Safety on the Trail

shareduse.jpg

A "Letter" to Capital Crescent Trail Users

As a result of your hard work and generous contributions our trail is a beautiful and heavily used success. Bikers, bladers, joggers, runners and walkers, commuters and recreational users of ALL SPEEDS and AGES enjoy its 'car-free, park-like setting'. Unfortunately 'car-free' does not mean 'danger-free' and success has brought congestion and thus increased danger to the trail. Serious accidents involving hospital convalescence and police investigation have occurred.

Our trail has over 1 million users per year, is quite congested at times, and has users moving at a wide range of speeds, from 1-2 miles per hour up to 20-25 miles an hour (excessive but real). We have been experiencing more serious accidents on the trail and we urge ALL users to exercise greater caution, courtesy and alertness.

Please follow the safety tips below:

All Users:

  • Stay ALERT, keep your ears OPEN
  • Stay to the right, on your half of the trail, except when passing
  • Do not go 3 or 4 abreast if that crosses over the center line
  • Do not stop in the trail - move aside
  • Look behind you from time to time
  • Pass only after looking behind you
  • Give a clear warning before passing
  • Pass only on the left
  • Pass only if you will have 2 feet of clearance from others
  • When it's dark, wear reflective clothing so others can see you
  • When it's dark, use a light so you can see others AND so they can see you
  • When entering the trail, look both ways and yield to those on the trail
  • Yield to others at crosswalks
  • STOP at stop signs, there may be dangerous car cross-traffic

Parents:

  • PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN, keep them to the right!
  • Do not let your children ramble freely across the trail
  • Stay immediately behind or to the left of your children

Bikers and Bladers:

 In addition to the "All Users" safety tips:

  • Keep a safe, reasonable speed - 15 MPH is the speed limit on the trail
  • Reduce your speed for congestion and slippery surface conditions
  • Be predictable
  • Wear a Helmet
  • Warn with a loud bell, whistle or voice at least 2 seconds BEFORE passing someone

Hikers and Walkers:

  • Do not read while on the trail - it reduces your attention to others
  • TURN OFF your music player, or at least turn it down, so you can hear passing warnings
  • If warned before being passed, you can call out "Thanks", or if there's time, "Thanks for the warning"
  • If NOT warned before being passed, you can politely call out "Please warn before passing"

Pet Owners:

  • Keep your pet on a very short leash (this is required by law!)
  • Keep your pet to the right
  • Treat your pet as you would a child

Class 1 E-Bikes are now allowed EVERYWHERE on the CCT

This NPS policy came out in August 2019 - it's unclear when rules for CCT changed.
This C&O Canal National Parks' Hiking and Biking page has details at the bottom.
Montgomery Parks has approved a policy change to allow Class 1 E-Bikes and many e-scooters on all their paved park trails, including the CCT. As of 10/15/2020, this change has not yet been publicized. For definitions of what is allowed, see the Montgomery Parks E-Bikes and E-Scooters Pilot Program web page. Mopeds and hover-boards are not allowed. Dockless rental users, PLEASE do not leave whatever you rented on a trail, where someone might run into it. Please park it off to the side.

Cyclists: Use effective lights to be safe after dark, but PLEASE, do not use a bright flashing headlight while you're on the CCT

Trail users are reporting that the flashing white strobe lights some cyclists are using as headlights can be disorienting and are very irritating. Cyclists, please use a headlight with a steady beam, aim it low (not straight out into other trail users eyes), and use a moderate brightness setting if possible. Bright and strobing lights for great for getting drivers attention on the road, but are just too bright on the trail. We are all safer if no one is confused or blinded by your lights.

For Emergency Telephone Numbers or to Report Unsafe Trail Conditions, see the Trail Contacts page.