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Dallas Unveils Trail Safety Campaign

Happy Trails Safety Signs on Katy Trail

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – The Dallas Parks Department is rolling out its "Happy Trails" safety campaign. The 82 thousand dollar public education campaign comes after the death of a jogger who collided with a bicycle on the Katy Trail last year. KERA's BJ Austin says the campaign urges people to practice good "trail etiquette."

Austin musician Junior Brown provides the familiar tune for the Happy Trails Safety campaign. Cowboys Hall of Famer Roger Staubach lends his voice to the radio and television public service announcements. 450 new safety signs are going up along all of the city's hike and bike trails. They're brightly colored, smiley-face emoticon-style signs with safety messages such as: Look Before You U-Turn; and Go Safe Speed.

At the City Hall kickoff of the campaign, Beth Huddleston, a Friends of the Katy Trail Board member was hopeful the new safety signs along the trails will prevent another tragedy.

Huddleston: I think it's going to make a great difference. I think the visuals are really very current, and I think people can respond to them without even having to read the signs. I think it's going to be good.

But on the Katy Trail, cyclist Diane Golden is not so sure.

Golden: You know the one we were looking at with the smiley face and the little musical notes -- it's kinda cutsey but I couldn't really tell what it was trying to say to me. I know that it was referring to having your headset on and listening to music.

The text says: Listen for others. Eric Paey, walking his dog, likes the new campaign. He says knowing and following trail etiquette is extremely important.

Paey: I was on the trail the other day when somebody got hit by a bicycle. There was an ambulance on the trail and everything.

Dallas Police say bike officers patrol the trails during peak-use hours, and are there to promote safety, not as "enforcers" of the rules. There is no speed limit on the trails. Organizers say the campaign encourages "personal responsibility" for "Happy Trails" in Dallas.

Email BJ Austin