Author Topic: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??  (Read 3392 times)

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Offline CMajernik

Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« on: September 24, 2012, 04:08:59 pm »
Has anyone had an emergency on a paved rail-trail where you had to get an ambulance to come pick up the injured person? Can ambulances or other vehicles drive on rail-trails? We had this question from someone and I'm curious to find out if anyone has dealt with this issue.
Carla Majernik
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Adventure Cycling Association
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Offline John Nelson

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 04:41:15 pm »
I have not personally been involved, but I have seen it. During Ride The Rockies one year, on the paved rail-trail from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, a rider crashed requiring an ambulance. The ambulance came right down the trail (we all had to move out of the way) and picked up the injured rider.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 07:08:44 pm »
This thread over at Bikeforums talks about emergency vehicles on the Sammammish River Trail in the Seattle metro area:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/846761-Sad-day-on-the-Sammamish-River-trail-today

Offline JayH

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 07:12:14 pm »
I've been on some newer railtrails here in the northeast that have barriers to prevent cars from going down the path (which is wide enough for a car) but the barriers obviously can be lowered so it is certainly feasibly for an ambulance to get through in an emergency.  Some rail trails though have permanent structures so there would be no way for a car to get through.

Jay

Online RussSeaton

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 09:24:44 pm »
The rail trails in the Des Moines area have had the ambulance on them to get me.  Another time it did not come down the trail and I had to walk a few hundred yards to get to the ambulance.  So it must depend on a variety of things.  But the ambulance can get onto the trail and will if needed.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2012, 10:28:02 am »
I've seen a cop car on the Torrey C. Brown Trail, formerly known as the Northern Central Railroad Trail (NCRT) here in Maryland, so I assume that an ambulance would be allowed access.  I should note that the car in question was not one that had jurisdiction for normal patrols of the trail.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2012, 10:56:41 am »
Have seen them on several occasions on the Schuylkill River Trail, which is used on your spur into Philadelphia and which is the I-95 of trails in this area.

By "can" I assume you mean is it physically possible. Access and response time could be affected by remoteness and surrounding topography. For example, the 23 or so mile trail through the Lehigh Gorge State Park has only a few access points. The Pine Creek Gorge trail is another one that comes to mind. Trails are often managed by government agencies or authorties who be expsoing themselves to liability if they were to unduly hamper emergency vehicle access with things like bollards that cannot be quickly removed.

Regarding "may," I have seen numerous trail rules publications that prohibit motorized vehilces except emergency response and other similar vehicles.

Offline wbst31

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2012, 08:44:10 pm »
I recently retired from a local fire department in South Fort Myers, FL. We covered a popular biking trail, John Yarbrough Linear Park, as Rails-to-Trails, have limited vehicle access. We have in the past pre-planned each section of the park for emergency vehicle access points and path obstructions, ie pedestrian bridges only.

Each section has been designated by intersecting roadways that allows us to place the caller’s location for emergency access points as per our response plan for that section of the park.


John Yarbrough Linear park:

http://www.leeparks.org/pdf/Lee%20County%20Tour%20de%20Parks%20Route%20Bike-Walk-Recreate.pdf

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2013, 11:42:21 am »
Speaking as a park ranger and an EMT (and also a National Mountain Bike Patroller), all trails, paved or unpaved, should allow exceptions for emergency situations. Our community recently built a corridor trail linking the two largest cities in the county, and although it is specifically designed to keep ATVs and snowmobiles (as well as cars and trucks) off the trail, the barriers are removable in an emergency. The local fire departments and sheriff's rescue squad have ATVs set up for patient transport. The biggest issue with modern ambulances is their width. (No pun intended.) Most paved and gravel trails are 8 to 10 feet wide. So are most modular (box-style) ambulances.

A few years back, we had a rider thrown from a horse deep inside our park, with had a possible broken back. Our trails are all 8-foot wide gravel/natural surface. The duty ranger and the local fire department used ATVs to access her and transport her out to the waiting ambulance. I think most, if not all communities have plans for this kind of occurance when trails are built. There would probably be major liability issues if they did not do so.

Ride safe,
Hans
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 04:21:37 am »
Speaking as a park ranger and an EMT (and also a National Mountain Bike Patroller), all trails, paved or unpaved, should allow exceptions for emergency situations. Our community recently built a corridor trail linking the two largest cities in the county, and although it is specifically designed to keep ATVs and snowmobiles (as well as cars and trucks) off the trail, the barriers are removable in an emergency. The local fire departments and sheriff's rescue squad have ATVs set up for patient transport. The biggest issue with modern ambulances is their width. (No pun intended.) Most paved and gravel trails are 8 to 10 feet wide. So are most modular (box-style) ambulances.

A few years back, we had a rider thrown from a horse deep inside our park, with had a possible broken back. Our trails are all 8-foot wide gravel/natural surface. The duty ranger and the local fire department used ATVs to access her and transport her out to the waiting ambulance. I think most, if not all communities have plans for this kind of occurance when trails are built. There would probably be major liability issues if they did not do so.

Ride safe,
Hans

Backboarded on an ATV???
ACA Life Member 368

Offline TwoWheeledExplorer

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Re: Emergencies on paved rail-trails??
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 07:10:32 pm »


Backboarded on an ATV???

Yep, it was a rescue ATV, set up for patient evac, sort of like this one:
The Two-Wheeled Explorer: Ride the River
www.twowheeledexplorer.org
"Every person has a river to ride...you are to Ride the River."--Pr. Larry Christenson