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Active Transportation and Trail Use During COVID-19


Walking and bicycling outdoors can boost your spirits and renew your energy reserves—essential benefits for Marylanders as we all deal with the physical, psychological, and logistical issues related to social distancing. Amid the stresses of COVID-19, seeking the solace of trails—or just walking outside of your home—may be an important strategy to combat cabin fever, get exercise, and experience nature. But MDOT wants to make sure that you are staying safe.

Our friends at the National Recreation and Park Association have provided the safe practices snapshot below. Read on for more statewide and local information.

COVID-19 MDOT Infographic

Image source: National Recreation and Park Association


Departments of transportation around the country report that trail use has nearly doubled in recent days. While we encourage active transportation and the safe use of trails and parks, please adhere to all Maryland State directives for public health and social distancing:

  • Refrain from using parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness.
  • Avoid trails that are crowded or where it is not possible to observe to the CDC’s six-foot distancing recommendation.
  • Do not linger at trail heads or on bridges. 
  • Do not gather in groups of more than ten.
  • Refrain from using playground equipment.
  • Bring water, and do not expect to use any public restroom or trash facilities. 
  • Be careful at trail intersections, and always look ahead to ensure you can allow at least six feet of distance to pass any oncoming trail users.
  • Check with your State and local parks departments before heading out to learn the operating status of trail heads and parking facilities, or other essential information that may be posted. Several state and local jurisdictions have had to cancel events and limit park access in response to COVID-19. 
  • Observe all new signage that may be posted at trails with information to keep you safe.
  • Continue to ensure compliance with all directives from Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of Health.

NOTE: In light of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, Bike to Work Day 2020 (originally scheduled for May 15th) has been either postponed or cancelled (depending on your county) until this coming fall. More information available from the Baltimore Metropolitan Council here

For more information about staying safe outdoors, or to learn more about State and local resources and efforts to keep Marylanders safe, please refer to the following abbreviated list:

Updates from Governor Hogan
Maryland Department of Health
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Bike to Work Day (postponed until fall)

Montgomery County Parks
Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks
Baltimore City Recreation and Park
Prince George’s County Parks and Planning

National Recreation and Parks Association
America Walks COVID Guidance
Rails to Trails Coalition COVID Guidance