• Wendy Gorski

Yikes! Bikes!

It’s great that we’re all out pedaling on the Browns Creek, Gateway, and Loop Trails. But hey, there are a lot of us! Without much in the way of posted rules on these trails, it’s kind of like the Wild West out there.

It’s great that we’re all out pedaling on the Browns Creek, Gateway, and Loop Trails. But hey, there are a lot of us! Without much in the way of posted rules on these trails, it’s kind of like the Wild West out there. You’ve probably heard peoples’ complaints — some are refusing to use the trails in Stillwater because of incidents with reckless riders and inline skaters. So, friends, we need to get together to nip this problem in the bud. Here are some of the state’s safety rules on biking and inline skating on our trails. We can make our trails safer with good manners and common sense.

RIDING BIKES/INLINE SKATING ON THE TRAILS

  • Ride on the right. Pass on the left.

  • Always yield to slower path users. Don't "spook" children or animals; always yield to them. If passing a horse, use your voice so the horse associates the bicycle with a human.

  • Wearing headphones, earbuds, cell phones, radios, or other listening devices while riding or skating is not recommended — and never wear noise-canceling technology because you need to be aware of your surroundings.

  • Always wear a helmet.

  • Bring along masks and glasses to wear if the trail is crowded.

PASSING

  • Shout “On your left” or ring your bike bell when approaching others, and always pass on their left side.

  • Slow down when passing and use caution when approaching or overtaking other path users.

  • Ride single file when passing anyone else on the trail — don’t ride two abreast!

  • Use the same social distancing rules on the trail as you would on the sidewalk. Allow a distance of 6 feet when passing someone else whenever possible.

TRAFFIC AND SIGNS

  • Obey all traffic signs and signals at road crossings. Stop means stop.

  • Use traffic hand signals when appropriate.

THE RIGHT BIKE FOR THE TRAIL

  • Pedal-powered bikes, Segways, and pedal-assisted e-bikes are fine. Motorized bikes with no pedals, golf carts, and motorized foot scooters are not.

  • Bikes can have 2 or 3 wheels only, a saddle, not a seat, and fully operable pedals for human propulsion.


The good news is Stillwater’s bike boom will probably outlast the pandemic and will result in a cleaner, greener Stillwater. Biking has a zero carbon footprint and bikes are good for transportation as well as recreation. We’re all pleased to see this interest in healthier, active lifestyles through bicycling — it’s good for our kids and our communities too. As long as everyone obeys the rules, Stillwater will have a great reputation as a biking destination, which is good for business!


Sustainable Stillwater MN, a local nonprofit, is working to improve the bicycling experience by advocating for more bike amenities like bike parking, signage, maps, and safer streets.


Support Sustainable Stillwater’s initiatives by visiting our website at www.sustainablestillwatermn.org and considering a tax-deductible donation to our bike-friendly initiatives.

W. Gorski and Rick Heidick are board member of Sustainable Stillwater MN.

 
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