If you are a fan of Utah’s great outdoors, you may have seen all the hiking trails that wind through the countryside.  I really like the way the designers tried to keep as much of the natural rock formations as possible as the paved trails hug the cliffs and hills.  That’s the good part.  What still puzzles me is the people who ride and run on the shoulder of the highways instead of on the trails. Exhaust really enhances the workout.

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Evidently riding, running or just hiking on the trails is the training equivalent of using the bunny slopes at a ski resort.  In the history of the world, no one has ever been injured on the bunny slope but I drive some of the roads around here that run parallel to the paved trails provided by the state.  The scary part is that there is a hazard out here on the highway NOT found on the bunny slope.  Distracted drivers!!!

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a car, or more often – a truck, run off the road, across the shoulder and into the grass.  My guess is that they are texting.  I know they were not paying attention.  There are places where the shoulder is wide enough to accommodate cyclists who want to ride side by side.  But other places are REALLY narrow.  Imagine the conversation as the EMT is loading you into the ambulance when they ask, "Did you not see the nice trail over here?"  I would be filled with regret if I was hit by a car while jogging just a few feet from a perfectly safe paved trail.

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Most trails have a parking lot, restrooms and some have an air compressor to pump up your tires before you go.  I know marathon runners or triathlon competitors would never be caught dead running on “the bunny slopes” so everyone pay attention.  It’s not like the trails are crowded.  I often see a pack of 6 or 8 joggers on the shoulder of SR 18 while there is NO ONE on the paved trails.  For those of you who DO use the trails, be polite and don’t STAND in the middle of the trails when you stop to chat and have a drink.  And don’t stand on the LEFT.  It never fails, as a bike rider passes someone on the right, that person decides to move back to the right where they should be and there’s a wicked pileup. As you know, it is legal to beat that person with your water bottle.

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