Here are some common guidelines to keep you, your friends and others safe on the trail. Prevent unnecessary hazards by knowing these few rules before you ride.
- The most important thing to remember on a trail: if you stop; get out of the way! If you’re gearing up to start out on a trail stay off to the side of the gate to permit other riders past. Not only are you a hazard to other riders if you block the trail, but this can be a huge hazard to yourself too. Make the trail a safe place to ride by getting off the trail if you stop for any reason.
2. Follow the signs- Don’t ride off trail, or in opposite directions. The prevailing directions of a trail are to ensure that you don’t collide with someone at speed, and to keep trail congestion to a minimum.
3. Let people pass and pass with care. It’s inevitable that you’ll be in a situation where you come up on a slower rider. Announce yourself, and make sure to give them time to move out of your way. For new riders, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings. If you hear a quicker rider coming behind, get out of the way! The path of least resistance is always best on a trail.
4. Be polite- Common courtesy isn’t lost just because you’re sending it. From passing with care, and moving out of the way, to keeping the trail clean, it’s our responsibility as riders to respect others and our trails. If you see an injured rider, or a rider struggling with a trail side repair- make sure they are safe, and call it out for any other riders in your group. Maybe even lend a hand.
5. Keep off of closed trails! Trails are almost always maintained by volunteers- dedicated riders, and trail stewards. Maintaining a ride-able trail requires a little effort from everyone, so that means respecting your fellow riders, and respecting the trail’s status.
6. Clean up after yourself. We’ve all had to make trail side repairs, or just had to stop for a snack. Whatever you bring in, you bring out.
7. Ride within your limits. Mountain biking is a challenging and rewarding experience. If you ride within your limits, you’ll be able to progress at a safe pace. In other words, don’t pick an expert trail for your first day out. If you do get into a sticky situation, Don’t be afraid to walk it out to a place where you’re comfortable getting back on the bike.
8. Awareness is key. Know your trail conditions, keep your head up, and make sure you listen for other riders and hazards on the trail.