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Opinion: ‘Goons’ wreck Burnaby trails by ‘getting touchy’ amid COVID-19

Keep your hands to yourself on local trails
A trail at Burnaby Lake. NOW file photo

“Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself.”

That lyric from the Georgia Satellites has been buzzing in my head the past few days since speaking to a couple of Burnaby trail users.

One frequents the trail around Deer Lake and the other the longer walk around Burnaby Lake. Both had a similar infuriating tale to tell in response to my recent column about smokers blazing up and blowing smoke at other walkers in the not-so-great outdoors.

“That’s nothing,” said T.C., who didn’t want their name used. “Try the goons who are always getting touchy with other hikers.”

Wait, what?

T.C. likes to walk at Deer Lake, but admits that some of the stretches are pretty narrow. The City of Burnaby has had the trail moving in one direction since last summer to keep people from having to pass each other and possibly blowing COVID-19 in someone’s face.

One problem is that many people are still ignoring the signs and walking the wrong way because they are entitled, ignorant or just plain stubborn. Others are walking in the correct direction, but going so fast they pass slower walkers.

“The problem is that they touch you when they walk by you on a narrow stretch,” T.C. said. “They either brush up against you or they literally put their hands on my shoulder and say, ‘excuse me, on your left’ as though it’s nothing. It’s insanity.”

First, if you are catching up to someone who is slowing and the path is that narrow, you should slow down and wait until it widens. Second, you should absolutely not make contact or be close enough to do so.

I don’t care if you have to step into a ditch to avoid them, you do it to ensure you are as far away as possible. I don’t care if it’s the outdoors, you can still spread COVID-19.

“I’ve had people touch me on trails as they go by,” says John. “Burnaby Lake has some wide trails, but people walk in groups sometimes and they don’t leave any room as they pass by and sometimes they make contact. I’ve made comments about this and they look at me like they have no idea there is a pandemic.”

Come on, people. It’s a trail not a mathematical equation – this is simple stuff. Sure, you’re outdoors, but make way.

Be paranoid.

Be vigilant.

Don’t be a goon.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.