We don’t care that it feels like 120 degrees with 300 percent humidity outside. It’s summertime, and that’s where we want to be. And in our neighborhood, one of the best outdoor spots is White Rock Lake. Unfortunately, since we all pretty much agree on this point, it gets a little crowded during the summer. So for all of us to coexist peacefully (and safely), there are some rules in place.

Some cyclists use the streets instead of the bike paths. Is this legal?

They can use roadways, but they have to abide by the same laws: stopping at stop signs and stoplights, yielding to the right of way and staying to the right; they’re not supposed to ride three abreast; and they’re supposed to wear helmets on trails and roadways. We’ve had a number of complaints about cyclists not obeying the rules of the road, so we’ve been making some fliers to make people more aware. We want every to come out and enjoy the lake and feel safe out there, but we’ve got to have everyone following the rules.

The dog park just northwest of the lake are a great place for pups to roam off leash. What about other grassy areas around the lake, such as Winfrey Point? Does the leash law apply there?

The dog leash law applies everywhere except in the dog parks, and I know that’s hard because people want to take their dogs out and let them run, but it’s a safety issue. We’re posting fliers at apartments around the lake to remind people that dogs are supposed to be on leashes, and we’re talking to vets in the neighborhood, too, to see if they’ll help us post the fliers just as a reminder.

Are there any rules on the water? Who governs boating and swimming, or does anyone actually get in the lake?

Swimming and bathing is prohibited out there — why specifically, I don’t know, but the levels of the lake change and the spillway can get really fast. The maximum power for a boat motor on the lake is 10.5 horsepower. We have White Rock Lake officers certified through the Marine Safety Enforcement Officer Course, and we have them trained to be on the lake so they can go out there.

What about having a dinner party with friends at one of the grills? Do any laws govern fire? Does the lake have a closing time?

The grills can be used for cooking, but any other open fires are prohibited by city ordinances. Park curfew is from midnight to 5 a.m.

Some days — especially on weekends — the parking lots fill up quickly. Can people park on the streets surrounding the lake?

Cars can park anywhere on the streets around the park as long as there aren’t signs that say residential parking only or no parking, and you can’t park in front of driveways or by fire hydrants. Also, cars are allowed to drive or park only on the roadways and in the parking lots. They’re not supposed to drive on the grass.

Are there any other safety issues around the lake?

We’re really working on a push to reduce crime through the summer, and we’re going to be taking some steps along with that to increase our bike patrol. The lake is by and large a safe place, and it’s enjoyed by a lot of people, and we want to make sure it stays that way. People will feel better when they see the officers on the trails more often, and we have a lot a officers who really love the lake, so that’s a good thing.


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