How Should Mountain Bikers Traveling in the Same Direction Pass Each Other?

How should passing work when two mountain bikers are heading in the same direction?
Photo: IMBA

Picture this: You’re riding down the trail and having fun when you round a bend and notice another rider ahead, going in the same direction as you. What do you do? What do you expect the rider in front to do?

Or maybe you’re the rider in front, and you hear someone approaching from behind.

Every rider has found themselves in both seats at one time or another. With mountain bike trails becoming more popular than ever before, the opportunity to share the path with others has never been greater. When approaching from opposite directions there are generally accepted rules around yielding to other trail users and fellow bikers, but what about when both parties are traveling the same direction?