Keep dogs off bike path |

Keep dogs off bike path

As dog lovers, we would like nothing better than to walk our leashed animals on Summit County’s paved bike path system. But we don’t, not because the law says we can’t, but because it’s too dangerous – at least this time of year.

The popular bike path, one of Summit County’s greatest assets, is a summertime jumble of experienced bikers, casual bikers, runners and hikers. Many conflicts already exist among users, including the dogs people take on the bike path, oftentimes without leashes.

Summit County government already has the correct rule in place – disallowing dogs on the paved surface.

Some intrepid souls try to follow the rule and walk their dogs on the side of the path, which is not really practical in some places. Thus we have the momentum to bow to the reality and let people who try to obey the law join those who don’t – and let leashed dogs on the bike path.

Ideally, dogs should be banned from the bike path in the summer, except for early morning or pre-dusk hours. Wintertime would be fine, any time.

But that gets into a lot of exceptions to the rule.

We suggest keeping the current rules in place, but not enforcing leash laws except during the prime hours of the day, when chaos and dangers often reign.

That the towns let dogs on their portions of the bike path is small reason to change. They should ban dogs, too, with selective enforcement.

The problem isn’t the dogs, it’s the owners who can’t control their pets and put them and others in danger.

We sympathize with the spirit of liberalizing the rules but don’t believe dog owners in general can live up to their personal responsibilities.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.

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