Arlington has 46 miles of off-street, multi-use trails that are shared and enjoyed by bicyclists, pedestrians, runners, skaters, cross-country skiers, dog walkers, baby strollers, people in wheelchairs, and the occasional deer. Use courtesy and common sense to avoid collisions -- especially when the trails are most crowded.
WalkArlington and BikeArlington have teamed up to provide some tips to help bicyclists and pedestrians share trails and sidewalks. This printable PDF file has color and black-and-white versions in English and Spanish:
Tips for Being Courteous and Sharing the Trail:
- All trail users should keep to the right side of the trail, except when passing.
- Pass other trail users on their left, leave at least two feet of clearance between you and them. Give an audible warning at least two seconds before passing as you approach, such as "passing on your left." Why? Because pedestrians and other bikers can't hear a bicycle approaching from behind.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way on trails and sidewalks. However, groups of pedestrians should form a single-file to allow bicyclists and others to pass.
- Travel only at speeds which are safe and appropriate for trail conditions. Safe and appropriate speeds will be lower in congested areas, when visibility is limited and around curves.
- Pay attention to all trail markings and safety signs.
- Move off the trail pavement whenever you need to stop.
- Bicyclists should ride single file.
- Keep pets on a short leash and under control at all times. The best place for pets is on the right shoulder of the trail, next to their owner.
- Private motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs) are not permitted on the trails.
- Trails are usually not cleared of snow and ice. If you choose to use the trails during the winter, always be alert for any snow or ice and exercise extreme care in your use of the trails.
Security on the Trails
- Colored and numbered locator signs are installed along most trails to aid in emergency situations.
- Serious crime can occur anywhere, including on trails and in parks. It is important to make special efforts to protect ourselves and discourage crime.
- Choose a safe time and place to exercise, and exercise in well-populated, well-lighted places. Be aware of any personal safety problems in the area(s) in which you exercise. If in doubt, check with the Arlington Police. The Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail south of Columbia Pike and the Route 50 Trail east of Glebe Road are highly visible trail sections and readily observed by neighboring residents and passing motorists.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will return; better still, exercise with a buddy. Bicycling and running clubs often organize group rides or runs and can help individuals find training partners.
- Keep fully alert and aware of your surroundings while exercising outdoors. Refrain from wearing headphones and other devices, which diminish your ability to hear.
- Immediately report any suspicious or criminal activity witnessed to the Arlington County Police. Telephones have been installed along many trails and in parks that permit emergency calls at no cost (911 calls only). Symbols on the map indicate general locations of the telephones. When calling Police or emergency services, try to be as specific as possible about the incident location. Special numbered and color-coded markers will soon be installed along the trails to aid callers in identifying their location.
- Arlington County has undertaken a trail safety improvement program of increasing lighting, reducing vegetative cover, installing emergency telephones and increasing surveillance on the trails.