By John Ray
Take even a short spin on the NWA Razorback Greenway and you’ll quickly notice quite a few prominently-placed signs. Besides the official ones, there are several sponsored by the Specialized Real Estate Group in a well-intentioned attempt to educate cyclists and facilitate harmonious interaction on the Greenway.
I appreciate their effort, but after a number of conversations with my friend Brian Hirschy, I wonder if they go far enough. So let’s take a look at what the signs say, and what could be added to make them really clear.
Specialized Signs Say:
SLOW DOWN…and you might meet a friend. Speed up, and you might meet a tree.
RELAX…(Frankie says!) (Says the guy in a aero helmet riding in the drop bars. – OCA add)
ENJOY THE RIDE! Just remember you’re not the only one on the Greenway.
Share the trail. Or, “Make room on the trail for everyone. This is not the parking lot at Whole Foods.” (I dig the the guy riding a wheelie on the wheelchair! – OCA add)
THREE’S A CROWD: STAY RIGHT & ALLOW ROOM TO PASS. Because trail companions are like margaritas: having more than two at a time creates a huge headache.
You love your dog. So keep your furry friends close. Instead, how about, “Keep your furry friends close. We love your dog, but not as much as we love not crashing?”
Use a light at night. Could be, “Baby, you’re a firework! But that won’t make you visible on the trail. Use a light and a bell at all times.
Then there are the the official signs:
TRAIL SPEED LIMIT 15. Unless it’s dark, or rainy, or there are kids around, or the elderly, or dogs, or squirrels, or snapping turtles, or…
NO MOTOR VEHICLES (Looking at you, scoot jockey. Leave your moped at the frat house.)
TRESPASSING UPON RAILROAD TRACKS IS ILLEGAL AND DANGEROUS STAY ON TRAIL – Enough Said
TUNNEL AHEAD SPEED LIMIT 5 M.P.H. Could read, “Tunnel Ahead: Popular Spot for Spills. Slow Down and Frustrate the Squirrels Who Love to Laugh at a Good Crash-and-Burn.”
BIKEWAY NARROWS People and Things Don’t Be Extra Careful
BLIND CURVE KEEP RIGHT Assume Others Won’t
KEEP RIGHT GIVE WARNING WHEN PASSING: Even to the group of twelve deep in conversation while they slowly walk using both lanes; the college kid with headphones on and volume at full blast; the mom pushing a double stroller while walking a dog and talking on the phone; people on skateboards/crazy stand-up bike things/in motorized wheelchairs; through-hikers with loaded backpacks; ROTC regiments training at zero dark thirty; dogs, squirrels, turtles and skunks; even — maybe especially — other cyclists you intend to pass. (Bonus points for waving, scooting to the right and saying “Thanks!.” When coming around someone, give a pleasant double ring of the bell or a friendly “on your left.”)
We’re all in this together friends. So relax, and enjoy the ride.
Grace and peace, y’all.
So maybe to summarize my thoughts on this:
None of these make us safer nor is it helpful for conveying that actual rules and best-uses of the Greenway.
This signage and information could be so much more useful and informative:
My entries would be the following (John, Im curious what you’d suggest?):
– If you can’t hear anything but your Creed album blaring through your headphones, you’re making the trail system unsafe.
– If you are stopped anywhere and are completely taking up the trail, you are making the trail system unsafe.
– If you stop at all, simply step off to the side.
– Before you pass someone, make sure someone isn’t trying to pass you and make sure you aren’t being that guy trying to set KOM’s on the greenway.
– Don’t hang out under the bridges while in the middle of the trail – you’re going to get hit. (Unless you’re a troll)
– If you’re walking your dog off it’s leash, you are making the trail unsafe (And breaking a city ordinance).
– If someone calls out their position and intentions, they aren’t being a jerk! They are simply reminding you that they aren’t a mind reader.
But I guess “Relax” covers all of that, right? So, before I start to sound like that guy who is simply screaming at the clouds, I want to say that education is by far more important than the Greenway. Case study after case study show that cities who invest in bike friendly initiatives without investing equally in educating the public actually create a hostile and unsafe environment. While Specialized Real Estates signs are nobel, they aren’t informative or helpful NOR official. Im wondering if Fayetteville could do better? I wish they’d try, at least…
There is this video:
Someone let me know when they have ~7 minutes to sit down and watch a video about safety.
John, it’s been a while since I did the square to square and back.. Have they clarified the Bentonville square area any?
I don’t think it’s just a blonde thing.(well maybe it is) but that’s the main area I always got turned around at.
Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs
#$^%*(&’ up the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign