View Poll Results: Which statement is best for a trail head sign?

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  • Downhill Riders stop for others

    6 5.08%
  • Downhill Riders yield for others

    52 44.07%
  • Uphill Riders have the Right Of Way

    60 50.85%
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  1. #1
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    Trail Etiquette Poll

    COTA is working on the best way to state "right of way". All three options say uphill has the right of way, but which would be best on a trail head sign?

    We have devised a few other messages, so this poll is really seeking only info on your opinion about which one of these three options BEST states the guideline.

    Thanks for your participation.
    "“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view." - Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    meatier showers
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    I started to click option #3 -- "Uphill Riders have the Right Of Way" but then I thought about it. Shouldn't it be "Uphill Traffic has the Right Of Way"?

    I mean, what about hikers? Equestrians?

    So I didn't vote.

    In fact, it got me to thinking. If we're talking about a mountain-bike-exclusive trail network, I'd seriously consider changing the rule for that... to downhill has right of way. Let me make it clear that for downhill right of way I'm ONLY talking about a trail network that is open EXCLUSIVELY to mountain bikes -- ZERO other users.

    My comments here might open a can of worms. Just for the record I'm a staunch supporter of uphill right of way on multi-user trail systems. That's why the word "rider" in option #3 hit me oddly.

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  3. #3
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    Sparty. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I also think there is a bit of irony in the title "trail etiquette poll" and the rule that one party has the right of way. If everyone exercised a bit of etiquette, there would be absolutely no need for a right of way rule. When I am out on the trail, I try to let the situation dictate my response. I try to be prepared to pull over for others in every situation, whether its uphill, downhill, or flat. If I'm grinding up a sweet downhill section, I almost always try to pull out of the trail to let downhill riders keep the fun up. When I'm going down and run into folks going up, I slow down and pull off to where I can stop to let them by. If they volunteer to move out of the way and tell me to keep going, I thank them and keep on. If they keep going, I let them through.

    Moral of the story, be nice to people and use some etiquette and everyone usually stays happy. Unfortunately, it really seems to be the folks that either completely ignore the rule (downhill riders not stopping and forcing uphill riders out of the way) or rigidly adhere to it with no exceptions. Classic example of this is the guy that gives you a dirty look like you didn't get far enough out of the way while he climbed by only to see him stop for a break 10 feet up the trail.

    Sooo, back to the poll, if I had a choice, I'd do an option 4: Common courtesy is the best way to ride. Otherwise, uphill has the right of way. Since that's not available as an option, I voted for 2 because provides a standard of conduct that downhill riders must observe rather than giving "rights" to uphill riders.

  4. #4
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    Thorkild, I know that you have ridden Falls Creek in SW WA. I cannot imagine getting off the bike on that early climb for some dude that most likely shuttled it. Even if said rider did climb up that should only make him more aware of the situation. Overall this topic is a slippery slope. Each situation is different and I most certainly agree in regards to common courtesy be the starting place for most decisions. BTW, this is kinda funny considering that there is no climbing in Bend. Sparty, I don't care for horsey types. I don't cause any trouble with them, but I don't consider them since they should be riding in the Wilderness anyway. I must mention again that it should depend on the situation. If I had to choose what is available it would be number three. For the shuttle types that I have repeatedly offended... sorry.
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  5. #5
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    I try to climb the road on Falls Creek to avoid conflicts and because I prefer loops. I also rarely ride it because I usually run into hikers through the best parts and there other less crowded places to ride. Same goes for coming down Ape Canyon--sweet trail, but not worth the stop and start. If I ran into you on Falls Creek, I'd be ready to stop regardless of which direction you were headed and I'd say hello and have a nice ride. I'm only snarky when someone rudely insists on their uphill right of way and then stops for a break after they get by me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    I try to climb the road on Falls Creek to avoid conflicts and because I prefer loops. I also rarely ride it because I usually run into hikers through the best parts and there other less crowded places to ride. Same goes for coming down Ape Canyon--sweet trail, but not worth the stop and start. If I ran into you on Falls Creek, I'd be ready to stop regardless of which direction you were headed and I'd say hello and have a nice ride. I'm only snarky when someone rudely insists on their uphill right of way and then stops for a break after they get by me.
    I would chat with you anytime. As far as Ape I am confused due to my desire to always complete it with Smith Creek... thus, a loop. You miss the best descent at Falls Creek by only doing the uphill on McClellan Meadows too. We agree about the courtesy issue period, no arguement at all. See you out there sometime. BTW, I tend to start Falls Creek in the late afternoon to avoid conflicts. If you start around 3 or so it's a lonely place...
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppa#1 View Post
    I would chat with you anytime. As far as Ape I am confused due to my desire to always complete it with Smith Creek... thus, a loop. You miss the best descent at Falls Creek by only doing the uphill on McClellan Meadows too. We agree about the courtesy issue period, no arguement at all. See you out there sometime. BTW, I tend to start Falls Creek in the late afternoon to avoid conflicts. If you start around 3 or so it's a lonely place...
    Good to know about the late start for Falls Creek. On Ape, the Smith Creek loop is by far my favorite way to do the ride. One of the best in the region. But, coming back down Ape is an absolutely amazing trail that rivals Oakridge in my opinion if you can avoid the people, which is nearly impossible.

  8. #8
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    Getting back to COTA and the Phil's trail area, I'd vote for big "TRAIL CLOSED" signs during muddy spring conditions.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    Sparty. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    ...
    Thanks, Brutha.

    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    ... Common courtesy is the best way to ride. ...
    And I agree with you here. Only problem is I've discovered that common courtesy isn't so common. It's the yokels that rules are written for, so the rules have to be spelled out pretty clearly. Even then, there's a good chance the yokels will do whatever they want anyway.

    Kinda like locks don't do much besides keep honest people honest. Thieves don't give a chit, they just up their game.

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  10. #10
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    By putting a rule in-place you are effectively granting someone superiority over another.
    I loath the biker->hiker->equestrian signs, it creates 3 classes of users. Signs should simply say "pay attention and be considerate of others."
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  11. #11
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    I voted for option 2. I don't like option 1 since it states that downhill riders need to stop, which in most cases really isn't necessary.

    Can't say that I agree with the idea of giving downhill riders the right-of-way even on MTB only trail systems. If all riders were considerate, skilled, and responsible sure, but downhill right-of-way seems like a bit of a license for inconsiderate riders to behave badly. Not only that, but going against a fairly universally applied standard will likely lead to issues, especially on a trail system that gets tons of use from people from out of town/state.

    I generally move over to let a downhill rider pass when I'm climbing unless it's really steep and technical and getting started again is an issue. If it's too narrow for both to pass, and I'm in a spot that is easier for me to stop than the downhill rider, then I'll stop and move off the trail. Same goes for a situation when I'm riding solo and I come across a large group coming the other way. Easier for me to yeild than for 5 other riders to do so.

    Pretty simple really when all invovled are being courteous and using common sense.

  12. #12
    Nat
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    I'll go with #2 but only if you change it to, "Downhill riders yield to others."

    On a multi-use trail network "uphill riders have right of way" gives uphill bike riders ROW over people on foot and horseback, which can lead to confusion.
    Last edited by Nat; 01-18-2013 at 05:06 PM.

  13. #13
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    Oregonians at a 4-way stop courtesy of Portlandia:
    Portlandia "No You Go" clip - YouTube

    Odd that doesn't translate often enough to the trail.

  14. #14
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    I still think the uphill rider has the right of way if we are talking about a cross-country trail. To be clear, I believe most trails around here are cross-country trails. But if a trail is designated as a down-hill or otherwise one-way trail (e.g. Sandy Ridge), then it's clear who has the right of way there!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by thorkild View Post
    Sparty. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I also think there is a bit of irony in the title "trail etiquette poll" and the rule that one party has the right of way. If everyone exercised a bit of etiquette, there would be absolutely no need for a right of way rule. When I am out on the trail, I try to let the situation dictate my response. I try to be prepared to pull over for others in every situation, whether its uphill, downhill, or flat. If I'm grinding up a sweet downhill section, I almost always try to pull out of the trail to let downhill riders keep the fun up. When I'm going down and run into folks going up, I slow down and pull off to where I can stop to let them by. If they volunteer to move out of the way and tell me to keep going, I thank them and keep on. If they keep going, I let them through.

    Moral of the story, be nice to people and use some etiquette and everyone usually stays happy. Unfortunately, it really seems to be the folks that either completely ignore the rule (downhill riders not stopping and forcing uphill riders out of the way) or rigidly adhere to it with no exceptions. Classic example of this is the guy that gives you a dirty look like you didn't get far enough out of the way while he climbed by only to see him stop for a break 10 feet up the trail.

    Sooo, back to the poll, if I had a choice, I'd do an option 4: Common courtesy is the best way to ride. Otherwise, uphill has the right of way. Since that's not available as an option, I voted for 2 because provides a standard of conduct that downhill riders must observe rather than giving "rights" to uphill riders.
    Completely agree with most of what you have to say here.

    It always made sense to me to have the right of way coming down hill. I usually stop, get out of the way, and make sure to yell "keep it goin bra" or something to communicate to the downhiller to keep going. But again I simply let the circumstances dictate cross traffic...... if I am on a really techy climb I'm trying to nail I'll have at it. I always ALWAYS completely stop for hikers, smile, say hello, and let them decide what's next, same for horses, and vehemently insist anybody riding with me do the same.

    I feel a little to much emphasis is put on signage and etiquette. After 30 some years out on the trails I've come to the conclusion either your a toolbox or your not. No sign is going to change that.

    And oh yeah, I almost always ride Falls Creek as loop and use the road, and you haven't ridden ST. Helens untill you've started down at Smith Creek and ridden the Ape Canyon loop counterclockwise
    Last edited by WHALENARD; 01-20-2013 at 01:24 PM.

  16. #16
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    I believe the right away should always be to the person moving the fastest, like the DH rider as the climber can usually move aside much easier than the descender in most circustances. All riders should yield to all other users going either direction unless the other user (hiker) steps aside and let you pass by of course. So, I vote for none of the above.

    Oh, I guess if I had to pick between the three, #2 would get my vote as the DH should yield and pass with precaution or as indicated by the uphill person to do so.
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  17. #17
    newfydog
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    I hate to see a DH rider lock it up to slow down enough to get off the trail when I can so easily move over at climbing speed. I would retain the ROW for the uphill rider, but I frequently wave the DH rider through.

  18. #18
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    Voted for #2.

    I usually will get over when climbing if I see someone heading downhill as that is what I would like someone to do for me - keep the flow going. That said, there are a few spots around where if I stop on my SS while climbing it most likely means I get to walk to the top. Been called a few classy names which usually gets me to stop anyway for a discussion.

    Like the four-way stop video, ROW is important so that everyone knows what is expected. The person with the ROW can always defer.

  19. #19
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    the 3 choices are all goofy to me
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockin View Post
    That said, there are a few spots around where if I stop on my SS while climbing it most likely means I get to walk to the top.
    Too me, this is the obvious, most self-evident reason. Hard to believe there really is a discussion on this at all.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
    I hate to see a DH rider lock it up to slow down enough to get off the trail when I can so easily move over at climbing speed. I would retain the ROW for the uphill rider, but I frequently wave the DH rider through.
    If a rider has to lock it up they are riding out of control & are in need of a little instruction, which often takes place as I ride past them & say, "No skidding, please."


  22. #22
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    skidders know no rules...
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorgedon View Post
    If a rider has to lock it up they are riding out of control & are in need of a little instruction, which often takes place as I ride past them & say, "No skidding, please."

    Great point. See this all the time...
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  24. #24
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    We need to stick with one rule IMO or it will get all muddled up. I voted uphill riders have the right of way, but I voted too quickly, because option 2 might be the better choice.

    "Bend with the trail, don't brake it"

  25. #25
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    I agree with TheSchwagman about larger signs being posted to keep trail users off during muddy conditions.

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