Ohio Multi-Use Trail Safety
Please note that 2 separate safety topics are posted to this page. The first, Safety Tips for Trail Users, can be found below this paragraph. The second, '4 Common Trail Building Mistakes,' is intended for those interested in improving safety designs on multi-use trails. That video is at the bottom of this page.
Safety is an important issue when traveling into unfamiliar areas to trail ride. Though this web site makes no claims of knowing which areas are unsafe along Ohio trails, we gladly offer up some tips to help keep you safer on your next trail ride.
Generally, you'll find more locals using any trail you visit, and their habits can tell you a lot. Being familiar with the area, they tend to park in places they feel are convenient and safe. Therefore, these more popular parking or trailhead areas are generally a better choice. For the best choice, look for the lot with trail user activity and open surroundings.
Secure Your Vehicle
- Lock your doors, roll up the windows and keep anything valuable out of sight. That's not to suggest that throwing a coat over your purse will do the trick. Many vehicle break-ins are smash (a window) and grab. So, no sunglasses, spare change or stuff on the seats is good. But nothing of real value in the car is best.
- Do not "hide" your keys and leave them with your car. There may be someone watching you as you exit your vehicle. (Yes, there are people who troll lots looking for easy pickings.) So, do not demonstrate where you've concealed valuables. If you feel you have to leave a purse in the trunk or wallet in the glove box, do so before you arrive at the trailhead. Just realize that during a smash and grab the thieves can open your trunk from the inside.
Use Trail Signs & Kiosks
Pay attention to trail signs and kiosks. Along with useful info, some provide maintenance and local law enforcement phone numbers. 911 is the universal emergency hotline. But you may encounter problems that are non-emergency in nature. Keep the numbers and a cell phone with you on your ride.
Reduce Your Chances Of Becoming A Victim
Trails are public places where muggings and robberies can occur, as well as a potentially life-threatening crime often referred to as 'The Knockout Game.' It's important to educate yourself regarding this criminal activity so you can be better prepared for such threats.
One should never become too complacent on bikeways. Here are some general safety guidelines:
- Shy away from empty parking lots with broken glass or other negative indicators. Opt for the lot with trail user activity and open surroundings.
- Walk, skate or ride with someone or in a group. There is safety in numbers.
- Be aware of your surroundings on the trail as well, particularly when alone. Jamming with your headset blasting your favorite tunes is not a good way to hear someone approaching you from behind.
- Carry protection. Some cyclists use pepper spray to deal with unruly dogs on the road. The spray is carried in a manner where it can be quick-drawn when necessary. Since most people don't have a black belt in karate, the spray can also be used when someone intends to do you harm.
- Do some research before you trek through unfamiliar places. Get some local insight about the area from someone who lives there or is very familiar with the bikeway.
- Perhaps a co-worker has a family member or friend that lives near a trail you wish to explore. Knowledgeable, active locals are perhaps your best resource while paranoid, uniformed folks can be your worst. You may also want to contact local officials in the area. Do your homework and then take someone with you on your first visit.
- Carry a cell phone. It may help you help someone else by reporting a crime quickly. It also comes in handy in case of an accident or mechanical failure.
More Guidelines & Tips
Being safe on the trails also means being prepared to avoid accidents and prevent hardships. To maximize the enjoyment potential of your next trail ride, check out these Trail Riding Tips & Guidelines before heading out.