Exercise Path Safety & Etiquette
It may seem indulgent and trivial to write about exercise path safety and etiquette, but as one of the growing number of exercise path users who has experienced and witnessed the dangers that carelessness when using an exercise path can cause, I think it is a worthwhile topic.
In this article I discuss the reasons why exercise path safety and etiquette is so important and how you can help to ensure that when using a shared exercise path that your actions keep you as safe as possible and don't endanger the safety of others.
Why is exercise path safety and etiquette so important?
Exercise path safety and etiquette is important primarily because:
- The number of shared exercise paths and the number of people using them is growing each year
- If not used properly, exercise paths can be very dangerous places where people can get injured
- Exercise paths are for everyone, not just a select number of careless and disrespectful individuals
Ten basic rules for keeping shared exercise paths enjoyable and safe places.
Shared exercise paths can be great places to work on your fitness or burn unwanted calories in an effort to lose weight if we all follow some simple, commonsense safety and etiquette rules:
1. Respect the rights of others.
If this is the only rule you remember and practice out of this whole list you'll be doing your bit to make sure that any exercise path you use is a safer and more enjoyable place to workout.
2. Stick to the left.
Shared exercise paths have the same basic rules as local road rules. In Australia, this means walking, jogging, cycling or skating on the left hand side of the path.
3. Expect the unexpected.
Whenever you are using a shared exercise path, try to anticipate unexpected dangers like children, dogs and other adults making unexpected moves like changing direction without notice or crossing from one side of the path to the other.
If a path that you are walking or jogging on is also shared by cyclists and people using inline skates and the like, remember that these people will be moving much faster than you and can appear from behind literally out of nowhere. This being the case, remember to always leave plenty of room for people to go around you, never suddenly change direction or cross to the other side of the path without stopping and looking behind you first.
4. Always try to be courteous.
Saying "thank" you and generally being courteous to others sharing an exercise path reinforces safe and pleasant behaviour and makes the experience a lot more enjoyable for everyone concerned.
If someone gives way to you, moves across to let you pass or even rings their bicycle bell to let you know they are approaching, let them know that you appreciate their courtesy by saying "thank you" and being courteous back.
5. Travel at a safe speed and give way to others.
This rule is intended specifically for cyclists and skaters.
Shared exercise paths are provided by our local councils as a safer alternative to riding or skating on street footpaths and roads.
However, if you are a serious exerciser and want to ride at world class racing speeds in packs, then chances are you shouldn't be using shared paths.
When riding a bike or skating on a shared exercise path, always ride or skate at a safe speed and slow down whenever you come close to others on the path, particularly walkers, joggers and especially children.
As a cyclist or skater, also remember that walkers and joggers always have right-of-way and it is you that has to give way.
6. Ride or skate in single-file.
Talking and exercising with others, including your friends is what shared paths are all about.
And if you are riding your bike or skating with friends there are times when you are going to want to ride along side them and have a chat.
This behaviour is fine as long as it doesn't adversely affect the ability of others to share and enjoy the path.
So as a general rule, always ride single-file on particularly narrow paths or whenever you are sharing the path with lots of other people. And remember, other cyclists and skaters may be traveling even faster than you so be sure to always leave plenty of room beside you for passing.
7. Use warning bells and hand signals.
When it comes to cycling on shared exercise paths many people either don't use their warning bells to warn others of their approach, or they use them at inappropriate times.
As a general rule, you should always use your bike's bell to warn others that you are approaching and you should use it when you are close enough for them to hear your bell but not too close that it startles or scares them.
Likewise if you are going to change direction or move across a path, let those around you know what you are going to do before you do it and the best way to do this is to use hand signals.
8. Look both ways when crossing an exercise path.
One of my favourite exercise paths runs along a busy road which has car parks running along it entire length.
In their wisdom, the local council has placed the exercise path between the car spaces and ticket machines so motorists must walk across the shared exercise path in order to pay for their parking.
Every time I've used this path I've seen at least one person walk straight across the paths without looking left or right to see if anyone is coming and have nearly caused an accident in the process.
Crossing a shared exercise path is no different than crossing the road. Make sure you stay safe and look both ways before you do.
9. Always exercise patience.
Impatience on our roads is a major cause of accidents and road rage. Impatience on our shared exercise paths is no different.
If you are in a hurry to get somewhere and are willing to put your safety and the safety of others at risk to get there, please do everyone a favour and don't use a shared exercise path.
10. Enjoy yourself.
It would be remiss of me to write about exercise path safety and etiquette without encouraging you to use and enjoy them whenever you can.
Shared exercise paths can be very safe and motivating places to exercise for fitness and weight loss and the more people that use them the better.
By being constantly aware of our surroundings, always being respectful and courteous to others and by following the same basic rules that apply to our local roads we can all enjoy the advantages and benefits that shared exercise paths provide.
It may at first seem indulgent and trivial to write an article about exercise path safety and etiquette, but as one of the growing number of exercise path users who has experienced and witnessed the dangers that carelessness when using an exercise path can cause, I think it is a topic worthwhile writing about and noting.
In this article we discussed the reasons why exercise path safety and etiquette is so important and how you can help to ensure that when using a shared exercise path that your actions keep you as safe and possible and don't endanger the safety of others.
We hope you found this article useful, interesting and informative.
Good luck exercising on your local paths and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.
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This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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