Personal Injury on the Trail

Avoiding personal injury – Safety while running and biking on the Schuylkill and other Philadelphia trials

You are likely waking up and realizing that the weather is pretty nice today!  Even better, the forecast calls for sun all weekend.  Everyone has a bit of cabin fever right now, so I am sure you cannot wait to get outside.  Before you do go out and enjoy your weekend, remember that several local trails are still untreated or closed due to the harsh winter we have had in Philadelphia.  Avoid these areas, as the untreated conditions could potentially cause personal injury.  I have posted the untreated trails at the bottom of this blog. 

One other safety tip to avoid personal injury is to please avoid listening to loud music on your IPOD when you run or bike. Due to the amount of snow, branches or whole trees may break from the weight of ice.  NBC reported that a jogger probably didn’t know what hit her when a 30-foot long tree branch fell and killed her as she was running near Valley Green in Fairmount Park. She was wearing an IPOD, which was still playing, when her body was found, police said. Don’t let this happen to you.  Make sure you can hear what is going on around you to avoid personal injury, and even death.

Below is a list of the trails you may want to avoid, in order to prevent personal injury, as well as trails that are clear.  This list is from the Schuykill River Heritage Area website.

  • Berks & Schuylkill Counties (Thun & Bartram Trail Sections): No winter maintenance. These sections of the Schuylkill River Trail are managed by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, which performs no winter maintenance. That means it is never plowed, so people use it for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when snow is on the ground. Since there’s still plenty of snow and ice on the trail, it will be a while before its clear for biking or walking. Also, no winter maintenance means there could be branches and even downed trees across the trail. Maintenance will begin on this part of the trail sometime in April.
  • Riverfront Park in Pottstown: Plowed. The small piece of trail that runs along the river in Pottstown’s Riverfront Park is cleared and suitable for walking on. However, heading west beyond the Keystone Boulevard Trailhead no plowing has been done (see photo on left by Trail Ambassador Dick Whitaker taken last month along Keystone Blvd in Pottstown.)
  • Chester County: No winter maintenance. The 5.7 mile piece of the Schuylkill River Trail in Chester County stretches from Parkerford to the Cromby Trailhead, located just above Phoenixville. It is not plowed or cleared of debris.
  • Montgomery County: Officially closed. The trail that stretches through Montgomery County is officially closed at this time, since it isn’t plowed, and there may be trees down across the path. No word yet on when it will open, since crews haven’t had a chance to assess the condition of the trail. That part of the trail is owned by the county and you can visit their website at
  • Philadelphia: Conditions vary. In Philadelphia, some parts of the trail are plowed and some aren’t.   Here’s the breakdown:
    • Manayunk: Not plowed.
    • Kelly Drive: Always plowed
    • Schuylkill Banks (between  Fairmount Water Works and Locust St.): Always Plowed
    • Grays Ferry Crescent: Not plowed.

Before you set out running or biking on this beautiful weekend in Philadelphia, I hope this blogs provides safety tips you find helpful, that ultimately prevent potential personal injury.  Have a great weekend!


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