Seven rules for playing nice on the Beltline

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AJC's Jill Vejnoska takes us on a bike ride on the BeltLine to show us how prevelant bells are becoming as cyclist and walkers/runners negotiate the public trail. We count how many times she rings her own bell. HYOSUB SHIN/HSIN@AJC.COM


On your left … !

… Whassat?

We’re being rude?

Good. Now you know how it feels. Plus, we've got your attention. So let's go over how not to be a total you-know-what on the Beltline, particularly the packed Eastside Trail. This Easter weekend promises to be beautiful, so unless you want to get your head bitten off like some cheap chocolate bunny, you'd best study this etiquette guide to sharing the Beltline with everyone and his brother. Plus, the brother's wife, her best friend, the friend's two big slobbery dogs, and … well, you get the idea.

1. Don't walk "wide." The No. 1 rule. The Beltline's paved portions measure 12-to-14 feet across. People walk, jog, bike and skate these corridors in both directions. If three or more people insist on strolling side-by-side, it can clog up the whole works on weekends and nicer days that draw crowds. So unless you're guaranteed of being totally alone out there (think: Super Bowl Sunday, right before kickoff), stick to walking in pairs.

2. Bikes don't rule. This ain't the Tour de Beltline, no matter how spandex-y your bike pants are. Ride at safe speeds (10 mph, tops) down the middle of the crowded corridor, don't weave around pedestrians recklessly and do give them verbal warnings (see No. 4) before passing. They might not know you're behind them and they always have the right of way on the Beltline. Yes, even the annoying, wide-walking ones.

3. But seriously, don’t walk wide.

4. "On your left" doesn't mean go left. Just the opposite, in fact. Everyone — bikers, runners, walkers — passes on the left on the Beltline. The passers call out "On your left!" and the passees edge slightly to the right to let them go by. At least that's how it's supposed to work. But you'd be amazed how many people mistakenly edge left instead. Splat! There's no Beltline right of way for nincompoops, people.

5. Keep moving. Nothing drives people crazier than other people standing around in groups and gabbing right on the Beltline. Yes, we know, it's the perfect opportunity for to show off your adorable three kids in strollers to someone you can't stand. Or maybe you've run into former neighbors you swore were in witness protection. Guess what? Nobody else cares! Either walk and talk, or step off the Beltline to conduct these touching reunions.

6. Keep moving … right to another Beltline trail. All those people jostling for space on the Eastside Trail might not realize three other perfectly lovely sections of the Beltline are open elsewhere in the city. Check out our insiders guide to them here.

7. Don’t walk wide. Just in case that wasn’t already completely clear.