DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – New signs popping up along Dallas’ Katy Trail this week are part of a city-wide campaign to make users more aware of safety. The city has more than 100 miles of hike and bike trails already, with that much and more to come. But with popularity comes congestion and even tragedy if people get distracted.
The Katy Trail—indeed all of Dallas’ trails—enhance the quality of life. But the death of a young runner last year, accidentally hit by a bicyclist, brought home how dangerous it can be just to take the trails for granted.
On Thursday the city’s Parks Department and a local ad agency unveiled a campaign to make all users more aware. Using the old Roy Rogers-Dale Evans themesong, “Happy Trails,” and roping in local notables for cameo appearances, like Mark Cuban and Ebby Halliday, they push the message that every trail user has the responsibility to share.
Jake Schoepfer of the Jake:Ferguson ad agency explains. “Because if evereyone takes an indidvidual responsibilitty to act properly on the trials we’re going to have happy trails throughout the city.” He adds, “What we really hope is that we have raised an awareness and consciousness of trail etiquette and trail safety. Signs don’t prevent accidents, people do, and it was a tragic accident and hopefuly this campaign will create more “withitness” among people so they’re more aware of their surroundings.”
Missing in the discussion was Lauren Huddleston, whose death on the trail prompted creation of a task force to come up Thursay’s campaign. But her death was not far from the minds of people using the trail today.
“Safety is the number one issue,” says Darvin McBreyer, an exercise physiologist who coaches people on fitness. He says the guidlines are a good start. “And the new icons and signs that are going to be installed look good and I think most people will have another level of awareness of what we need to be and that’s safe on the trail.” Trail runner Jack Manning agrees the guidelines are a help. “Basic courtesy is what the real key to it is. But making some rules in regard to speed, earphones….good, good idea.”
Bicyclist Jassen Alexander had a criticism. “I think the signs are too small, but somehtings better than nothing. I think people need to know what a safe speed is.” McBryer has his own thoughts about a safe speed for bicycists or any device with rollers or wheels. “When you look at the physics, 10mph is one of our safest speeds. I know some of our training cyclists are not going to like that but that’s the way physics works.”
CBS 11 was unable to reach the Huddleston family to see if members had any comment on today’s campaign. The city’s website is www.happytrailsdallas.com
, where more information is available and where “Happy Trails” merchandise can be purchased.
A portion of the merchandise proceeds goes to various groups supporting the city’s trails.