inappropriate for trails, look for better-suited alternative street routes.