Trail Safety Tips

Smart trail use includes adherence to some basis safety practices. Trails are shared recreation amenities and are accessed by a variety of users at the same time. Please be courteous to all users, and remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way. All trail users should stay to the right on the trail. 


  • Never use the trails after dark. Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission trails are available for use from sunrise to sunset each day.
  • Tell friends or family the route you'll be taking, and always travel with a partner, when possible.
  • Be sure to carry identification (which includes name, phone number, and pertinent medical information), and record your bicycle serial number.
  • Carry coins for phone calls or have a cell phone.
  • Keep valuables such as cell phones and wallets hidden.
  • Wear reflective material and carry a whistle or noisemaker.
  • Never wear a headset.
  • Always carry tools to repair minor bike issues and have supplies to change a flat tire.
  • Avoid unfamiliar areas when on the trails alone.
  • Prior to using a new trail, take the time to familiarize yourself with the trail and plan your route.
  • Stay alert, be observant about your surroundings, and avoid areas where visibility is poor.
  • Use discretion when acknowledging strangers, and follow your intuition about unfamiliar people and areas.
  • Bicyclists should pull off the trail when stopping to avoid a possible accident.
  • Bicyclists approaching pedestrians should make an advanced noise using voice, bell, or horn to avoid startling walkers.
  • Bicyclists should always wear a helmet and ride at speeds that do not exceed 12 miles per hour.
  • When on roadways, remember to ride with traffic, but walk and run against traffic.
  • Pets should be kept on a short leash, and people must clean up after their pets.
  • Horses should be kept on the grass shoulder, when possible.
  • With the exception of motorized wheelchairs, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.