This comes by way of the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association, and is a good reminder of trail rules all cyclists, road or mountain, should follow.
“I typically look at trails through the eyes of a mountain biker. Since I am unable to ride, I ran at Town Run tonight. I thought it might be interesting to think about what it would be like to run the trails as if I am not a mountain biker. Since the IMBA trail rules requires mountain bikers to yield, in stead of looking ahead for mountain bikers and stepping off the trail, I just kept running.As I encountered riders I paid attention to how they reacted. In too many cases tonight mountain bikers did not do a good job of yielding. Many riders continued to pedal as they approached with out slowing down at all, only to lean to one side of the trial as they passed me. In several cases a group of riders approached and the lead riders did a poor job of leading their group.
In the past, I have thought, no big deal, Town Run is mostly mountain bikers. But what happens when riders from Town Run ride at other parks. Do they take their bad habits with them?
I have already heard complaint form riders and Park staff at Fort Harrison State Park. Several riders ignored trail closed to mtb signs and no authorize access signs and ended up on the horse trails. Several riders have commented on riders aggressively passing them on the trail. And one hiker has complained about bikes going too fast.
I can not express enough, how important it is that we set a high bar for how we as a user group interact with other trails users and even with in our user group. Several high level Park staff have commented on how important it is that mountain bikers get along with other trail users at Fort Harrison. We also encourage many high level DNR staff to hike our trails. That hiker could be some one who directly effects the access we have to build trails.
So here are some guidelines for how to yield appropriately.”
SLOW DOWN: when ever you pass another trail user (hiker, trail runner, or mountain biker) slow down. The biggest thing I noticed tonight was whether riders pedaled at me or stopped pedaling. When you are on foot, and you see a cyclist pedaling towards you, the message is “get out of my way or I’m going to run you over”. Even if the runner or slower rider pulls of the trail for you, do not pass them at full speed. Make sure they know you would have stopped for them.
BE PREPARED TO STOP: Many trails are narrow. Do not assume that you can squeeze by. If in doubt, stop.
COMMUNICATE: If you see someone coming towards you, speak up. Call out “hiker up”, so the riders behind you know they need to slow down. When you pass someone, say something nice.
BE A GOOD GROUP LEADER: If you are riding in a group, the lead rider bears greater responsibility. You must be on the look out for approaching hikers/riders. When you see someone, you must call out to your group to let them know to slow down. Sit up and put out a hand to signal to slow down, if you can. When you pass some one, you must ensure you get the whole group past them safely. Also, communicate to the person you are passing. Let them know how many people are in your group.
SPEAK UP: All mountain bikers reflect on the user group. It only takes a few bad apples to ruin things for us. If you see, or know someone who is riding too aggressively, speak up and let them know what is expected of mountain bikers.