Trail safety concern

As a frequent user of the Upper Yahara River Trail, both walking and biking, I’d like to thank the DeForest Municipal offices responsible for establishing and maintaining this scenic environment.

I also feel a need to call attention to a safety concern that, unfortunately, has become reality. I speak to the hill on the north end of the trail, between the 2.0 and 2.25 mile markers. When heading south, there is a 12% decline that meets with a bridge at the bottom.

Just a couple weeks ago a light rain fell as I reached the halfway point on my walk. I turned around and headed north, enjoying the refreshing mist/light drizzle. As I approached 2.0 mile marker near the south end of the bridge, I noticed a shirt lying on the decking. I thought someone had dropped it and I was going to put it in a visible place where the individual who lost it could easily spot it. As I neared, I noticed it was a shirt, shorts, and a bunch of blood. Shortly, DeForest Police and EMS returned to clean up the spot after putting a 12 year old boy in an ambulance after his bicycle skidded on the bridge decking.

The trail does contain signs that say decking is slippery when wet. I have biked 3,000 miles over the last 2-3 years and have put my bike down once. That was last year on the transition from pavement to decking during dry weather. It involved a, flat 90 degree turn and a very low speed. I suffered a few bumps and scrapes, but nothing serious.

The trail is being resurfaced this week. That will only increase speed going down the 12% incline. My speeds reached 20-22 mph while braking on existing, loose asphalt. Please join me to urge DeForest leaders to invest whatever it takes to replace first 25 yards on the north end of the bridge with non-slippery decking. Yes there is a cost, but nothing compared to the safety of our children and all Upper Yahara River Trail users.

Sheri Swokowski, DeForest

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