We live on an increasingly crowded planet and trails, whether we hike or ride them, are a refuge from the daily grind. And while these wonderful strips of bare ground in our open spaces help us escape from civilization, it often seems like the rest of civilization is escaping on them at the same time, creating the possibility of less-than-civilized encounters. This is where etiquette comes in. Etiquette isn’t just about holding out your pinky when you take afternoon tea; it has practical application on the trail. Even if you develop all the skill and fitness in the world, without proper etiquette, you can be a detriment to the sport. Before we hit the high points of trail etiquette, let’s look at a few reasons why etiquette is important.

1. The most obvious reason is simply being a good neighbor to other trail users. I could go on at length about everything from civilized behavior to karma, but this one should be self-explanatory.

2. Even if you’re not concerned about your fellow trail user, most rules of bike trail etiquette protect the rider as well. For instance, if you fail to yield to a horse, guess who wins? 1,400lbs of spooked animal can be a bit dangerous.

3. Even if you’re not concerned with your safety, trail etiquette is necessary to preserve access to trails and maintain the possibility of gaining access to new trails. Just like so much in life, a split-second decision for a quick moment of fun can have negative long term consequences–not just for yourself, but for all your fellow bikers. Not riding when it would damage the trail, or not ruining a hiker or equestrian’s outing, is a courtesy to your fellow bikers (and yourself) as well as other trail users.

Rules of the Trail

Trail Sign

While this sounds preachy, it’s really not meant to be. The good news is that we can fully enjoy the sport and be good trail neighbors at the same time. Even some experienced mountain bikers have never been exposed to proper trail etiquette; for the new rider, they may have no idea there is such a thing. Take the time to share proper trail etiquette with new riders when you can. The single best source of trail etiquette and the basics we should all adhere to is the International Mountain Bike Association. Below are IMBA’s rules of the trail: six easy steps to good multi-user trail relations:

1. Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.

2. Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

3. Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

4. Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.

5. Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

6. Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding, and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

A downhill rider yields to an uphill rider.  This same posture is proper for yielding to hikers as well.  Step off the bike and lean it to the side of the trail, simultaneously allowing the other user to pass while minimizing your footprint off trail.

A downhill rider yields to an uphill rider. This same posture is proper for yielding to hikers as well. Step off the bike and lean it to the side of the trail, simultaneously allowing the other user to pass while minimizing your footprint off trail.
Photo: RidgeToRivers.org

Additional Guidelines

Of course, not every situation you will encounter fits neatly into one of these six rules, and that’s where a little common sense, and more importantly, the willingness to be the “good guy” comes in. Also, each of the rules above is, at best, a generalization, and there are exceptions. What follows now is just one man’s modus operandi, and should not be taken as commonly-accepted practice. Just know that there are infinite variations, and you may have to improvise at any time. That’s where the “good neighbor” mindset comes in so handy.

Side note: I became an avid hiker at age 9 and didn’t get my first mountain bike until age 35. I have been an equestrian, even managing a tourist-oriented horseback riding stable and leading hundreds of trail rides on horseback. I have also at times been a motorcyclist/ORVer/ATVer, as well as a cross country skier. I have built miles of trail and maintained many dozens more. With this background, I believe my etiquette is well rounded and balanced.

Riding uphill is hard: that’s why the general rule is for the downhill rider to yield. After all, gravity’s going to get him going again pretty quick. However, if I’m riding uphill and I see a rider coming down who’s really in the flow, I may choose to not interrupt that flow and yield myself. Besides, it gives me a chance to catch my breath.

AZ St Parks

Yielding to horses ins’t just good etiquette, it’s also self preservation!
Photo: Arizona State Parks

Frequently, hikers will step off trail to allow bikers to pass. This is not the time to get off the bike and inform them that they need not yield. Some may not know the “rule,” yet others may simply wish to not disturb the biker’s flow and, unfortunately, some are just plain afraid of bikers. In the case a hiker yields the trail, a “thank you” goes a long way. Although the hiker has yielded the trail, you should still slow down, almost to walking pace. Not only does this minimize the disturbance to the hiker who has yielded, it gives you time to extend that “thank you,” and maybe even follow it up with a “have a great hike!” While some hikers are obsessively predisposed with hatred for cyclists, most truly appreciate this gesture.

When riding with a group, be aware of how many are behind you. As you pass a hiker, say “three more,” or whatever the appropriate number is. This gives the hiker (or other biker) situational awareness: it can be disturbing to step back out on the trail only to have more bikes whiz by. When riding alone, a “just me” will suffice to let the other trail user know the trail is once again clear.

Finally, many trails have a local flavor. Some trails may not be marked as uni-directional, but they have evolved into such over time by those who use them most. A little local knowledge also goes a long way. Take the time to research trails; reading reviews here on Singletracks often yields some good hints as to how to get the most out of your ride. Take the time to talk to the locals if you’re not familiar with a trail. I find most locals love to share their knowledge: they’re rightfully proud of their trails and want you to be impressed with them as well.

Oh yeah, one other thing which should go without saying: Strava is not an excuse to ignore any of the above!

trail sign 2

Trail etiquette continues to evolve. Here, it has been adapted to accommodate the fat bike in winter.

Your Turn: Do you have any additional tips for cordial interactions with other trail users? Share them in the comments section below!

# Comments

  • Jeff Barber

    Good timing! We’ve been going over the results of the Singletracks trail survey and “the basics” of trail etiquette may not be so basic after all.

    First, 37% of riders disagree that downhill riders should yield to uphill riders. Your logic is pretty convincing (momentum conservation is more important going up) but I wonder if the rise of enduro riding and/or Strava has flipped this in many riders’ minds?

    When it comes to yielding trail, equestrians get the biggest nod from survey respondents–but still, only 27% believe mountain bikers should yield to horses! It gets worse for hikers and trail runners (21% and 20%, respectively) and skiers (13% for XC and 10% for alpine). Only 7% of respondents said mountain bikers should yield to motos, though I’m not sure who has the right of way in this situation myself.

    • mtbgreg1

      Personally, if I’m climbing, I generally welcome a break to stop and catch my breath! I’d rather pull over and chill and let the downhill rider enjoy his descent, because TBH, I’d prefer for him to do the same when I’m coming downhill.

    • tlongpine

      I sympathize, but I hate getting knoecked out of rhythm when climbing.

    • KyChris

      I agree. The reward for the climb is the downhill. Let the DH guy have his fun.

    • cycling8r

      I’ve had guys get downright angry at me when yielding to them while they climb. Maybe I’m disturbing their rhythm or maybe they’re part of the 37%.

    • John Fisch

      The whole downhill/uphill thing has many facets. For me, it really depends on the specific situation. If I’m in the midst of a technically challenging climb where I’m trying to clean a particularly difficult section, I’m not going to want to yield to a downhill rider. In most other situations, I’m quite happy to yield to the downhill rider. The fact is, for most of us, mountain biking is supposed to be fun and, unless you’re a masochist, climbing is nowhere near as fun as descending. Consequently, breaking up a climb is not breaking up fun, where breaking up a descent is, so that’s the counterargument, which also has validity IMO.

      That’s why the whole bottom line is that so much is situationally dependent. Unfortunately, we always seem to need rules since so many forget what should be the first rule, which is just trying to be a good neighbor. In some cases, the rules may do as much harm as good. Such rules should be used as guidelines and, if we set egos aside, they should be more than adequate as such. Blind adherence to such “rules” may be the only way to prevent any conflict, but it’s a far cry short of what could be if we all think of the other guy as much or more than ourselves.

      As for motos, I always give them the right of way. I can hear them coming a mile away and have plenty of time to prepare and they pass by quickly. They, on the other hand, have no chance of hearing me, so if there’s blind corners, it’s just a matter of self preservation, as well as good trail etiquette. In addition to being a great mountain bike route, Captain Jack’s is a very popular moto trail and I encounter them often, especially on weekends. I’ve never had a problem– the vast majority of the motos I’ve encountered have been very courteous. It is also important to note that the moto club does most of the maintenance on Jack’s. In fact, many great biking routes were originally pioneered/built, and continue to be maintained, by moto riders. This awareness should make us thankful rather than resentful of their use of many routes we love for cycling.

    • 2_Salukis

      #1 etiquette rule of any set of etiquette rules is to avoid awkward situations.

      IMO the best way to do that for both riders to follow the “uphill has right of way” rule* UNLESS the uphill rider gives way. IOW, don’t assume that he or she will pull off, just so the DHer can have fun, because they already put in their “climbing dues,” because they’re in a groove, because the uphiller will appreciate the break, etc.

      *In CO, that’s consistent with the regulations for vehicles, where the ascending vehicle has the ROW unless it’s more practical for the uphiller to back into a turnout.

    • John Fisch

      “IMO the best way to do that for both riders to follow the “uphill has right of way” rule* UNLESS the uphill rider gives way.”

      That’s it in a nutshell right there. Many of us have said we may surrender the trail to the downhiller because we need a break, don’t want to break his flow, etc. This may even be a majority of the time. But it should not be demanded or expected by the downhiller. When it happens, be happy for your good fortune and thankful to your fellow cyclist (or other trial user), but when it doesn’t, do the right thing.

  • delphinide

    Great article with solid guidance. As you know, I ride in the front range and it gets pretty crowded. I too was a hiker before a mountain biker, and I’ve been a horse a few times–though I’d never do it on a crowded place.

    I notice that most hikers will yield to me as I am riding down, and I slow down to a crawl to thank them. One thing I am always puzzled about is who should really yield to a rider going uphill. I know the “rule”, but it seems like when I am struggling up a really steep pitch it would make more sense if everyone would just yield to any trail user coming up, no matter what they are on (unless it’s an e-bike, then I’d just push them over…lol). If it’s a vanilla climb, I often make an attempt to yield to hikers coming down, but I once had a trail runner come at me as I was getting over, extend his arms, zig zag on the trail, and “graze” me to show me that he owned the trail. He’s lucky I was in a good mood.

    If anyone doesn’t think you should yield to horses, you’re and idiot. Period. I don’t always agree horses should be on a particular trail because I see the damage they do, but if they are allowed, then it’s our responsibility to extend good trail etiquette.

    Apex is a wildly popular trail (Yeti tests their bikes there) and it has become an epicenter for trail use debate. It can be a gnarly fast descent, and I would personally admit that it is difficult to yield to anyone around some of the blind corners of the Enchanted Forest or through the rolling chunder–you have to maintain some speed or you will fall over and crash. Some think Apex/Enchanted should be one way (I agree, in the down direction) and some think bikers should be banned from using it altogether. If there is a possibility, there is a trail opinion. A few years ago, the hikers won a small battle that dictated that bikers can only ride one way (up) on odd days…which eliminated most riders because riding up Enchanted is futile and the opposite of fun on a bike. However, I found it interesting that there was no day or direction just to appease the majority of riders who prefer the downhill. Even more interesting, I would go ride down mid-morning on an even weekday, when it is empty–and I can go faster downhill, and I once had a an old man on an even older hardtail cuss me out who was literally pushing his bike uphill and refused to yield to me, even though I slowed down–a lot. I have written the JeffCo trail managers about making Enchanted/Apex one way down on odd days; I never heard back from them. Moot point now as a lot of the fun stuff is still closed after the flood last year.

    Another local trail, Centennial Cone, has days where only hikers can use the trails—but there are no such days for bikers. In fact, I am not aware of any local singletrack that is mountain bike specific.

    So, I am curious: what are your thoughts on having trails one way only, or one way on certain days to facilitate flow and speed for trails that really should be ridden in the down direction (Green’s Creek, Doctor’s Park, Porcupine Rim, etc…)?

    • mtbgreg1

      I find it pretty amazing that there are very few (no?) one-way trails on the Front Range. I’ve ridden other super-popular and very busy trail systems in other parts of the nation, and making the trails directional (or directional by day, so you can ride the trail both ways at one point or another, depending on what day you ride) really helps reduce trail conflicts. I’ve been to trail systems that will have a hundred cars in the parking lot but you’ll hardly see another soul on the trail–and that’s because everyone’s traveling in the same direction, and at roughly the same speed. Sure, you might pass a slow person or a fast guy might come up behind you, but unless you start in a big group of people, the number of passes will be extremely minimal.

      tl;dr: more popular trails should consider going to directional traffic.

    • delphinide

      Amen to that. Plus, it’s not uncommon to hit 30+ mph on some fast DH trails, even without pedaling. It’s pretty dangerous–for the rider– to stop sometimes, especially if you are going over a slow chunky section.

      What really gets me are the hikers who seem terrified because you do call out “on your left, and skid to slow/stop. It get that it can be disturbing to hear a skid, but sometimes you come up on someone tying their shoe in the middle of the trail around a blind corner–and the rider is suddenly the bad guy in their opinion. Actually this has never happened to me, but it seems to happen a lot to the guy I’m chasing–which is why I let him/her go first 🙂

    • John Fisch

      Directional by day is an excellent idea. When I first moved to Colorado Springs and started riding The Chutes, I thought it should be a downhill only trail. I then concocted a loop that would require riding up The Chutes and, surprise, I found it to be an excellent uphill route as well, perfect for getting the heart rate into a training zone. The Chutes invites lots of speed, but has plenty of blind corners, so to me, it’s prime for a directional by day scenario.

      Likewise, user group by day setups are also an excellent idea in areas where potential for conflict is high. My research shows they have been highly successful wherever employed. I hate the idea of banning any user group just to appease another when there are so many ways to deconflict.

  • mtbikerchick

    There are plenty of times when I yield to folks coming down a hill for the exact same reason you all mentioned: I’m tired! BUT a few weeks ago we were in the middle of climbing a steep hill on Mary’s Loop and a dude was coming right down the hill. Our friend ahead had already told him 2 riders were coming up and he didn’t seem to care. I certainly wasn’t stopping because I wasn’t in a position to; he was and didn’t. Fortunately he found a path between my friend and me and everyone went on their merry way. Still…if someone has already told you two riders are coming up and the general rule is that you yield to uphill riders, then you’re just a jerk if you don’t.

    The only other thing I’d add is that if you’re coming up fast behind me on a climb or a descent and want to pass, just say something! So many times I am just suddenly aware of a very fast person behind me and I’ve heard no bells, no “rider coming” or “on your left” or anything. Just let me know you’re there and I’ll be happy to get over and let you pass!

    Great article 🙂

    • delphinide

      I have people try to sneak up on me too, but I usually hear them, and keep pedaling unless they say something. Otherwise I’m content with them staring at my backside.

      Headphones are another issue I see sometimes, especially with bewildered teenage hikers out to “enjoy nature” with their parents. I have yelled at the top of my lungs before “on your left!!” and…nothing. I go by them with just enough speed that I would win if they suddenly duck in front of me.

      I notice with my friends, and probably in this article, that roadies generally have a different view than more aggressive riders. Most of my roadie friends will not concede on the uphill, and I have a friend who makes it a point to let everyone know she has the right of way uphill. I am a more aggressive rider, and generally, if I see people coming in time, I let them by…unless I am at a place where stopping means I have expend a ton of effort, or if I am scrambling up a technical section.

      About a month ago, I was climbing a really steep front range trail, and came to this narrow, steep, rocky, technical section. Some guy was just perched at the top of the section, sucking on a gel without a care in the world. I saw him from 25 feet away, slowed, and informed him I was coming through. I think he may have moved 2-3 inches into the line I normally take, and against my better judgement, decided to go for it. He didn’t bat an eye when I went down hard right in front of him, still sucking on his gel, obvious to the fact that his negligence caused me to slam my elbow into a rock (ouch), fall on my already broken finger (mega-ouch), and scratch my bike. No offer to help, no indication he was in the wrong…just a “you ok bro?”. I told him that he needed to help by getting out of the way. I wished I had just stopped, but I would not have had enough momentum and power to clear that section and my pride overpowered my judgement. I should have just run into him…which is probably what I will do the next time someone stops in the middle of a technical section and doesn’t yield to an uphill rider.

  • tlongpine

    This one is never really discussed, but it’s wise to give a rider engaged in a technical section wide clearance. Don’t force a particular line by being in the way.

  • JSatch

    i agree with the majority in the debate over ‘uphill has the right of way’. on steep or techie climbs, yes, stop and get out of the poor, suffering guys way. but ofttimes it’s not steep or technical, and often barely a slow, overall incline where ‘uphill has the right of way’ gets dangerous and why it may be better if newbies didn’t now that “rule”. a couple of things to consider: that rule has been around about as long as mtn biking. bikes back then had no suspension. compare that to current rockets that can fly over objects at high speed. now, on said gradual incline/decline how quickly and safely can someone coming down at 25-30mph move over and allow the ‘uphill’ rider his ‘rule’? how fast can the ‘uphill’ rider do the same at 1-2mph to allow the ‘downhill’ rider his flow? in short, physics has changed and challanges the safety of the rule. better not to have that rule than have a bad one.

    that said, i also agree with the majority that common sense is the better compass. gone are the days of both riders pulling over and arguing for the other to proceed. so, if on a slow incline, always give the dh rider the flow he climbed up for. he’ll be by you in a flash anyway, smiling and wishing you good fortune. and if on the dh, a rider struggling on a tough, steep climb is always fun to watch, so pull over and enjoy the show.

    • 2_Salukis

      Seems like that could be no better than a free-for-all. You think it’s not technical, I do. I think it’s not steep enough, you do. If there’s a problem during an encounter, we’ll both think we’re in the right and it’ll lead to conflicts and bad blood. And keeping newbies in the dark about proper etiquette IMO is never a good idea.

      The Uphill Rule has actually been around far longer than mountain biking. It applies to motor vehicles, 4-wheeling, and hiking as well. I’m not sure that the majority have said common sense is the better compass. My take away is that most think the rule is fine, but they acknowledge there are times when, as the uphill rider, they’re perfectly content to give-way to the downhiller for various reasons (including common sense based on the situation).

      That written, and to address your “how steep is steep enough,” again, for comparison, the CO vehicle rules are 6% grade. Obviously no one is going to get an inclinometer out to check and CO law doesn’t dictate nat’l MTBing, and I also haven’t seen any discussion about the appropriate grade for MTBing. So back to what I think we all can agree on, don’t be an a-hole about it and if you do have bad encounter, apologize if you should have given way according to the rule.

    • JSatch

      let’s readdress this then, shall we? if two objects are moving towards each other, one say at 30 mph and the other at 3 mph, which can more readily (shorter distance) and efectively (safely) stop and/or redirect? a command of physics is not required. further, how inconvenienced, in time, would each object be if they yielded to the other object? additionally, in mtn biking, which rider would have better traction to effectively yield, and which rider could better hear the other one approaching even prior to visual contact? these aspects may differ from motor vehicles and hiking, often dramatically and why, imo, especially considering the increased speeds of newer bikes, and thus the speed differential of the two opposing objects, the rule is not a good fit for mtn biking and it may be becoming worse. and this is completely independent of crushing flow.
      further, most old timers, like myself, always pull over, either side of the equation. i’ve never had an issue with other experienced riders, so free-for-all? not really. just pointing out the inadequacies of ‘the rule’.
      my argument is simply that yielding to the faster, louder approaching rider has its merits as a less dangerous approach overall, especially for newbies as they seem less aware of their circumstances. of course even this would be inappropraite if the uphill rider is actually going up a hill, i.e., 6%+ grade mentioned. again, experienced riders would always yield to such a rider. by incline, we often have long, erratic but long 0.5% grades that newbies consider ‘uphill’ because they are going slower. therein lies the rub. and crushed flow.

    • 2_Salukis

      I can’t argue and don’t disagree with anything you raise that points out the “inadequacy” of the rule. But I’d say that for every point you list, there are counterpoints against the DHer having the ROW – from the UHer not having as large of a FOV to being much harder to get going again. So the point-counterpoint doesn’t get us anywhere.

      And if you want to readdress it, bring it up with IMBA. IMO, they’re as good as anyone as the authority, and their rule is, “Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic.”

      So despite those who don’t like it, it’s there. And ignoring it IMO is foolhardy and less than curtious.

    • JSatch

      @2_Salukis, Aug 14. don’t get your lycra all bunched up. there will not be free-for-alls, nor is anyone saying to ignore the rule as per your clever misinterpretations, just that the rule you strongly defend is inadequate and potentially the less safe alternative. and as far as the point-counterpoint, well, not really. i’m curious to hear you dispute the basic physics, if so you might be on to a rewriting of text books and a nobel prize. so take a chill pill dude, no one is looking to run you off the trail.

    • John Fisch

      As one of those riders who generally makes way for the downhiller, and who believes that we should all hit the trails with a good dose of common sense and a spirit of sharing/being willing to give more than we take, I must say at this point that I still like the existing rule.

      Yes, the simple physics of the equation demands that it’s going to take the downhiller with all that momentum more energy to safely stop or alter course. However, I don’t see this as relevant. Why? Because the very first and foremost of all rules of trail etiquette is that the rider must ride in control, which means being able to stop safely well before any unfortunate encounter could take place. That is the single most basic rule of safety–if you can’t do that, you’re going too fast.

      Cycling speed isn’t much different from foot speed on a steep, technical climb. If you can’t safely avoid a biker when downhilling, you can’t safely avoid a hiker. The last thing we (the cycling community) need is a hiker/biker collision to promote more bad blood between user groups or worse, further loss of access.

      Of course, this can be partially solved by more unidirectional trails.

    • JSatch

      as per 2_Salukis, yourself, myself and probably the vast majority of people on this site trail etiquette means giving way to the other rider. perhaps you saw him first, perhaps he’s enjoying a flow through a section or a challenging climb. or perhaps just simply going in the opposite direction. for the vast majority there simply was no need for a ‘rule’, or physics. perhaps it is different where you ride but three little letters are progressively eroding that equation: KOM.
      i don’t know the answer to what a new ‘rule’ should be, simply that the current one is inadequate and needs to be revisited.

    • Dirtyrig

      I agree with @JSatch! There are many gray areas regarding this rule. I’ll yield to the climber in steep and or technical uphill sections, but taking the black and white approach to this rule just makes you look like a whinny douche on the trail. I’ve been scolded before for not yielding in sections that have a very small incline even if there was plenty of room for both riders to ride past each other without no one needing to stop to yield, but nevertheless I still get lip service by some dork reminding me of this rule and the black and white aspect of the rule is to blame!

      Some people love to feel entitled and this rule gives them that feeling of entitlement and the need to teach someone a lesson, common sense goes out the window and the box all these sign and rules put you in take away any common sense that may have existed.

      You would think cyclists should have a more surfer mentality, but unfortunately from my observation over the last 40 years of cycling, that’s far from the truth. Most cyclists are anal as anal can be and they will love rules and any chance they get to tell you about the rules !

  • DanK_NoCo

    Now for some fun 🙂

    When a mtn biker is forced to step off the bike, no matter the reason, they must immediately yield to any mtn biker coming from behind. This includes rushing to drag your sorry butt and bike off the trail. This rule applies regardless of whether you are going up or down.

    This rule enables the other riders, usually ones in your own group, to have an opportunity to clean this section of trail without being held back by your lameness (this is me).
    Do others follow this rule?

    While this rule sends you to the bottom of the priority among riders, does it elevate you to the same priority as a hiker – at least wrt other hikers?
    I think the the answer is defintely yes when you are off the bike for an extended period of time -> hike-a-bike, or walking due to a mechanical issue. Not so much in the few seconds after a dismount.

    What does hike-a-bike or walking due to a mechanical issue do to your priority among riders?
    I continue to behave as if I’m equal to hikers, but also yield to all riders – no matter whether the up/down or the direction of approach ahead/behind.
    Should I expect this of other riders?

  • Chris Leman

    Great article and discussion. When I’m descending and don’t have a clear line of sight, I’ve always felt like the rule that mountain bikers should be ready to yield the trail helped me ride with others in mind. When your coming downhill its important to to consider that someone may be approaching from the other direction. Of course, this is most important when we are in terrain where we can’t see too far ahead. At blind corners, if we come around too fast we could make a rodeo out of a group horseback ride, or take out a kid who got ahead of his family, or just freak someone out who was enjoying a peaceful outing.

  • Michelle Murphy

    I was recently coming downhill on a bike and came up on a hiker with 2 dogs. We were both going downhill / in the same direction. I let him know I was coming up behind him. He turned and both dogs started to come at me. The trail is super narrow at this point. He pulled his dogs off the trail into the grasses and I was able to pass. After passing, he yelled at me that I needed to read the rules. So I’m wondering, should I have walked my bike into the grass to pass him and his dogs? I can’t quite tell what I did wrong, if anything.

    • Greg Heil

      Hey Michelle, don’t feel bad! I don’t think you did anything wrong at all. If you were both moving in the same direction, then the appropriate thing to do is call out and ask for a pass. Especially if the hiker has dogs, the other trail user needs to make sure that his animals are under control at all times.

      If anything, this guy was in the wrong–he should have had a better handle on his animals.

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