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Know trail etiquette

I hosted a touring bicyclist from warmshowers.com last night who was riding the Katy to Machens going home to Memphis. He left Memphis in June and rode to the San Juan Islands and headed back to Memphis. The point being, I drove him and back to the Katy and we rode together to Matson trail head where we parted ways. But about 200 yards west of the trail head, a van pulled across the trail and completely blocked the trail. When we got closer we saw abot 20 Boy Scouts and 7 adults on bikes. They stated riding 2-3 abreast. When we caught up with them and blew our horns and told them we were passing on their left, they all ignored us and kept riding. Then when we got to the Matson trail head, they gathered around in a circle and blocked the trail again. I told them they should get off the trail and not block it because people where trying to walk and ride past. The Scout Master just ignored me and keep up his talk. If this is the way they are teaching Boy Scouts now, it is pretty terrible. Please, the Katy is not Wal-Mart. Learn trail etiquette before going to the trail. Stay to the right of trail in single file and pass on the left. Also either warn the people you are passing by saying on your left or sound a bell, horn, or anything to let the people know you are passing.
posted Nov 4 2012 8:27AM - Jerry, Union, MO

In several thousand miles of riding on the KATY I have way too many similar negative experiences with poorly informed (or downright rude) Scout masters. Ridiculous. (To be fair, not all Scouts I have encountered fit this category, but way too many.)

Evidently, the goal of some Scout masters is to teach their kids that they are the only people on the planet and that everything centers around them. That's useful. NOT!
posted Nov 4 2012 8:48AM - Anonymous

I really believe most new people to the trail either to walk, run or bike do not know there is actually etiquette or basic traffic type rules. I believe they think it is just a large area gathering park, like the Scoutmaster believed, where if they want to talk or meet or stop on the trail with their bikes parked in the middle of the trail, they just stop. I see it all the time on the Katy Trail. And left passing or moving over in a single line, this is advanced training to these people. I believe there are postings at the trailhead and along the trail that shows these simply rules.
posted Nov 4 2012 12:26PM - DSD

Listen up boys,
There is this thing called THE SCOUT LAW, it has 12 points that a scout is to try to live up to, points 3,4,5,and 6 are; A scout is ... Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind....

That goes for the Scout Master also. But, who knows, maybe these days they don't go for that cornie old "citizen of fine character" stuff.

Hey, at least they didn't spend the weekend playing "kill everybody and everything" computer/video games.
posted Nov 4 2012 4:59PM - The Ol' Geezer Scout, Jefferson City, Mo.

Wow! I thought it was just a random thing. Maybe we should contact the National Boy Scouts and remind them about their own rules...not Wal-Marts! And yes, the rules are posted at each trail head. It is also just plan old common sense. And while I am at it...people...take your damn dogs off the trail before they poop. Or pick it up and get it off the trail. It looked like poop mines for 15 miles saturday morning. Just wait until horses are allowed on the whole trail. Maybe the rude and inconsiderate Scout Masters will fall in the horse poop!
posted Nov 4 2012 7:36PM - Jerry, Union, MO

I've had both good an bad experiences with scouts.

The Good: My buddy and I were all set up in Pilot Grove when a group of sbout 50 scouts rolled up in a bus to camp, and get a bike riding badge the next day. I thought "Oh crap..." They turned out to be great. They even shared a hot breakfast with me in the morning.

The Bad: Camping (not on the Katy) when all the kids went to bed, the leaders stayed up talking. One guy had a voice that carried, and carried, and carried. No problem with the kids, but I sure wish that guy would have either shut up, or gone to bed before 2 in the morning.
posted Nov 4 2012 10:50PM - ArkyKenny

I know everyone seemed to think the monster bash a couple of weekends ago was great fun, but there were a lot of people on the KATY that day that had no idea how to share the trail with others, let people pass them, let others know they were going to pass by saying "passing on the left" or acting like adults. I know it was supposed to be a fun day, but rude inconsiderate behavior is never fun. I guess bad biking etiquette is a sign of the times, but it just should not be.
posted Nov 5 2012 12:07AM - Cathy, Jefferson City

I agree Cathy. It seems people are just too into themselves. I guess that is why so many stupid reality TV programs are on the air. It is all about "in your face" nonsense. I don't think you can expect people who will watch "storage wars, pawn shop wars, beard wars, etc" to have consideration for others. I would rather watch dead grass grow! I have also noticed once there are no signs and yellow lines for people to follow, they are completely lost. Be it a trail, shopping center, or the water. Come on people, it is not hard to courteous and respectful to others.
posted Nov 5 2012 7:38AM - No consideration for others

OK, I know scouts (and their leaders) tend to be a little proud of themselves. I once encountered a scouting group camping on Bell Mtn that really seemed to have little care or even awareness that there were others up there with them.

Having said that, the trail is for everyone and the minor inconvenience of having to (egad!) slow down or even stop is just not worth getting worked up about. Jerry, you may know the Washington Riverfront Trail and a bit of controversy brewing over there. People tired of bikers whizzing past at unsafe miles per hour. Bikers tired of dolts who don't understand they should simply "get to the right." Maybe I'm too egalitarian but these trails aren't built and reserved just for us fast riders who know the rules. They're built for everyone, and that includes 2-year olds who can't drive a straight line and old folks who can't hear nor maybe even see you coming. I used to get slightly irritated when I couldn't cruise the Washington trail at 18 mph and not see the Red Sea part for me. Now I yield to the clueless, because it's their trail too.

Chill out. A few Scouts crowding the trail might be thoughtless, boorish and inconsiderate, but maybe a kid or two might come back out the following weekend and learn something.
posted Nov 5 2012 10:31PM - Hank, New Haven, MO

Hey Hank, I called out over 100 times and blew my horn and the other rider rang his bell. I don't need to chill out. And I can't ride 18 mph on the Katy trail. I tried to explain to the scouts and the scout master about trail etiquette. You really do not understand the situation. Blocking the entire trail with a van for several minutes unloading equipment when the parking lot is just a few feet away. Riding 3-4 abreast and when someone ask you to move over and just being ignored. No, I don't need to chill out. People need to start paying attention and at least try to follow some rules. And they were not 2 years olds but 12-15 year olds and 7 adults. And as far as coming back out next weekend to learn something, I hope it is trail etiquette and being polite in general. It is just palin out rude, inconsiderate, and unresposible the way they acted. And if you condon this kind of behavior, that in itself is kind of sad.
posted Nov 6 2012 7:17AM - Jerry, Union, MO

palin? I meant plain.
posted Nov 6 2012 7:21AM - Jerry, Union, MO

I don't condone that behavior at all. It IS thoughtless, boorish, inconsiderate, as the kids say FAIL. And as I said, I too have experienced scouts who exhibited this curious scout gene. Maybe it's one of the badges they give: "Inconsiderate behavior in public places." My only point is I'd rather they be on the trail than not on it. And if their idiot scout leader has to park on the trail to unload their bikes, oh well.

I do get tired of some of the uppity talk regarding the Washington Riverfront Trail. I've taken my kids on that trail in training wheels, and yes I watched over them like papa bear to stay to the right but now and then they might have swerved over the line a bit. They learned to bike on that trail, learned to run on that trail. We don't manage the trail for the dude in spandex, we manage for everyone. But yes now and then the grandma convention walks four abreast blocking the trail. As I say I used to get irritated at this and in a small way still do, but frankly I get more irritated by this uppity attitude from the "real" cyclists who snip at anyone who dare get in their way.
posted Nov 6 2012 7:48AM - Hank, New Haven, MO

I am a 60 year old man just out for the exercise. I do take offense to you calling me a person with an uppity attitude. You don't know me at all. I would like to meet you in person though to finish this discussion. I am the ole gizzer on a cheap dsb Schwinn..it is black an white. If you happen to see me on the trail..just give me a shout. Maybe I can really irritate you then. City slickers and now people have uppity attitudes. And I was talking only about the Katy Trail, not the Washington Riverfront Trail. So I really do not know what you were talking about.
posted Nov 6 2012 9:19AM - Jerry, Union, MO

Did I say you are uppity?

Just forget it.
posted Nov 6 2012 2:00PM - Hank, New Haven, MO

Aww...nothing like a good "pissin' match" (as my grandpa used to call them) to create a little excitement on the Comment Board.

Glad we all care about the KATY. Enjoy gentlemen and ladies.

posted Nov 6 2012 3:56PM - Anonymous

Yeah that scoutmaster was a jerk for dragging those boys out and trying to do something with them. And their bad behavior slowed everyone down what an entire 60 seconds maybe? Were they wrong and discourteous? You bet. But I'm willing to cut anyone some slack that is willing to try to corral a group of energetic impulsive youngsters. They don't write a handbook for that kind of thing.
posted Nov 7 2012 4:54PM - Anonymous

Just like some idiot...jumps in with his very limited knowledge of a situation and spouts off. Oh well, I have to ride my bike, a$$wipe.
posted Nov 7 2012 6:25PM - Up yours

Well here's a choice. Would I rather share the trail with a profane 60 year old with anger issues or a group of scouts.
posted Nov 8 2012 8:51AM - Anonymous

Both of you stop it right now! For crying out loud this is a discussion about trail etiquette and you are both being rude. And if either of you says, "He started it!" I'll take your computer and iPhone and send you to your room.
posted Nov 8 2012 8:36PM - Cathy, Jefferson City

It seems ironic that in a discussion about etiquette and politeness the OP called out another participant to "finish the discussion in person",resorted to name calling and profanity.

Those scouts were in the wrong. No doubt about it. So are family groups that stop for water & snacks spread across the entire trail or let their kids meander and stop without warning to investigate a rock. But I'd rather see them using the trail than not.

I think a little polite education and being a good example can go a long way toward increasing awareness. For a lot of people riding a bike is not regular experience and combining that with trying to control a group of kids might present a handful for them.

I don't see why anyone would park a van across the trail. That is just stupid. But I hate to see this break down into a scout bashing exercise. For years I was involved with scouting including a long stint as Scoutmaster. I was always aware of the impact my energetic little group behaved around others. Did they ever get out of hand? Lots of the time. And I was right there bringing them back into line. I'm sorry the subject Scoutmaster and his adult leaders weren't doing that also. They aren't represent scouting's values well at all and the boy's learned nothing about appropriate behavior from the experience.
posted Nov 9 2012 10:28AM - Russ, St Louis

Just to be clear in following this drama, was "up yours" the scoutmaster or Jerry? Ha!!!
posted Nov 11 2012 3:20AM - DSD

Shame on you DSD. The dog is asleep! :)
posted Nov 11 2012 6:01AM - Darrell, Jefferson City, Mo.

You should got their Troop number and city they were from and posted it. Nothing like giving them their 15 minutes of fame. :)
posted Nov 12 2012 1:21PM - David, Denver

It happens! So much discussion over one act of possible misintended trail ediquitte. The gavel should come down on this discussion; horrific misdeed intentional or not. Be slow to judge another based on someone elses opinions or observations.
posted Nov 12 2012 4:45PM - rich lauer, McKittrick

Tags: Matson, Machens, Hiking Modify Tags

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