5. Adopt Your Theme

Your GOAL is to change behavior on the trail.

People need a constant reminder of the message:

“Slow & Say Hello!” – Show it here, there & everywhere!

Slow & Say Hello!

A great example of a constant reminder is “Leave No Trace” – these three words have become embedded in the minds of most outdoor enthusiasts across North America.

Bringing “Slow & Say Hello!” into your messaging will have the same result!

Go ahead – adopt “Slow & Say Hello!” as part of your message. Display it prominently whenever & wherever you can.

Why “Slow & Say Hello!”?

We realized that hikers almost always pause to say “hi” or talk with other hikers. So, the original Trail Partners group settled on this as our theme.

Aha sign with lightbulb

We also realized that talking reduces stress and increases safety between trail users. Which led to an important best practice:

No one set of rules or ‘right of way’ always works.

Two hikers exchanging a greeting.

When passing, interact with each other to establish what is safe at that place and at that time. It can be talking, or simply a nod of response, but it must be two way – yelling a command isn’t two-way communication.

This implies that trail users must adapt their actions to differences in terrain, sight lines, the other people involved, and other factors to proceed safely.

Two bikers stopped for a passing equestrian.

Sometimes it makes sense for bike riders to move aside for horses.

Other times it’s better for the horse to move aside and let the bikes pass.

Equestrians and bikers moving along the same trail, slowly, in different directions.

…and sometimes ‘standard rules’ simply don’t apply…

Man on horseback carrying a bicycle while attempting to cross a river.
(Photo by Kirsten Kosa)
The individuals involved should decide what is safe at the place and at the time.