The Trail Foundation unveils new safety campaign

Trail Safety DogsIf you’ve ever crossed paths with an over-exuberant dog at the end of a long leash, you’ll like the latest video from The Trail Foundation.

The video – starring a bounding dog and its less-than-attentive owner – marks the first of four safety messages from the non-profit organization, which works to maintain and improve the Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake.

The foundation enlisted the help of Sanders/Wingo, a local creative communications firm, to find out what trail users perceive as the biggest safety issues on the trail, and to launch a campaign to address those issues.

3 abreast

Their findings? Austin trail users worry about encountering dogs without leashes or on very long leashes, speeding bicycles, people who don’t call out “on your left” as they pass, and folks who clog the trail by moving down it more than two abreast.

Armed with that information, The Trail Foundation provided $7,000 in funding for Sanders/Wingo to create a series of short videos to nudge people into doing the right thing. Temporary on-trail signs reiterating the message have also sprouted along the path.

“I think what’s happened is use of the trail has grown so much over the last few years and people are not realizing we need to be ever more mindful of ways to politely share it,” says Susan Rankin, executive director of The Trail Foundation.

The first video hit the Internet last week. Watch it here.


“The response has been overwhelmingly positive, including the dog people,” says Rankin, who runs the trail with her own dog, a fluffy Australian Shepherd named Bonzer (slang for “wonderful” in Australia). “I think we struck that balance between funny and ‘We’re all out here together, let’s be safe.'”

Stay tuned. More videos are forthcoming.

After campaign wraps up, Sanders/Wingo will conduct another survey again, to see if the campaign made any impact on trail users.

Let’s hope it does.

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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