The Washington, DC area has a great network of off-street trails which are shared by cyclists, walkers, joggers, and others. For a list of trails, see the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's Trails page.
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
Some tips compiled by Arlington County:
- 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.
- 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
Compiled by Arlington County:
- Serious crime can occur anywhere, including on trails and in parks. It is important to make special efforts to protect yourself 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.
- 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 you 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 police. Telephones have been installed along many trails and in parks that permit emergency calls at no cost (911 calls only). When calling Police or emergency services, try to be as specific as possible about the incident location. Colored and numbered locator signs are installed along many trails to aid in emergency situations.
Trails in Fairfax County – Trails serve multiple purposes including exercising, walking, jogging, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, bird-watching, and equestrian use. They also provide safe, alternative, non-motorized transportation routes to destinations such as places of employment, education facilities, commercial establishments, and recreation locations.