Right of way on hills?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Right of way on hills?

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan Black 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #93342

    The issue of who has the right of way on hills came up during my ride today, and I wanted to hear what you all think. Obviously when two riders are headed in opposite directions on a trail, they should both veer to the right to ensure safe passage. Now what about on a hill? Who should yield to who? It’s my belief that the rider headed down the hill should yield to the up hill rider. The logic being that the down hill guy can always get his momentum back after he shows courtesy and pulls aside. The up hill rider will not, and may be forced to walk his bike to the top. Now if the down hill guy is going top speed, it could be tough and unsafe for him to stop. At that point, up hill guy is going to have to yield, for the safety of both riders. Generally, I’d say up hill rider has the right of way, and down hill rider should stop for him. Does that sound about right to you?

  • #93343

    If going downhill I will stop and wait. If they have a good speed going last thing I want to do is screw that up

  • #93344
    Now what about on a hill? Who should yield to who?

    Yes,the uphill rider has the right of way,the downhill rider must stop and pull to the side for him.

    Unless of course the rider encounter’s hiker or horse rider in which case the biker must yeild in either case.

    The issue of who has the right of way on hills came up during my ride today

    I am curious to know just what happened that made an issue out of this,here in Clolrado there are signs at every trail head stating exactly what the yeilding policy’s are.

  • #93345

    up hill riders have the right of way……on busy days on the trails I tend to yield more freely since many riders do not know (or follow) trail ethics.

  • #93346

    It’s my understanding that uphill has the right of way.

  • #93347
    on busy days on the trails I tend to yield more freely since many riders do not know (or follow) trail ethics.

    That is very true,there are alot of hiker’s,biker’s and horse rider’s alike that will give way to oncoming traffic even when they have the right of way.It happens all the time,I myself usually(but not all the time)will just let the downhill biker go by even when I might be in the zone and climbing well that day.It’s really up to the rider going uphill,the rules and policys are just for people who can’t get along or happen to get into an argument over yeilding.I find it takes even less time to just let downhill biker go by than it does to have them stop and wait for somone to make there way uphill and past them,but then again I am a 300 plb clydesdale and pretty much ALWAYS in granny gear going uphill,hahahahaha.

  • #93348

    My riding partner was unsure of who had the right of way on a hill. He was informed by another rider we were passing, that he should have yeilded to him on the hill. I was almost sure that was the case, but didn’t say anything. That’s why I turned to this forum, thanks for your thoughts.
    I know if I’m pulling myself up a hill, the last thing I want to do is stop half way up to let a guy passing down hill roll by. I hate walking up a hill unless I have to because of my own limitations!

    So we’re all in agreement then, let the guy trudging up the hill continue, down hill rider get out of up hill riders way. The exception being a down hiller bombing by at a speed that’s too fast to stop safely. Personally, I don’t think you should be going that fast unless you have a clear view of the trail ahead of you, and see there are no other riders.

    We all learn something from the more seasoned riders.

  • #93349

    I see it like this: the rider heading up hill has the right of way. DH riding YIELDS to them.

    That being said… if I’m climbing, I wave the DH’er on because I believe in karma. That way, when I’m ripping DH, someone will do the same for me and yell "ride on, bro!" 😀

  • #93350

    There ya go fitch,KARMA,and unless your on a dedicated DH run we all like know that we can have a uninterupted DH run once in awhile….. 😄

  • #93351

    here in Clolrado there are signs at every trail head stating exactly what the yeilding policy’s are.[/quote]

    I beg to differ cus not all trailheads have signs out here in the springs but it is or atleast should be common knowledge that we mtbrs yeild to hikers and horses…
    On the issue as to who should yeild biker to biker, DH should yeild to the UH rider.;.

  • #93352
    I beg to differ cus not all trailheads have signs out here in the springs but it is or atleast should be common knowledge that we mtbrs yeild to hikers and horses…

    Yeah BUDDAH,I know not all trails have signs,but there is enough that do to make me think they are all posted,hahahahaha.Plus I get jumpy over this subject somtimes because I have crossed path’s with some VERY opinionated hiker’s before,they just lay into us mountian biker’s and get soo mad at us that if you look at there foreheads you can see the popping veins forming swastika’s.. 😼 😼 😼

  • #93353

    Its the ones that get "Tweaked" that have not read the signs. On Sunday I came up behind an older lady on a horse…. I layed (30 to 40 yards) back for the longest time until the horse finally let her know I was there. She stopped and as I walked my bike past she lit into me saying that I did not belong there. She said she was going to report me… I kept my cool and told her to feel free to, but I suggested that she read the signs that are posted first.

  • #93354

    I was on a new trail(to me) when I came up on some hikers.After reading several of these topics I thought this might be a problem,but I passed without incedent.I don’t see why its such a problem to hikers that some trails are shared.

  • #93355

    It depends on the hikers…

  • #93356
    "98special" wrote

    I was on a new trail(to me) when I came up on some hikers.After reading several of these topics I thought this might be a problem,but I passed without incedent.I don’t see why its such a problem to hikers that some trails are shared.

    some have had bad experiences of mt bikers bombing down the trail with no care of trail ethics. Every group of trail users (or better yet land users) have a small percentage that makes the whole group look bad.

  • #93357

    I’m still fairly new to riding the trails and find that I’m always stuck yeilding the right of way regardless wether I’m going up or down hill. I’ve fealt that I should get the go ahead when I’m heading up hill but get bumped if I don’t stop. I ride in Maryland for now until I go to Korea in May..

  • #93358

    You are correct in that you have the "Right of Way" going up the hill…. but if its a horse rider or a hiker all bets are off since they have the right of way… some will yield to you but most I have encountered in the past wont because #1 they have no respect at all for mtb’ers and #2 they have no respect for anyone but themselves. and #3 see #1 and #2!!! 😉

  • #93359

    Downhillers yield, yeah. I generally don’t mind yielding regardless of where I am if its all convenient, Folks have been pretty nice and are generally ready to step aside. Havent had any issues yet, guess its bound to happen eventually.

    It does totally depend on the folks involved – Most are considerate, but I do know many bikers who have had bad experiences with hikers, and vice versa.

  • #93360

    I am with you, I will yield just about anywhere and to anyone. I am not out there to impress anyone… I am out there to have fun. Just wish some people (this goes for all groups)would use a little common sense.

  • #187048

    Whaaaat?? I’ve always given the right of way to the guy coming down – unless they are going slower than me going up. It makes no sense for the downhill rider to yield. Whomever is going slower should yield. If you are almost at a standstill just stop and get out of the way.

    I ran into this issue today. I thought these uphill riders were being turds because they were showing no signs of moving – too focused on getting a strava star or something. So I googled and found this to my surprise. Been mountain biking for almost 20 years around Tahoe and I’ve never had any issues with yielding.

    Having the downhiller come skidding to a stop ruins the trail, is way more dangerous and just doesn’t make sense. It sounds like the argument to have the people coming down yield is,”it’s nice of them because the uphill people are suffering.” ¯\_(?)_/¯

    There is usually enough room to do a last minute dip o’ the bikes so both riders can fit but it requires a little telapathy. It feels like you’re playing chicken. And someone usually bails out early.

    • #188253

      TheSupermarket Wrote ”
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      Whaaaat?? I’ve always given the right of way to the guy coming down – unless they are going slower than me going up. It makes no sense for the downhill rider to yield. Whomever is going slower should yield. If you are almost at a standstill just stop and get out of the way.

      I ran into this issue today. I thought these uphill riders were being turds because they were showing no signs of moving – too focused on getting a strava star or something. So I googled and found this to my surprise. Been mountain biking for almost 20 years around Tahoe and I’ve never had any issues with yielding.

      Having the downhiller come skidding to a stop ruins the trail, is way more dangerous and just doesn’t make sense. It sounds like the argument to have the people coming down yield is,”it’s nice of them because the uphill people are suffering.” ¯\_(?)_/¯

      There is usually enough room to do a last minute dip o’ the bikes so both riders can fit but it requires a little telapathy. It feels like you’re playing chicken. And someone usually bails out early.”

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      I disagree with you up hill should have right away because a down hill can stop and get going again if an up hill stops most likely it will be either super hard or impossible to get back going again and he will be walking it up

  • #187356

    I remember one of Greg’s articles (I think from riding in Montana last year) showed that classic triangle sign with equal signs between horse, hiker, and biker. There’s clearly no “law” on the matter, only guidelines to remind people to play nice. Do what seems reasonable. If uphill biker is stopped or waiving DHer thru, proceed (and visa versa). I guess the issue is when nobody is stopping. if you see a biker before he/she sees you, best to just stop for safety’s sake. I love it when me and the oncoming both stop and sit there insisting each other pass. you go! no, you! go ahead! I’m good, you go! haha! (high five). I second the notion of karma, too!

  • #187612

    If you’re looking up far enough, you can usually tell if the other rider is struggling- if so yield.  I like to practice my track stands, this is about the only time I do it and have gotten a lot better. Win/win.

  • #187626

    I usually will stop if heading down hill and see a rider going up hill.

  • #187655

    90% of the people I meet on the trail follow this line of thinking. There is about another 10% that don’t follow it, but I don’t let it bother me. A lot of time I just veer to the edge of the trail and stay in the peddle if there is room. I have had the we would each stop and urged the to pass. If I encounter a downhiller and he has a good run going or is riding a good line I will usually give him the right away as I would like the same, thought I don’t expect it. I do appreciate though when the guy coming down hill does take the time to stop if he sees me climbing and usually let him know as I pass.

    Where I find it gets confusing is in the grey. Areas where there is a slight grade, or lots of back and forth and up and down. I don’t really consider somebody (or myself) peddling on a slight grade to be “hill” climbing…  Most of the times it works itself out as we will both make an effort to move to the side of the trail while still peddling.

    OK… so of the 10 percent that don’t bother me… there is about 1% that does… You know… the guys that  are the ones that make zero effort and are content just to run ya flat over than make a move either way. Never understood that mentality.

     

     

  • #187719

    Don’t forget to tell those you pass how many are following behind or if you’re solo. Good discussion here. Another issue I encounter frequently is oncoming hikers. In my area, there are a lot and they usually see me and jump off the trail before I have time to stop and let them pass, HOWEVER…. I think when/if you’re passing a hiker, go slow. They’re usually all freaked out cuz they think you’re hauling mail all out of control and riding slower gives them a sense of security that we won’t kill them.

  • #187723

    I have no idea what happened with my 4th sentence… lol..

    I agree, being nice on the trail is not hard to do. Slowing your speed with a simple “Thank You” or “Enjoy the day” as you roll by helps. Lets them know you recognize them and are not trying to run them over.

     

  • #188125

    I yield to the uphill rider.  Another thing I do is yield to the larger group.  No sense in 4 riders yielding to me if I’m solo.  I really appreciate a heads up on the number of folks in a group, especially if I’m being overtaken on a trail.

  • #188135

    Bike vs. bike I agree with the rule of thumb that the uphill rider has the right of way.  Rule of thumb being the key phrase here as there are a ton of variables.

    I saw reference to Karma and common sense above, which are way more critical in my opinion.  If I am going uphill and feel like I can easily/safely pull aside then I will unless the downhill rider has already waved me on.  They’ve typically already earned their downhill, so let them enjoy it if you can.

    I love it when I get in an “argument” with someone else on the trail because we are both trying to let the other one pass.  That should be the norm and will prevent user conflict and bad vibes on the trail.  I also try to assess the group size as mentioned above, as well as the rider’s skill level.  If I can tell they are struggling a bit, I do everything I can to clear a path, let them through, and provide encouragement.

    When it comes to hikers or horses, I go out of my way to be way too considerate and nice.  I think it’s more important to spread the goodwill of mountain bikers than anything else going on.  I cannot recall ever getting anything but positive vibes in return.

    So, in short, just be considerate to all fellow trail users.  If someone is still a jerk about it, just let it go and go ride your bike!

  • #188139

    Chris – I’m guessing it goes something like this?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aIfarMPmPQ

  • #188262

    The downhiller should “yield” or “give way.” Simply due to gravity, they are likely going faster than an oncoming uphiller. This often means they are looking further down the trail and will likely see the uphiller first. The downhiller is the first to see and interpret the situation. Though their first thought should be to yield/give way, there are reasons why they shouldn’t (i.e. the uphiller has already stopped, attempting to stop would make the situation unsafe, etc.), then they must use their well protected brain and make a big boy decision. In all, the downhiller should be accountable for these intersections between MTBR’s.

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