For those who were there, the Infamous Beltline Blowout Of February 2013 was a party to tell the grandkids about. But it was also probably the single largest mass violation of Beltline etiquette this city will ever see. Remember the drunken human tunnel? The jackasses who literally set up tables on the Eastside Trail? Granted, every Atlantan was a Beltline newbie back then, but it made one thing crystal clear: If the Beltline is going to work, its patrons would have to respect each other. Now, with spring in full glorious swing, there's a movement under way to stress what Beltline etiquette actually is — the dos and don'ts of Beltline engagement, if you will. (Officials are literally launching a "Trail Etiquette Campaign.") Still, it seems that many patrons are clueless. What gets your goat when you're trying to enjoy the trail? Wannabe Lance Armstrongs? Those happy, oblivious reunions of old friends in the middle of the path? Dog fights? When it comes to Beltline etiquette, we've culled recent reports to see what the law of the land actually is.
On peak days, Beltline officials report that more than 10,000 people come out to enjoy the Eastside Trail alone. To avoid aggravating (or seriously injuring) others, here are some key rules of engagement to keep in mind.
· Beltline leaders call it "minding the centerline." Pretty self-explanatory. Pick a side. Stay there.
· Call out "on your left," but do so politely, they say. Which is superior? Doing that, or dinging a handlebar bell?
· Leave the booze at home. Although anything in Solo Cups seems permissible. Also, the underbelly of the Freedom Parkway bridge appears to be popular for nefarious powwows.
· Taggers have gotten arrested, but they keep coming back, occasionally. Of course it's forbidden. As a general rule, tagging private property is a means of compensating for tiny genitals.
· Little known fact: There is no actual Beltline speed limit. But speeds should be governed by laws of basic human decency. No one is impressed that you can go 40 mph while weaving through little kids, Lance.
· Walking "wide" is not advised. The AJC reports that "wide" usually constitutes three people, side-by-side.
· Leaving Fido's feces on the trail, or violating leash laws, could spell a $100 fine. But many don't seem to care.
· The trail is technically closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. But we've heard of it being relatively populated as late as 3 a.m., especially on weekends.
· Drunken human tunnels are strictly forbidden.
· BeltLine rules of engagement [Atlanta magazine]
· Seven rules for playing nice on the Beltline [AJC]
· Trail Etiquette Campaign is Coming – Volunteers Needed! [Beltline]