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Thread: IMBA Rule #4

  1. #1
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    IMBA Rule #4

    4. Always Yield Trail.

    Let your fellow trail users know you're coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.
    Has this rule changed in recent years? Most notably the section in bold? I've always had the impression that bikers were to yield to hikers and equestrians, as in stop and let them pass. Obviously that's the most prudent thing to do with equestrians but with hikers you practically have to beg them to take the right of way. With the new(?) wording above, my understanding of the rule has changed.

    As we prepared to sign a new section of tri-use (hike-bike-run) trail that I've been working on we were going to have custom yield stickers made but we came to the conclusion that a picture couldn't accurately convey the yield message above. Are there plans to get rid of the IMBA trail yield triangle? If some people are going by the picture and some are going by the text, I think there will be conflict.

    Sean Cairns
    Board Member - Earth Riders Trails Association

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    Don't change the rules, allow for the users to determine how things sort out.

    i think it's important to note that in the case of equestrians, yielding is a matter of safety as a spooked horse can maim or even kill. This is a fact i think most people are oblivious to.

    As with hikers, i've had many offering to yield by getting off the trail. Most of the time i offer to have them continue as i will stop and allow them to pass when heading in opposite directions. i think it's a better way to go since it empowers them to still have a choice on whether to resume or still yield. And it also allows for pleasant short interaction which will pay dividends on how we are to be percieved as a user-group.

    i think the only time you would want to nix the rule is if you're introducing a bike specific skills trail, or free-ride trail where the style of riding makes it unsafe. But in some cases it might be prudent to ban hikers altogether. Which is the case for only one trail that i know about, in Oregon.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Don't change the rules, allow for the users to determine how things sort out.
    That's the point of my post, the rule already has changed. It used to be, stop and let hikers pass. Now it appears that it's ok to continue riding as long as you slow down and make eye contact to determine who should yield to whom. By definition though, that's not yielding. With the old rule, yield was the appropriate word. With the current statement, yield isn't appropriate, it's confusing. I don't know when the rule changed and I'm not opposed to the change but the complementary signage is now defunct. IMO


  4. #4
    zrm
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    I do like Skoockm, When oncoming, even if they have already stepped of the trail I will stop and invite them to come by. When given the option, most hikers will come by when given the opportunity. Most folks seem to really appreciate the jesture and it pays great dividends down the road. When overtaking, I slow to a walking pace and announce myself and pass by once they step aside.
    As much as it sometimes dosen't seem to make sense, i think the basic rule of bikes yielding to hikers is a good one.

  5. #5
    Ride Responsibly
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    "Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely."
    Dynamic situations call for flexible solutions. Let common sense prevail.

  6. #6
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    Good job!

    Personally it is to protect YOU!

    A horse can hit, stomp, or even fall on you. I learned from a friend of mine who rides horses this interesting fact. I never knew. A horse when riding a trail will always use the edge of the trail that is away from a slope or side hill. Reason being a horse is afraid of predators that can ambush him from the higher ground! So when confronting a horse always yield the right of way to the horse and get to the outside of the trail away from the slope or side hill. Even if you have to get of the trail completely. By removing the threat you also pose to the horse it will feel less threatened and thus pass quicker without any problems. By you taking control of the situation it makes Mt Bikers look in a better light and shows Equestrians we work together! Don't forget to say "HI" and "Nice horse"

    A horse makes decisions based on it's own safety maybe Mt bikers should use the same principle.

  7. #7
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    I don't think the rule has changed, it says always yield the trail. Which means stopping if necessary. On some trails (ie; wide doubletrack) you don't have to come to a complete stop, but you should slow down when encountering a hiker or horse in case you do need to stop... The sign is still accurate - hikers and horses have the right of way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA
    Don't forget to say "HI" and "Nice horse"


    Yah just to add for those not in the know. A horse sometimes thinks that a mountain biker is a new animal it's never seen before. It will usually assume you're a predator. Getting off the bike and talking let's it know your a human.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skookum
    Yah just to add for those not in the know. A horse sometimes thinks that a mountain biker is a new animal it's never seen before. It will usually assume you're a predator. Getting off the bike and talking let's it know your a human.
    Yep, you're hunched over, making little noise, with BIG eyes and probably moving quickly. Definitely look like a predator.

    D

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    Thinking back to my driver training days, "Yield" means "be prepared to stop". So it is situational. The IMBA sign requires some background knowledge, but so do many signs. My experience is that if you put a paragraph on the sign, most folks aren't going to read it.

  11. #11
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    Sean, you're too literal of a person.

    The trail that he's referring to does not "technically" have horses on it. It is Hike/Bike/Run, so there is no worry about equestrian encounters, with exception to the illiterate riders (which, evidently, most equestrians are illiterate and cannot read the words "no horses).

    I think at least part of the point he's driving at is that as a cyclist approaching a pedestrian (especially a hiker, but even a runner), by the time you "establish communication", you've pretty much already ridden past them. My experience tends to be that pedestrians almost always move over and allow you to pass, b/c you are the larger/faster/more formidable vehicle/user. It requires less effort for the pedestrian to yield (i.e. move one step to the left and stop) than it does for the cyclist, who is moving at a faster rate and has a vehicle (bicycle) to move also.

    It seems to me that hikers should yield to bikes (based simply on ease of effort and common sense), but IMBA enacted the rule b/c we as cyclists have always been "behind the curve" on the trail access issue relative to pedestrians and equestrians.

    Until reading this thread, I had never even thought about the fact that I almost never stop for hikers locally. I simply think it's b/c I am used to the fact that they just natually move over and yield for me. I always slow down, make eye contact, smile, etc., but I very rarely stop and allow them to pass, simply b/c I haven't needed to.

  12. #12
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    While we're on this tangent i'd like to throw out something i've discovered. i bought a cheesy squeeky horn mainly to be a dork. This is the second one i've owned, which i named Probey the alien. Welp anyways, i've used it to let hikers i'm coming so i don't suprise them. And the reaction i get from squeeking this horn is always positive. Sometimes people get a little freaked out by the sound, some wonder what kind of animal makes that noise, but all of them get a big smile when they see it's a squeeky horn. It's pretty cool, and has subsequently and unintentionally turned into a great tool for disarming the unnecessary guard most hikers put up while interacting with us.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    Thinking back to my driver training days, "Yield" means "be prepared to stop". So it is situational. The IMBA sign requires some background knowledge, but so do many signs. My experience is that if you put a paragraph on the sign, most folks aren't going to read it.
    This is the biggest downfall of the IMBA sign system: Reading. People don't go to trails to read, they come to ride, and the last thing they want to read about is rules.
    PLEASE! don't get me wrong, these signs do serve their purpose. They educate riders who take the time to look at them. The ones who don't (read,care) are the ones we need to reach most.
    This is why I believe education should take place at the point of purchase, bike or component, lbs or online. These are the only people who have one-on-one interaction with nearly all riders. Retailers and manufacturers should shoulder the majority of the responsibility for the education of riders.
    Last edited by Shelbak73; 11-20-2007 at 07:14 PM.

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    Horses

    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA
    Personally it is to protect YOU!

    A horse can hit, stomp, or even fall on you. I learned from a friend of mine who rides horses this interesting fact. I never knew. A horse when riding a trail will always use the edge of the trail that is away from a slope or side hill. Reason being a horse is afraid of predators that can ambush him from the higher ground! So when confronting a horse always yield the right of way to the horse and get to the outside of the trail away from the slope or side hill. Even if you have to get of the trail completely. By removing the threat you also pose to the horse it will feel less threatened and thus pass quicker without any problems. By you taking control of the situation it makes Mt Bikers look in a better light and shows Equestrians we work together! Don't forget to say "HI" and "Nice horse"

    A horse makes decisions based on it's own safety maybe Mt bikers should use the same principle.
    When you encounter a horse allway go below the trail. When you stand above the trail the horse sees you as a preditor. Get of the trail and give them some room. I know we should not get off the trail but with horses it is a must. I spent my childhood riding horses and they are an unpredictable animal.

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