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Do you know the Greenway rules'

Even on the Bear Creek Greenway, there are rules. The problem is some people don't seem to know them.

Walkers wince as bicyclists whiz by without announcing their presence. Skateboarders dodge dogs wandering at the end of long leashes. In-line skaters blast around blind corners only to find a phalanx of cyclists coming right at them.

There have been some near misses, said Joy Olson, executive director of the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation. When you've got bikers and walkers and skateboarders and runners and people with their dogs and you've only got 8 feet of space, everybody has to follow some basic rules.

The Foundation is leading the fund-raising campaign to complete the 18-mile pedestrian-and-bike path that will eventually link all the communities along Bear Creek between Ashland and Medford. In the meantime, Olson and other Greenway supporters hope a new rules of the road video will teach bike path users how to do the right thing on the busy path.

— Charter Communications produced the 30-second public-service announcement, which began airing on local cable TV broadcasts Wednesday.

I'd like to run it for an entire year, said John Flores, general sales manager for Charter. We'll try to run about three spots per network per day.

The video demonstrates good Greenway manners by depicting ordinary walkers and cyclists modeling appropriate behavior while a voice-over explains the rules. Basically the message is simple: Keep to the right except when passing, pass on the left, and always announce your presence when overtaking someone.

The trail is like a highway, Olson says in the voice-over. Those on foot always have the right of way.

The bike path has attracted more users in recent years even though six miles of trail remain unbuilt. Olson estimated that about 40 people per hour use some part of the 12-mile path during an average daylight hour, but she has counted as many as 188 people on the path in an hour on the heavily-used section around Medford's Bear Creek Park.

I couldn't believe all the people I met at 9 o'clock in the morning on a work day, said Eileen Adee, a frequent walker on the Greenway and a member of the Foundation's board of directors.

A yellow line marks the center line on the path, but Olson said groups of people often walk or cycle three or four abreast, filling the 8-foot pavement and leaving no space for anyone going in the opposite direction.

Olson said cyclists can warn walkers and joggers of their presence simply by saying passing on your left or tinkling a handlebar-mounted bell.

She said dogs cause problems when their owners let them run at the end of long leashes. A leash that stretches across the full width of the bike path can easily trip up a hiker or a fast-moving skater.

Dogs should be on a short leash, Olson said. No more than 6 to 8 feet, and then they should be kept on the right side of the path.

Trail etiquette is a sensitive issue, Olson said, because nobody wants to come down too hard on people getting their exercise and enjoying time outdoors.

It's kind of difficult to deal with this without sounding a little pompous, she said.

Minding your Ps and Qs The Bear Creek Greenway Foundation encourages everyone on the bike path to follow a few simple rules:

Yield to pedestrians. Pedestrians always have the right of way. Cyclists, skateboarders and in-line skaters must yield to pedestrians.

Keep right and pass on the left. This is the same basic rule of auto travel.

Announce yourself before overtaking someone. When approaching from behind, say Passing on your left or sound a bell. Just a brief ding-a-ling is plenty.

Watch your pets. Keep pets on a short leash. Walk pets on the right shoulder of the path. Clean up after your pet.

From Trail Etiquette for the Greenway, a handout card produced by the Greenway Foundation.

The Bear Creek Greenway Foundation is setting about educating Greenway users about trail etiquette Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven