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On-the-Trail Etiquette

Take Mountain Trail Foundation’s “10 Seconds of Kindness” campaign to heart. As Charlie Sturgis puts it, “Slow down. Smile. Be safe. If you can do those three things, you can ride successfully here for however long you want.”

Officially, bikes yield to everyone else on the trail (hikers, runners, horses, wildlife); unofficially, thoughtful folks often step aside for uphill bikers so they don’t lose momentum.

Pay attention to signage, such as directional and closed trails. However, as White Pine Touring’s Scott House puts it, “just because it’s uphill-only or downhill-only doesn’t mean it’s brainless.”

Ride in control and be cognizant of line-of-sight. If you can’t see around a corner, slow down.

When approaching another rider, stay to the right.

Downhill riders yield to uphill riders.

Pass on the outside, and gently let the rider in front of you know you’re coming.

Avoid riding soggy trails and damaging trails by riding through mud.

Keep dogs under control.

Give wildlife space, and be prepared for encounters, knowing, for example, that bolting away from a cougar is not the safest reaction. Typically, slowly backing away from animals and giving them a wide berth is a good idea.

E-bikes or other motorized vehicles are not allowed on singletrack.

Etiquette for the Skinny-Tire Set

While it’s legal to ride side-by-side, single file is the safer bet.

Obey traffic rules (i.e., don’t run stop signs and red lights).

Consider running lights/visibility lights (tail- and headlights that blink) to increase visibility, even in daylight.

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