By Chris Allen
We are fortunate to live in a community that supports and encourages people to travel outside their motorized vehicles. Indeed, as the weather warms, you will see more and more Corraleños on foot, on bicycles, or riding and driving horses. Such activities have multiple benefits, not the least of which are better health and fitness, reduced vehicle congestion and wear and tear on our roads, less use of oil and gasoline and reduced air pollution.
To make everyone’s travel safe and enjoyable, it is important to think about how your journey affects the experience of those you encounter on the trail. To begin, there is an established hierarchy of yielding the right of way. Bicyclists yield to hikers and both yield to horses. Why is this important? When hikers or bicyclists decide to stop, they stop. When an equestrian decides to stop, that message has to be conveyed to another sentient creature, and both minds have to agree to stop. Usually this works, but sometimes it doesn’t. So, please, yield the right of way to that half a ton of horsepower, and everyone will be safer.
It is also important to let people know you are sharing the road. When approaching a horse, especially a horse and carriage, a friendly “Hello!” goes a long way to reassuring the horse that you are not a threat, that you are human. Likewise, if you are riding or bicycling and about to pass someone, a warm shout or the ring of a bell will insure you don’t startle that person.
If you are out with a dog, please make sure your animal is leashed and under control to avoid stressing the horse or person you are about to encounter. I bring my dog to the side of the trail and command her to sit quietly while the other traffic passes, whether a fellow dog walker, an equestrian or cyclist. If you pass someone whose dog is leashed, thank that person. A pleasant exchange will make everyone feel better.
Getting out of your car and sharing the road face to face with your neighbors and friends is a wonderful way to get to know your community. Have fun, say “thank you,” flash the thumbs up sign to encourage courtesy, and be safe out there.