Photo: Elliot Wilkinson-Ray

Nobody wants to startle a horse in stride, and we all yield to hikers and runners as they peruse the mountainside flower selection, but what about other mountain bikers? What do you do when you see another rider coming your way on the same piece of bi-directional singletrack?


IMBA has upheld an edict since the 1970’s that has been rewritten a few times, and now looks like this: “Most of the trails we ride are multi-use. Mountain bikers yield to horses and foot traffic, and descending riders yield to climbing riders. This yield triangle has been formally adopted by land managers since the late 1970s and is a significant reason why we have the access we do.” One of the ideas behind why downhill riders should yield is that it takes them less effort to get going again.

On the flip side, this policy doesn’t make sense to everyone. Some riders feel that folks who are descending should have the right of way, as it is far easier for the slower moving climbing rider to simply put a foot down and lean to one side than it is for the faster descending rider to come to a complete stop. Additionally, the climbing rider can hear the noises emanating from the descending rider’s bike long before they see each other, and has more time to safely move aside and stop. The rider on the descent side of the equation cannot hear the other rider, and if they meet on a sharp corner the downhill rider will not know that the climbing rider is there until they can see one another — which is sometimes too late.

Still, another group of riders would argue that no one should have to stop, and instead prefer to have both riders turn to the right just before they pass, letting their tires remain on the trail (or not) while their handlebars snake around one another. This way no one has to spend the energy to stop and restart, though it does require some amount of trust in your fellow shredders’ ability to slant their bike sideways and continue riding in a mostly straight line. Some ecosystems are home to very fragile plants and soil types, and any mistake in this passing maneuver can lead to the widening of trails and sad plant life.

How does this all work out when you encounter someone on flat ground? Nobody knows.

Based on these arguments, and those you have shared over beers with your crew, who do you think should yield the trail?

Photo: Jenny Corso

# Comments

  • vapidoscar

    I will always yield unless the other rider yields first. I’m slow and can always use a break.

    • Barry Wargula

      I usually suck at climbing, so no problem stopping and moving off trail for those enjoying the downhill! Really depends but most time gonna give way to the downhiller.

    • mspear1

      If a down hill rider is having fun why ruin it for him?
      If it’s a tough climb and would be tough to lose mo and start again, the down hill rider should stop.
      Common sense and courtesy dictates who yields.

  • Legbacon

    I live in a very mountain bike centric place where the trails were built by riders. It is understood that the climbing rider yields unless it’s on one of the 2 “climbing” trails. In practice there is not climbing on the faster trails during busy periods. It seems to work well and everyone is courteous IME. Also hikers and runners generally yield to riders because they here them coming before they are seen. I usually come across hikers that have moved well off the trail by the time I see them.

  • Zoso

    Just don’t be a dick. Simple.

    If I’m climbing, I’ll almost always get out of the way so I don’t ruin the stoke for the downhiller. But not always. If I’m in the middle of an interesting techy climb then I’d prefer to be given the right of way.

    If everyone is generally courteous to each other, it all works out imo. Nobody likes the guy that insists on taking up the whole 4′ trail cause he’s the climber.

  • iliketexmex

    I live in an area where the trails are generally directional loops (or direction by day). So it is not a big issue at my local trails. The etiquette is to let the guy who catches you pass.

    It is nice to have a consistent expectation if you are riding a new place, similar to driving on the same side of the road. But I respect the local trail managers setting up what’s best for their trail network. If the expectation is well marked

  • sssirois

    Zoso has it right. There is no cookie cut answer and every situation is different: Terrain, # of riders. weather, trail knowledge, time of day, rider skills, etc.., All these variables dictate that we as MTB’ers need be riding so that we are prepared to yield the trail to anything anyone at anytime….Period! Use all 5 sense to anticipate/react for what could be around a corner. Recognize DH riders need more space/lead time to yield, which doesn’t translate to being “out of control”. Pick appropriate lines (where possible) for direction of travel. Just be courteous & use common sense.

    That being said & other variables being neutral, I’d say I yield to the DH rider about 80% of the time…Not because they have the right of way, but because the situation dictates it.

  • BZ202

    I totally agree with most of what’s been said here. Especially in busy trail centers, IMO things work best when the primary downhill trails are labeled as yield-to-downhillers and everywhere else is both yield or yield to climbers (Kingdom trails in Vermont does an awesome job with this). In wilderness or backcountry areas, unless there is a very well-established downhill (i.e. Downieville, Wasatch Crest, Whole Enchilada, etc), I think both riders should yield; it keeps things safe, fun, and communicative between riders in the backcountry.

  • Noggus

    If I see oncoming traffic, be it on horseback, foot, or 2 wheels, I yeild if they haven’t already. Similar to Legbacon’s experience hikers have already stepped aside before I see them most of the time.

    Some bikers don’t seem to look very far ahead from what I’ve experienced. Two different times I’ve pulled over and been completely stopped when the approaching rider didn’t notice anyone was on the trail until the last second and then panicked, grabbed a handful of front brake, and OTB they go. This is why I always yeild 1st and don’t expect the other rider to know and adhere to a set of standards they may not even be aware of.

  • ironmarvels

    Common sense and common courtesy..if it makes sense to yield because the terrain is steep, then yield..if someone doesn’t want to yield it they will cause havoc on the trail…if any rider EvEr has a twinkle of a thought if they should yield, go with that thought!..keep the trails safe and live to ride another day!..not worth the fight or getting injured..

  • Busted Up Biker

    I tend to yeid regardless. If I see someone grinding on what I know to be a steep incline I’ll yield/ stop so they don’t have to stop and walk up.

  • stampedconcretedesigns

    I’m glad there is a platform to complain about this…… In my opinion, the most sacred thing about mountain biking is descending.. Isnt that why we put ourselves through the climb? I think a descending rider having to stop and yield to someone barely making it up a hill is about as worthless as daylight savings time. if you see someone shredding down the mountain, get the hell out of the way and let them have fun, that’s what I do. it’s just a safety concern so the one with the most momentum and speed has to stop first. But in real life it just doesn’t work out that way. Shred on!!!

  • ProphetZarquon

    Always yield. Just because you have the “right of way” doesn’t mean anyone else has noticed you, or can or will stop. The only safe policy is to yield at all times in all instances.

    That said… Any licensed driver should know this:
    Uphill should always yield to downhill, for one simple & unavoidable reason; Regardless of the rider’s attention, their skill, or the trail conditions, there is NEVER a guarantee that any descending vehicle (or even pedestrian) CAN stop. It may be impossible, or unsafe to even attempt stopping fully during a descent.

    This is not entirely dependent on the riders involved, or their equipment or the trails; This is a matter of physics.

    Regardless of regulations or wishful thinking, reality dictates that downhill traffic MAY NOT BE ABLE to stop in time to prevent a collision. Uphill MUST yield to downhill as the default behavior, because the reverse is not reliably possible.

    All road regulations anywhere I’ve ever been follow this simple safety-derived logic. Any other reasoning (“It’s harder to get started again going uphill”, etc) is either desire based or fallacious, not founded in well established & frankly obvious fact.

    In practice, never assume you have the right of way. In policy, uphill must yield to downhill because downhill is not reliably capable of stopping. Gravity wins.

    • Lance Winslow

      Dear Prophet, I could not have stated it better myself – your comment comes from an obvious understanding of human nature and the laws of physics. Well done.

    • 100RNR

      I agree with the always yield part, but every DMV book will say the vehicle coming down the hill should yield to the vehicle coming up the hill.

    • John Fisch

      “That said… Any licensed driver should know this:
      Uphill should always yield to downhill,…”

      Except that’s not the standard etiquette there either.

      “When two vehicles meet on a steep hill, the vehicle traveling up the hill has the right of way. This is because the vehicle traveling uphill may need to maintain momentum, and because it is more difficult and dangerous to back down a steep narrow trail.”
      Standard off-road practice for as long as I can remember.

      Overall, common sense should prevail, and it usually does. It’s usually obvious who can execute the yield easiest, and that’s not necessarily tied to either up or down, it can be either way.

      I also generally tend to yield either way. The one exception for which I am hard over is when executing a challenging technical climb. Breaking momentum in the midst of an uphill rock garden is a non-starter, so at that time, I stick solidly with the generally accepted etiquette of the uphill rider having the right of way. While I’m also not one to disturb a downhiller’s stoke, in that particular case, being able to maintain mo&flow uphill s a greater concern. After all, the downhill rider has gravity to help him get started again if he has to yield.

    • Olivier Slabbers

      Right of way is something you’re given, not something you take, right? If you want to decent with full stoke all the time, go racing. Otherwise be prepared to yield. There might be something you didn’t expect around every corner. That’s why the rule is that uphill has right of way. People will ride downhill with a different, safer mindset when they know they may have to come to a full stop. On public trails that just makes sense to me.

  • Lance Winslow

    Personally, as both a mountain biker and trail runner – mostly a trail runner. I always yield to mountain bikers, especially when they are going down hill. It’s only fair. When running up steep hills, I generally pass riders or are about the same speed. If a mountain biker is gaining on my, I will wait for a clear place to move off trail and let them go buy and use them to pace me up the rest of the hill. Anyone who thinks it’s OK to demand right-away when a mountain bike is going fast down a hill is an idiot and one day will get knocked off the trail and hurt. Be wise and be respectful and responsible. Bikes should yield to horses, so the riders don’t fall off the horse.

  • VAtrailrider

    I think descending riders should yield to climbing riders unless you can both pass each other. It is hard to stop when you are climbing and restart.

  • John Adcock

    seems pretty clear that the downhiller should have the right away…much easier for the climber to yield …while climbing you are already in a low gear so it’s not difficult to resume the climb..while it could be difficult for the downhiller to slow or stop on short notice

  • stutzns

    If you are ascending on a “popular” or “regular” descent route climber needs to move and vice versa. Do not be a clown and climb on a known descent…Viagra(Blue Diamond).

  • Jimmy Archer

    Normally I would have said descending riders yield. However… we have some trails in my area, Golden CO, which really should be downhill directional trails, but getting that approved is difficult to say the least. Yet, it is pretty obvious the trails are designed for downhill travel and there are numerous other options to climb at these locations.
    In this case I tend to begrudgingly pull over but really anyone who rides here regularly should know and accept these trails are better done as a descent. However we still have people climbing happy to put themselves smack in the middle of a bermed corner and not even acknowledge you if and when you yield to them.
    Our society is becoming so oblivious and self centered its surprising anyone yields in any situation any more.,

  • Manwell

    Clearly, hard rules don’t always work.
    With experienced riders there’s rarely a problem.
    The problem is always with the less experienced or fool hardy on bidirectional trails.
    Inevitably, these risers are going too fast conditions and their eyes are staring 3 feet in front of their front tires.

  • Manwell

    Clearly, hard rules don’t always work.
    With experienced riders there’s rarely a problem.
    The problem is always with the less experienced or fool hardy on bidirectional trails.
    Inevitably, these riders are going too fast conditions and their eyes are staring 3 feet in front of their front tires.

    • Lance Winslow

      Manwell, I totally 100% agree. I see the problem with obstinate hikers who think they own the trail, people listening to music while hiking or running, and inexperienced mountain bikers. Normally, there isn’t a problem. I’ve never had a problem and find MOST mountain bikers alert and quite respectful. I always say hi, they are always friendly. We all love the outdoors.

  • Leon Seyer

    COMMON SENSE/COMMON COURTESY dictates if it’s a techie DH section, PLEASE yield to the DH rider. make room for him/her and ADMIRE his/her skills. if trail is non-techie, yield to the uphill riders, watch them huff and puff, say hello and SMILE. whirled peas ensues. PROBLEM SOLVED!

    • John Fisch

      But if it’s a techy dh section, that mean’s it’s also a techy uphill section.

      If you want to admire skills, it generally takes greater skills to execute a technical climb than it does the same stretch downhill. In the tech in particular, the uphill rider definitely should have the ROW.

      If it’s smooth, that’s where the downhiller is really flyin’, so then it’s best to get out of his way.

  • Erik Thompson

    Who should yield? The rider going uphill at maybe 12 mph or the DH rider going 25+ mph? And still the wrong conclusion was reached. SMDH.

  • Riles00

    Agreed that sometimes uphill travelers can hear that descender coming far before they see each other. Agreed : don’t be a dick. Common courtesy and friendliness to fellow travelers should work itself out while attempting to abide by the age old custom of descent gives right of way. You know why? Because they are going faster. It is safer than the expectation that uphill; all winded and spent, will get out of the way fast enough and fully out of the way. But I usually yield to downhill as well when ascending as climbing is not so much my bag.
    That said, I’d love to see conversation related to right of way in same direction. My experience has been that very slow riders almost always stop and allow pass. My other experience is that; while clipping right along quite steadily and speedily, I’ve experienced those who are slightly faster demanding to pass on singletrack. Once yelling out ‘Strava!’

  • kellympaw

    Unfortunately the trails I ride are crowded with different user groups. I need to be ready and able to stop for anyone at anytime. I believe the downhill rider should yield to uphill just like they have to yield for everyone else. It not the most fun option but it makes sense since the downhill rider Is going to need to be prepared to yield for any other user. Personally I always yield to downhill riders because I don’t want to ruin the fun of the downhill and I hope people do the same for me.

  • slee670

    The graph that represents the results of the survey is not correct…the percentage for each bar graph should be based on all responses gathered not just the responses for the one question. Right now it shows the second answer as 47% of all responses, yet there is only one response so that artificially makes that answer the highest.

    • Jeff Barber

      Weird. I think the vote counts for the individual questions are wrong, but the percentages are correct. If you add up the responses to each question, it’s nowhere near the total (3,000+ and counting).

    • Jeff Barber

      Still looking into this, but it seems the vote counts are correct for “both parties” and “depends.” The other two answers each have over 1,000 responses so it appears the software may be truncating numbers over 1,000…

  • rmap01

    Always a good topic. The vast majority of trails I ride are bi-directional. I almost always yield (or am at least prepared to yield) regardless of the direction. Whereas I think the basic premise of yielding to the climber should be the baseline etiquette which person “should” yield in any specific circumstance should be situation dependent. Think about your favorite downhill section. Many of us may ride that particular trail just to shred that really cool descent. After you’ve grinded your way to the top there’s nothing worse than being in that zone only to have to slow and/or stop. By the same token there are certain challenging climbs where momentum is everything and putting a foot down to yield results in an automatic hike-a-bike. Experienced riders know this and usually adapt accordingly.

    The biggest issue I have is more about communication. I can’t understand why many people don’t offer a simple “thanks” to the yielder. I ALWAYS thank someone for yielding (biker, hiker, runner, etc.) even if I think I have the right of way. It goes a long way especially with other trail users… many of whom see us as a bunch of ill-mannered cyclists barreling down the trail at the risk of their safety. And if it’s other bikers I typically ask if there’s anyone behind them. (Better to stop once then start/stop multiple times for a group).

    • Lance Winslow

      When trail running, I always yield no matter what, and I always appreciate it when a cyclist yells, “Thanks, 3-more coming” because then I am not as worried starting back again around a somewhat blind corner. Personally, I think MOST all cyclists I’ve encountered to be safety conscious, some time too cautious, but either way it makes my runs more enjoyable. On another point, I actually would prefer if we didn’t have “no cyclist” trails, because cyclists help keep the trails trimmed, I like that. With all the overgrowth out here in SoCal due to recent rains there are a lot of trails which need work. One last thing. I’ve noted that most hikers generally stay less than 3 miles from a trail head, and usually stay under 6-miles on the loops. Running further out, means I rarely see hikers, usually only mountain bikers and an occasional ultra-runner in training.

  • mongwolf

    Up or down, I always try to yield first out of courtesy. I[m not a hammerhead, but others are, and I hate to ruin someone else’s effort (uphill) or their hard earned thrill going down. That being said, I definitely appreciate the courtesy from other riders when I am going down. Also, I concur with rmap, let’s all start saying thank you again. A hello and a thank you go a long way with all users.

  • awiles

    I’m always working on the climb so I’d prefer to try to stay on my bike. A downhill rider is usually just “cruising” and should be looking ahead for others on the trail and it’s easier to get going again so they should yield. I used to ALWAYS yield no matter which direction I was going, but now that I’m getting better and working on my skills I would prefer for others to make the effort from time to time. A “rule” of downhillers yielding seems sensible.

    What I absolutely HATE is the folks that won’t yield but just ride out into the desert and create a NEW TRACK! That track will be there forever! Please do NOT ride off the trail (in the forests it’s different but the desert is fragile). I will always yield if I think the other guy is about to go off trail.

  • awiles

    All the downhillers that think they have the right of way… my impression is that they ride too fast, don’t pay attention, and are entitled white boys. Always.

  • Jeff Sayegh

    I believe in most cases, the downhill rider should yield to the uphill rider. Sure, it may be easier for the UH rider to stop, but its sometimes impossible to get going again. The DH rider just has to release his brakes to get going.
    Also, I’ve heard the argument ” we are ruining the flow of the DH rider”, has anyone ever thought that UH riders might have flow or be in a zone? If a DH rider can’t control his speed they probably shouldn’t be riding on a multi-use, up/ down trail in the first place.

    On a ride last week, we have this singletrack trail which is pretty much up with very little in the way of down( unless you ride the other direction of course} I had around 15 riders that I came across, but only 3 that yielded. Out of the rest, 2 were on ebikes( which are not permitted on this trail) the others were mostly XC racers training for a upcoming race. I held my ground, but still had to either stop or alter my course. Yes, I let them know of the yielding rule.
    Believe me, I like descending more than I like climbing, but I always yield coming down.

  • User462

    You know, 95% of the time (if not more) hikers yield to me on a trail, even when I start to make the gesture that I’m going to stop and let them pass, they step off the trail and wave me on. Even horse back riders go off the trail most the time when they see me coming (they don’t want their horse to kick someone, after all).

    As far as up vs down hill, the person who should yield is the person who has the best access to a spot to go off trail. Also, the person who doesn’t have a cliff to the right of them (or left, if you’re in the UK).

    All this said, I don’t really ever run into issues with pushy/angry/self-righteous people on trails…probably because I don’t live in a CA (self-absorbed, entitled) or the east coast (generally mean-spirited and nasty).

  • Lance Winslow

    I’d like to make one final comment on this topic. If people would wear colors that stand out, not camouflage colors that blend it, it would go a long way to preventing accidents. You can see a bright color for a long distance off, as long as you aren’t wearing orange during the California Poppy Bloom. When you can see someone down below on the trail, you can remember and prepare when you get close. If more hikers, runners, cyclists did this, it could help. Lastly, I wonder if the BMP here ought to be whoever notices the other first, yield and signal them bye. Anyway, Be Great Everyone.

  • mongwolf

    Though I try to yield first either way as mentioned above, for safety purposes I think the downhill rider should yield, especially out West where the downhills are long and fast.

  • Gairo

    A great discussion and very helpful. In the desert Southwest lately I’ve encountered older (and maybe inexperienced) MTBers say something like this to me when passing each other on the trail, “You’re supposed to yield to those coming up hills.” Agreed, but this becomes a bit more tricky when dealing with short undulating up and downhill technical sections. Recently, while riding at a pretty low speed, I encountered a rider who saw me coming down a short riser. I pulled to the right as far as possible, but he didn’t move over and remained in the middle of the trail. I skidded and nearly crashed. I attempted to apologize, but he was clearly angry, offended, and unforgiving. I have been mountain biking all over America for the past fifteen years. I have never encountered this before. Lesson learned: Don’t assume that everyone has the skill level to move over six inches. Therefore, yield to others, even in undulating terrain. I am also learning that mountain biking requires that your bike handling skills need to mesh with upper brain thinking as much as possible. What one rider sees as normal, another rider may see as potentially dangerous and threatening. Hence, fight, flight, or freeze. Too often, I have found myself not thinking of others. All this said, I want to become more courteous to others.

  • Big ragu

    Here’s a new twist. I was going downhill recently after a long hard climb and I yielded for an uphill ride who passed me with a smile. But, he was on an e-bike! I thought, “Damn, that doesn’t seem right!” There’s a nuance there.

    • craige

      Big ragu, yeah, that’s a tough one. I ride ebikes on 90% of my rides. I always yield to other riders regardless of uphill or downhill right of way protocol. Occasionally an oncoming rider will come to a stop before I can come to a stop myself. I always wave them through and say thank you. But I also can see the look on their face when they look down and see the motor bump on my bike.

      This thread has been extremely helpful for me. I always thought the uphill rider had the right of way, but it’s obvious now that there are nuances involved. I’ve been mountain biking for 30 years and at 65 years old it’s good to know that there are still good things to learn, besides bike handling skills.

  • DeWayne Weaver

    I almost always try to yield first, going either direction. However, if I’m doing a technical climb where it would be difficult or impossible to get restarted, I do expect the descending rider to yield since he/she can start again easily. Real world, when I’m noisily ripping a descent, the uphill riders nearly always yield before I see them since they hear me coming and don’t want to get run over. I slow down and move over to pass them and always thank every rider who has chosen to yield their uphill “right” to me. I can’t think of a time where this philosophy has ever created an issue with another rider, or hiker for that matter.

    The e-bike nuance might make me change my philosophy when I encounter one that refuses to yield either direction though. I haven’t encountered (or noticed) one on the trails I ride yet though, but it’s just a matter of time.

  • TuacaTom

    It depends: mostly the downhill rider should yield to the uphill rider. But, as mentioned above, there are plenty of instances where it should be reversed.
    On heavily trafficked multi-use trails, downhill riders need to be less balls to the walls and have caution as there can be someone around the corner and no place to ‘go around’.
    Use common sense, be polite to others. The golden rule goes a long way.

  • troutwest66

    Much more difficult to dynamite the brakes coming downhill with speed and safely stop with any wheeled mode of transportation. Makes more sense to stop on the climb. Getting started again may suck but that’s what my 50 tooth ring is for! Flat trails with room should be easy for both to keep moving if they slow to a reasonable speed.

  • dbeckett3

    If there is room for both to pass, the DH rider should slow down, pass and both continue. if the UH rider feels like moving over, fine, but the downhill rider should yield if possible. The caveat here, is if possible. Always yield to horses and hikers, although conscientious hikers typically step aside to allow DH riders to pass. If it is flat, then both should slow down and/or move right to allow each other to pass safely. My ten cents

  • dbeckett3

    Forgot to add that using a bell either up or down allows others to be aware of your presence. I call them peacekeepers and quite often get accolades from hikers, bikers and equestrians when i use the bell on the trail. Also, greet other users with a ‘good morning’, ‘how’s it going’, ‘enjoy’ or some other friendly gesture. Always slow down for pets as they are unpredictable as well.

  • CLIMB4

    I ride in our local bike park on rare occasions. This park has 3 designated DH only trails and 2 ways to the top that are 2 way. My issue are the inconsiderate bikers bombing DH on the 2 way trails, and unfortunately it was a club the last time I was there. I love to see the kids biking but the adults that oversee this “team” don’t understand common courtesy in the least bit and now teaching this to the new kids on the block. On the way up I was “warned” by several adults along the way to be alert for the DH kids. NOPE. Even knowing that AND YIELDING still had 4-5 close calls, one tire bump because the kid was riding out of control. No reason for that when there are dedicated DH to be practicing/sessioning on. If in Knoxville and biking at Baker Creek be warned. Tons of better places to ride in the area.

  • Tim Pickett

    I tend to yield regardless of my position on trail. 10 seconds put of the pedals isn’t gonna affect my ride even if I do it several times. Everyone regardless of position should at least slow down. Obviously horses and hikers have right of way and bombing by or passing without calling out does not help the mtnbike rep at all and could lead to injury. I just try to use common sense.

  • RobinsRJ

    One thing to consider-from a legal standpoint if a crash between two bikers were to happen, who would be found at fault? The downhill rider everytime because that is the accepted community standard and universal regulation for most trails except those clearly marked as downhill only. We can make all the arguments why uphill vs downhill should yield, but in the end, standard in America and rest of the world is downhill yields…whether you are working on your Strava PR or not…

  • MDWerdeman1

    From 1998-2003 I rode trail frequently, not seeing to much traffic. But on any encounters whether Hikers or bikers, the up hiller always yielded. I quit riding due to a broken bike for a quite a few years. Summer of 2018 was the first year back on the trails (why did I stop?) recently what I have noticed,there is more traffic and both ascending and descending seem to stop. Usually it ends up become a small chat and a good break for both riders. In our MTB community, there are som many friendly people, so I say let’s both stop for a minute and make a new friend.!!!

  • kais01

    of course in a tight situation climbers yield to descenders. not even an issue. try otherwise on a skiing trail for example.

    how you can think the other way around is beyond me.

  • Ray Southwick

    This is a great topic and it is interesting to see the variety of responses. I tend to prepare myself to yield regardless of the circumstances, moving off to the side of the trail and stopping if necessary. There is such a myriad of trail users of different skill levels and experience, it seems to be the safest and most prudent way. Some people just aren’t that aware of their surroundings or are doing their best to control their bikes, dogs, kids, horses, etc… That said, when someone yields to me (especially when I’m tackling a tough up hill) I do my best to smile and offer a “thank you” or “good morning.” I’m mountain biking, why wouldn’t I be happy? Oh, and I use a bell. Hikers seem to really appreciate that.

    • Lance Winslow

      Ray, you have a great attitude and are doing everything right in my view. As a trail-runner, just under elite level, I am generally ‘killing it’ and I notice that people (hikers) move out of my way regardless without asking, I always say thanks, speed up a little, and it’s done. Everyone wins. When I see mountain bikers screaming down the hill, I get off the trail completely and cheer them on, they always thank me. I always yield no matter what to horses, I don’t want to spook a horse who might lose its rider. Situational awareness is key, and some people don’t have it, maybe due to earbuds, or maybe due to not paying attention. I think it is terrible when certain trails are ‘off limits’ to bikers, horses, or whatever. I think if everyone approached this as you do Ray, there wouldn’t even be a problem, and no need to even discuss it. When you act properly this way, that courtesy rubs off on everyone else, and it’s like paying-it-forward and that goes such a long way to alleviating any challenges. Be Great.

  • John Fisch

    To everyone saying the uphill rider should yield because the downhill rider can’t stop, or would have a more difficult time stopping….

    …. apply that same reasoning to running into a hiker or trail runner ore equestrian (who is going to be going about the same speed up a steep or techy climb). See where that gets you.

    We must all be able to safely stop within line of sight or we’re wrong, no matter who we run into.

    You want carte blanche to bomb downhill without fear of liability, collision, or etiquette breach? Go to a bike park or designated downhill trail.

  • jstack11

    I agree with most of the sentiment. I yield either way usually, unless the person going the other way stops and lets me continue thru. I think I’ve noticed more uphill riders yield to downhill, just out of courtesy. But, if I am jamming some tough rocky uphill, I am appreciative of downhillers yielding. Every situation is different. But, if I’m in a strange area, with lots of people, I’m going to follow guidelines. What if those behind me are cranking up the hill and expect a downhill bike to yield, but I yield while going uphill? When in doubt, I yield, or I’ll follow guidelines and that is that. As some here put it so eloquently, just don’t be a dick.

  • Topher Osborn

    I’m going to use a quote from the article we just read to give us the answer,

    ”The rider on the descent side of the equation cannot hear the other rider, and if they meet on a sharp corner the downhill rider will not know that the climbing rider is there until they can see one another — which is sometimes too late.”

    So what this tells me,
    Is If a descending rider does not have the time to yield or stop on the trail, they are not in control of their bicycle.

    The person around the corner could be a mid trail medical emergency, a family with children, a group of horse riders.
    Therefore not having the ability to stop is incredibly dangerous.
    We have bike parks for this purpose where everyone is free to ride as fast as their hearts content.

    This is the sole reason why uphill climbers get the right of way. It’s not because we want climbers to have more fun then downhillers, it’s simply because if someone on the descent is unable to stop,
    They are a danger to the other users on the trail.

    So in essence, it’s a moot point. Ride your bike on a mixed use trail so that you can stop in time to avoid a collision. Regardless of the incline or decline.

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