Our etiquette problem.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Our etiquette problem.

    A few thoughts on a current hot-button topic are HERE.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    A few thoughts on a current hot-button topic are HERE.

    Thanks for reading.
    I've heard the rule stated something to the effect of the person downhill of you has the ROW, which covers the fact that the faster rider bears the responsibility for executing a safe pass (assuming slower rider also going downhill) as well as the fact that the climbing rider has the right of way.

    I agree wholeheartedly that this is a problem. Thankfully, it's not a problem for the vast majority. But for the ones that do have a problem with it, it's a major problem.

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    We have enough users on our metro area trail clusters that we have been one way for 20 plus years. Only way it works here. No problems this way.


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  4. #4
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    100% agree. Good topic.
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  5. #5
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    Yes. I first encountered this thinking in the early days of Strava when someone literally yelled strava at me as they were descending a trail that a lot of folks complain about climbing, but in my opinion, the "full loop" of the system (no specified direction any day) works best if you climb this trail because the other trail gives you a longer flowier descent. So I saw them, then heard them, then grabbed two fists full of handlebar and stood up on my single speed and sprinted at them, right up the middle of the trail as they were approaching the steepest part of the trail and sideslope on the hill. Both of those noobs tried to get out of my way on the downhill side, only the first one put his foot down uphill, and the second one....downhill. Last I saw he was arse over teakettle rolling through the woods with this bike....

  6. #6
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    Part of the problem is that new riders may have never heard of this rule or even IMBA. I don't remember seeing this rule posted at my local trail head signs. In some cases not following trail etiquette may be willful intent but I bet a majority of it is ignorance. There's tons of discussions online where people ask who has the right of way, and then people debate the merits of each position often without realizing there's an established protocol from IMBA.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy3220 View Post
    Part of the problem is that new riders may have never heard of this rule or even IMBA. I don't remember seeing this rule posted at my local trail head signs. In some cases not following trail etiquette may be willful intent but I bet a majority of it is ignorance. There's tons of discussions online where people ask who has the right of way, and then people debate the merits of each position often without realizing there's an established protocol from IMBA.
    It really predates IMBA, if you want to get into it. NORBA put out the first rules. But neither of those are enforceable, because they're really just "best practices" for riders. What's enforceable, however, are rules adopted by land managers. Sure, they'll often adopt those rules verbatim, but not always.

    IMO, the resurgence in ROW arguments seems to stem from the fact that some bike parks with downhill-only or downhill-priority trails have customized trail rules for their own uses, and certain morons think they can apply those everywhere else. Some of them might be noobs who simply started riding at bike parks, but others are definitely not.

    Some land managers are better than others about posting trail rules. the USFS has a laundry list of rules for various users, so the mtb rules can be easily overlooked when they put ALL THE RULES on a single kiosk or their website. In my area, there are dozens of "trailheads" in our local USFS system. It's rather impractical for the USFS to put up kiosks with all the forest rules at every single one of them. They have a handful up at major trailheads, though.

    Some land managers don't budget for any signage whatsoever, true. But IME, that's an increasingly small number of land managers.

    A fair number of land managers simply fall back on the old ROW triangle that addresses multiuse trails. Simple and graphical, it conveys concepts needed for multiuse trails, true. Unfortunately, a number of land managers don't bother to address within-group issues like this one, though. And I think that's probably what jeremy has seen. It doesn't help that the places that are exceptions to the "best practices" rules posted by IMBA tend to be the ones that display them most prominently.

  8. #8
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    Oblivious ear bud wearing trail users are much more concerning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Oblivious ear bud wearing trail users are much more concerning.

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    annoying, but not the safety hazard as downhill riders thinking they have the ROW.

  10. #10
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    Totally trail/location specific. At the Kingdom Trail system, the policy is broadly the opposite - uphill riders should yield. Also, some trails are "de-facto" or explicit downhill direction, but some people inevitably choose to ride up them anyway.

    But yes, the generally accepted "yield to the climbing rider" is certainly not something that many new mountain bikers know about and remains the predominant etiquette rule in place.

  11. #11
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    Makes more sense to me that uphill riders would "yield". They have more maneuverability and it's easier for them to stop. Just speaking for myself, if I had to temporarily take a different line or put a foot down when climbing, it would impact my enjoyment very little. But if I had to come to a stop from a full descent speed, that would just suck, considering that the decent only lasts a short time and I had put so much time into climbing to get there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    Makes more sense to me that uphill riders would "yield". They have more maneuverability and it's easier for them to stop. Just speaking for myself, if I had to temporarily take a different line or put a foot down when climbing, it would impact my enjoyment very little. But if I had to come to a stop from a full descent speed, that would just suck, considering that the decent only lasts a short time and I had put so much time into climbing to get there.
    Wrong. When the absolute biggest rule for mountain bikers is that they should control their speed, the onus is directly on the faster rider.

    The faster rider is the one who is responsible for executing a safe pass. The mountain biker is responsible for safe encounters with hikers and horses. It's no different when encountering another rider going slower or going the other direction. If you're riding too fast to be able to safely handle an encounter with someone else on two-way multi-use trails, then YOU are riding too fast and you are out of control.

    Things change when trail rules change. If your trails are specifically labeled as directional, or mtb priority, or downhill priority, or whatever, then the rules change. But for standard two-way multi-use trails, this is how it works whether you like it or not.

    You do NOT have to come to a full stop when you encounter riders coming the other direction. You usually do with horses, though (unless the rider tells you otherwise). What you DO have to do is slow down enough that both riders can pass each other safely. MAYBE you'll have to stop, but that depends on what's safe. Minimally, all you need to do is slow down. If the climbing rider chooses to step to the side, that's fine. But you should STILL slow down when you pass them out of respect for them. Space can often be at a premium, and the faster the closing/passing speed, the more space is needed for them to feel comfortable. So the less space there is, the slower you should be passing them, whether they step aside or not.

    Enjoyment has no part of it. It's SAFETY.

  13. #13
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    Well I have to say, after reading all that, I am far more in favor of the uphill rider yielding than I was before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    Well I have to say, after reading all that, I am far more in favor of the uphill rider yielding than I was before.
    *whoosh*

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    I might be contributing to the problem but I just default to yielding (ascending or descending) if there is a safe spot to do so. Avoids conflicts and potentially having to educate people that don't care. The worst thing that happens is I get into a Canadian standoff with the other trail user/s every once in a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by notsendy View Post
    I get into a Canadian standoff with the other trail user/s every once in a while.
    This is the overwhelming majority of my trail interactions with bikers and hikers alike. A trend I notice is the busier a place is the less patience people have. All the more reason to keep outdoor and recreation spots as plentiful as possible.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    Well I have to say, after reading all that, I am far more in favor of the uphill rider yielding than I was before.
    This is obnoxiously 'me-centric'.

    How dare 'your' flow be interrupted. It's obviously more important than everyone elses.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by notsendy View Post
    The worst thing that happens is I get into a Canadian standoff with the other trail user/s every once in a while.
    Thankfully I also experience more of these than I do riders who refuse to yield no matter what.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    This is dangerously 'me-centric'.

    How dare 'your' flow be interrupted. It's obviously more important than everyone elses.
    FIFY

    I would MUCH rather have to stop while going downhill than to be run off the trail in a difficult spot while climbing.

    Sure, when I'm climbing I might have more time to react to a downhill rider (MIGHT...this isn't always the case) and choose a safer spot for the interaction to occur, but that does not change the fact that the faster, downhill rider has the RESPONSIBILITY to ride in control and to be able to adjust to others using the same trail. And this is owing to physics, and nothing else, because with increased speed, that downhill rider has the potential to cause far more damage to others.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    FIFY

    I would MUCH rather have to stop while going downhill than to be run off the trail in a difficult spot while climbing.

    Sure, when I'm climbing I might have more time to react to a downhill rider (MIGHT...this isn't always the case) and choose a safer spot for the interaction to occur, but that does not change the fact that the faster, downhill rider has the RESPONSIBILITY to ride in control and to be able to adjust to others using the same trail. And this is owing to physics, and nothing else, because with increased speed, that downhill rider has the potential to cause far more damage to others.
    I can't argue with that fix Harold.

    I personally can climb like a goat, and descend like I'm getting chased, and yet, I have NEVER had the asshat view that my fun is paramount to the other users on the trail. I don't want to get into a segue of drawing parallels as to the types of riders and their questionable skill level (which generally goes to the contrary of their purported self worth), but I've been riding so long that I can make some fairly safe assumptions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by notsendy View Post
    The worst thing that happens is I get into a Canadian standoff with the other trail user/s every once in a while.
    Agreed.

    Which is indicative of two users having a grounded sense of consideration for others, as opposed to being the sort that had mommy and daddy tell them that they were 'special'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    I have NEVER had the asshat view that my fun is paramount to the other users on the trail.
    Exactly. Yes. Thank you.

  23. #23
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    These ROW scenarios are endless so having trail rules is very helpful really. I get surprised from time to time by riders who seem to have no idea about trail courtesy or rules. They often have the "deer in the headlights look" that riders get when they are in over their heads. I get the feeling that they are in survival mode and just want to live through the experience. I just give them the room they need. I usually mention to the last guy in the group that he might want to teach his buddies some trail manners. Hopefully they research and or talk about the rules after they regroup.
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    Yes, it's the correct thing to do, but some folks don't care about being correct.

    If there's room I move over, if not I take the trail and make them stop.

    I try to avoid getting mad at the rider(s), stupid and ignorant is not an excuse, but it's often the reason.

    The only time I make a comment is when it's large group of riders, such as our local higher school mountain bike team; I make sure to let the "adults" know that I'm not pleased.

    Avoiding heavily used trails helps.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    This is obnoxiously 'me-centric'.

    How dare 'your' flow be interrupted. It's obviously more important than everyone elses.
    No, it isn't.

    If the uphill rider yields to the side, then the downhill rider can also yield as safely as he needs to for the pass while still riding. The uphill rider is going to be the downhill rider eventually, so he's paying it forward in a way.

    Putting all the responsibility on the downhill rider seems more dangerous to me. Trails are getting steeper and aren't designed for a rider to come to a stop on command in all places.

    I think my way is far more logical and also safer. You can throw childish insults as you wish. Please continue.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    No, it isn't.

    If the uphill rider yields to the side, then the downhill rider can also yield as safely as he needs to for the pass while still riding. The uphill rider is going to be the downhill rider eventually, so he's paying it forward in a way.

    Putting all the responsibility on the downhill rider seems more dangerous to me. Trails are getting steeper and aren't designed for a rider to come to a stop on command in all places.

    I think my way is far more logical and also safer. You can throw childish insults as you wish. Please continue.
    It isn't a childish insult, it's describing childish thinking. The difference isn't even subtle. It's glaring.

    You can't say "No, it isn't" if you changed the goal posts on what you said before. You made no mention of the downhill rider yielding at all.

    If both parties are being considerate and putting in effort to avoid conflict, great. That's the way it should be, and that's the way I ride, regardless of direction.

    But be honest, that's not what you were initially saying, and that's not what you initially meant. You're now (like 3 days later) just trying to ride the fence and not sound so entitled because you certainly did when describing getting your gnar going on the downhill, and how that is hard earned, so you should be able to enjoy it to its fullest. Uphill riders...out of the way.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    No, it isn't.

    If the uphill rider yields to the side, then the downhill rider can also yield as safely as he needs to for the pass while still riding. The uphill rider is going to be the downhill rider eventually, so he's paying it forward in a way.

    Putting all the responsibility on the downhill rider seems more dangerous to me. Trails are getting steeper and aren't designed for a rider to come to a stop on command in all places.

    I think my way is far more logical and also safer. You can throw childish insults as you wish. Please continue.
    I get what you are selling but in my neck of the woods when you are climbing at 3 or 4 mph and the descending rider is hitting 20 mph plus they are on top of you before you have time to react. That, combined with poor line of sight, leads to conflict. And when your in your anaerobic zone or simply looking at the flowers your not always looking up in 100% readiness for folks coming at you.

    My user experience doesn't include being buzzed by descending riders at mach speed within inches of me. It detracts from most of the reasons I'm out in the woods. On a week-day fine I'll move over and let them keep their flow on but on a busy weekend, which most are these days, no way I'm yielding. Especially on busy arterial trails. Slow your ass down, be a good steward of the resource, and be kind to those sharing the trails with you.

    Uphill versus downhill perspectives. Often the middle ground is the best. But on bi-directional, shared-use trails the idea that the downhiller has the right of way is only going to increase more user-conflict and pissed off people that then actually get involved rather than just complaining and boom mtn bikers have lost access or banned from the trail. It does happen.

  28. #28
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    This is the reason Iím in favor of directional trails. Clockwise on even days and counter-clockwise on odd days. Too many different schools of thought. Me personally, uphill rider has ROW. When on directional trails itís so much nicer to not worry about constantly looking up ahead for people getting their gnar on. Once I reach the downhill....I CAN GET MY GNAR ON! I really wish there were more directional trails that alternate everyday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I get what you are selling but in my neck of the woods when you are climbing at 3 or 4 mph and the descending rider is hitting 20 mph plus they are on top of you before you have time to react. That, combined with poor line of sight, leads to conflict. And when your in your anaerobic zone or simply looking at the flowers your not always looking up in 100% readiness for folks coming at you.

    My user experience doesn't include being buzzed by descending riders at mach speed within inches of me. It detracts from most of the reasons I'm out in the woods. On a week-day fine I'll move over and let them keep their flow on but on a busy weekend, which most are these days, no way I'm yielding. Especially on busy arterial trails. Slow your ass down, be a good steward of the resource, and be kind to those sharing the trails with you.

    Uphill versus downhill perspectives. Often the middle ground is the best. But on bi-directional, shared-use trails the idea that the downhiller has the right of way is only going to increase more user-conflict and pissed off people that then actually get involved rather than just complaining and boom mtn bikers have lost access or banned from the trail. It does happen.
    +1

    I want to like downhill having right of way but there's way to much potential for damage. You need to keep your pace within sight lines and that's tough with summer overgrowth. I push that sight line limit as close as I can and no doubt exceed it in short sections but that's only on weekdays when there's very few other trail users. When the trail is busy I keep a strict line of sight rule to my downhill pace.

    Downhill has to take responsibility for causing a collision but I feel like right of way needs to be a mutual kind of agreement when two riders meet. Taking the hard line of holding your ground as an uphill rider only pisses people off regardless of who's right or wrong.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir kayakalot View Post
    This is the reason Iím in favor of directional trails. Clockwise on even days and counter-clockwise on odd days. Too many different schools of thought. Me personally, uphill rider has ROW. When on directional trails itís so much nicer to not worry about constantly looking up ahead for people getting their gnar on. Once I reach the downhill....I CAN GET MY GNAR ON! I really wish there were more directional trails that alternate everyday.
    This would be great but wouldn't work in the trail parks around here. There tends to be a perimeter trail and the middle gets filled with other trails. There wouldn't be a way to make the inner trails directional. Also to reach an inner trail you might need to ride 3+ miles of the perimeter loop one way when it's only 1/2 mile in the "wrong" direction.

  31. #31
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    I get that directional trails seriously reduce conflict on busy systems. I've ridden plenty of places that had directional trails and it makes sense in some places. But the system needs to be designed around that. You need discrete loops. It would be wildly difficult where I live/ride now. Not to mention the fact that the trail systems where I ride are going to have hikers on them going any direction, and some trails will have horses also going any direction.

    A lot of the trails riders like for downhills here have relatively long sight lines, which helps minimize potential conflicts by giving downhill riders more time to react/adjust. It can also give the climbing riders some time. Loud hubs and conversation (at least for descending riders) can even give others an audible hint of something coming, especially on the trails that have less open sight lines (there are some).

    But you absolutely cannot expect a climbing rider who has a good chance of being at the wall physically to do much when there's a rider descending at mach chicken. Where I ride, if you're climbing singletrack, it's going to be technical and steep and your line selection is at a premium. Chances are, you wouldn't be able to ride anything except the line you're on. So your choices are to ride THAT line, or stop to get off the side, then walk. But when you're redlined like that, your decision-making abilities are slower. You might not have the ability to react to a fast descending rider in any way other than bailing. In steep, chunky terrain, there's a good chance that ditching the bike to avoid a descending rider will get you hurt. In some places, it might get you killed (falls from height are the number one killer in the backcountry).

    Who has more control over these kinds of interactions? The descending rider. If it's unsafe for a downhill rider to slow down, then there's a couple of possible reasons that they failed in that scenario.

    If the terrain is too chunky to allow for braking, then the descending rider didn't check out the line before choosing to ride it. Chances are, nobody will be riding up something like this, but you very well might have someone hiking it (carrying their bike or no). Before committing to something like this, you need to have eyes on it. An exception here would be if the trail in question gives descending rider explicit right of way. On jump lines and dedicated downhill trails with big drops and such, this very well might be the safest option. But if no explicit right of way is given, you MUST assume that the descending rider is the lowest on the ROW scale and must exercise extra caution before sending it.

    The descending rider may also simply be riding too fast for conditions. If it's slippery, you need to slow TF down.

    The descending rider might be riding too fast for their equipment, too. Maybe the tires have insufficient grip to allow for a hard braking effort at speed. Maybe the brakes are inadequate for high speed downhills (wimpy xc brakes on big mountain descents, for example). If this is the case, then you probably shouldn't be on that bike on that trail. This kind of thing is pretty common in touristy mountain riding destinations.

    The descending rider might be riding too fast for their riding skills. If you can't control your bike on a trail, then you should level up your riding before attempting that trail.

    There's SO MUCH misunderstanding about what yielding actually means, too. At its minimum, it just means slowing down enough so that the person with the right-of-way has time to make a decision about the encounter. The descending rider doesn't have the right to force a particular decision. Slow down, be acknowledged, let the other person decide. If the trail is so narrow that there's simply not space for either rider to ride past safely, then both of you might have to stop and dismount. If you're approaching some chunder that you want to send unimpeded, maybe you stop and wait for the climbing rider (or hiker) to clear the spot so you can let 'er rip. The answer is not to send it while someone else is in the middle of it. That's going to get someone hurt. If they want to step to the side to give you room for a line, then slow down enough to give them a chance to do so without falling over themselves. If it's not the line you want, then stop and wait.

    Practically every permutation of this happens on nearly every ride that I do. Sometimes I'm the climbing rider and sometimes the descending one. The yield happens the moment the descending rider slows down to give more time for decisions to happen. If there's room for both riders to continue riding, then good etiquette is to slow down enough that the slowest rider doesn't feel threatened by your speed. What speed that means depends on the space. If you're talking about a gravel descent and there's tons of space, then you don't need to do much to give that other rider space. If you're talking about something narrow enough that there might be a couple inches between your bars, then you slow WAY down to ensure the encounter happens safely.

    It's all very fluid. But note that every scenario starts with the descending rider slowing down. If the descending rider has to ride through the brush to avoid a crash, then the descending rider was going too fast.

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    Well said Harold.

    It will still be argued, without doubt.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    This would be great but wouldn't work in the trail parks around here. There tends to be a perimeter trail and the middle gets filled with other trails. There wouldn't be a way to make the inner trails directional. Also to reach an inner trail you might need to ride 3+ miles of the perimeter loop one way when it's only 1/2 mile in the "wrong" direction.
    Good point, I totally agree. It only works on trails that have an outer loop with no intersections. The rest comes down to rules or common sense. Common sense is out of the equation any more, so that leaves us with rules. Uphill rider has right of way. Now back to the arguments.
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  34. #34
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    On our trails this has gotten so out of hand, my son, my friends and I just gave up and let the downhillers go by. Once, last summer, we all pulled over when we saw some guy coming. He stopped and yelled you guys are coming uphill! You have the right of way! We all shook hands with him as we passed by. First guy in years that even knew the rule.
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    Except the downhill rider is the one who needs to be responsible because they are the ones who are riding at a higher rate of speed and they are the cause of uncontrolled collisions.

    When I think of responsibility, this includes recognizing when and where there could be a potential for a collision and "slowing down", also wearing a bell to warn downhill riders. Uphill riders are moving slower, they have the ability to move over or stop, but they cannot control the behaviors of the downhill riders.

    Imagine for a moment if the uphill and downhill riders were going the same speed, then we wouldn't be as concerned, so really the burden is always going to be on the downhill rider to ride "under control".

    I'm all for one way trails, but that's not an option in most places.

    I would rather the downhill riders have less fun than cause a collision through carelessness.

    You might feel the same if you were involved in a serious collision.

    All this ^ aside, I am a downhiller, I ride up to go down, so it is frustrating to have to control your speed and watch for traffic, sucks to be us.

    Be responsible, don't be a dick, don't be that guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    No, it isn't.

    If the uphill rider yields to the side, then the downhill rider can also yield as safely as he needs to for the pass while still riding. The uphill rider is going to be the downhill rider eventually, so he's paying it forward in a way.

    Putting all the responsibility on the downhill rider seems more dangerous to me. Trails are getting steeper and aren't designed for a rider to come to a stop on command in all places.

    I think my way is far more logical and also safer. You can throw childish insults as you wish. Please continue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Well said Harold.
    +1 to this.

    There was an old Specialized (I think?) ad with for some S-Works frame (I think, maybe one of their MMC frames? Funny the things that stick in your head) that I thought had John Tomac in it though that doesn't make sense, so maybe Ned Overend? Anyway, the line in the ad was:

    "Thou shouldst not careen lest thou art racing".

    Words to ride by?

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    There are many younger riders in my area who actually don't know that the trail they are bombing down existed before they began riding mobs. Or that it existed before mtbs altogether.
    And these trails are some of the most popular trails in the County. I had a hiker tell me that an adolescent, all decked out in his DH gear, yelled at him to get off of THEIR trail!

    This is stupidity and ignorance at a quantum level.
    Just call me Ray

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radium View Post
    There are many younger riders in my area who actually don't know that the trail they are bombing down existed before they began riding mobs. Or that it existed before mtbs altogether.
    And these trails are some of the most popular trails in the County. I had a hiker tell me that an adolescent, all decked out in his DH gear, yelled at him to get off of THEIR trail!

    This is stupidity and ignorance at a quantum level.
    And it probably has many parallels in their everyday behavior. The more the principle of being a social being that doesn't place their own experience as paramount over others (I mean, this points to clinical narcissism) is explained to them, the more they return with entitled snark that illustrates they have their heads completely inserted up their own sphincters...because how dare their mellow be harshed by being forced to be considerate.

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    I had a recent unique experience. I encountered a motorcyclist at the top of a trail (legal for him). He was on his phone for a second and so I told him I would go ahead since I was probably faster downhill than he was. He smiled but nodded in acknowledgement. I cruised down the hill and as I was climbing back out of the draw a few miles later, I heard him coming up behind me so I pulled off to the side. He flew past me. Whatever. I just shook my head and continued on. A few seconds later I heard his engine cut out and then a whole bunch of swearing. Btw, at that point we'd turned back downhill. Anyway, I came around a tight corner to find the motorcyclist picking his bike up of the ground and he was yelling at an ebiker who had been coming up the trail but was now standing off the trail. I overheard the motorcyclist explaining to the ebiker that since most bikers rode the trail the other way, he should have been as well and he should have expected downhill traffic and should have moved. Instead the motorcyclist had been forced to dump his bike at high speed around a blind corner. Having overheard all this, I stopped him right there. I explained that even if it was a popular trail going our way, it was still a good and popular trail going the ebikers way. I also explained that the downhill rider, regardless of mode, needed to ride in a manner as to expect traffic around blind corners and to be able to stop if needed. He was wrong and he wasn't happy hearing it although I suspect he was more embarrassed than anything. He left in a huff and I made sure the ebiker was ok and then I made fun of him for being on an ebike, because f that guy ().

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    I used to be an avid steep creek kayaker. There was always a risk that a strainer or being off line could take your life, so paddling conservatively was the name of the game.

    Ride like you expect the unexpected and you wonít be surprised.
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    There have been a few head-on collisions at some of my local trails and in every case, it was an out of control downhiller not holding back even when there were blind spots. The climber is basically deer in the headlights and really has no time to react. So there has to be some incentive to downhillers to take it easy on blind sections of the trail. Giving them the right of way is just egging them on.

    But I am generally in favor of directional trails. One thing I've learned is no matter how much you broadcast the rules, post the rules, mark them with bold letters on big red signs, post them on the website, post them on the club Face Book page, or just tell them directly, some people just don't give a fvck. It's like riding muddy trails, you can't stop them. A percentage of the population are just sociopaths.

    Some of our local trail builders tend to be idealistic about people "just have to take personal responsibility" and had the brilliant idea to create a two way flow trail. Within the first week, there was a gnarly head-on. I ride that trail in fear, both climbing and descending.

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    I'm so happy my local trail are nearly 100% directional and many (most?) of the ones I ride in the state are too.

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    As a noob, this thread has been very enlightening. I did not know of the IMBA or any universal rules. But I have been out on MTB only parks, bi-directional trails, shared use/hiking trails, fire roads, etc. Without knowing the rules, my instinct was to always stop completely for hikers/dog walkers and to yield to uphill riders. I pulled aside for an uphill rider and he said "Three more back" as he passed, which I appreciated, as they were ascending around a blind corner.

    I think I've just been yielding to anybody tho, uphill or down. Maybe subconsciously I'm yielding to more experienced riders, which right now is everybody.

    BTW, if I ever saw a horse on a trail I would either turn around and pedal as fast and far away as possible, or throw my bike and hide behind the biggest tree I could find. Horse are terrifying.
    -Flat Bars, Flat Pedals, Flat Saddle, and frequently Flat Tires.

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    Real question....how do you announce your presence around a blind corner or any area with limited sightlines? Obviously a bell would work but guessing not a lot of mountain bikers are rocking a bell. Golfers yell "fore", on the rail trails I give pedestrians an "On your left" before I pass. Is there a phrase mtbr's use?
    -Flat Bars, Flat Pedals, Flat Saddle, and frequently Flat Tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwalker View Post
    Real question....how do you announce your presence around a blind corner or any area with limited sightlines? Obviously a bell would work but guessing not a lot of mountain bikers are rocking a bell. Golfers yell "fore", on the rail trails I give pedestrians an "On your left" before I pass. Is there a phrase mtbr's use?
    Just expect it. You should always be covering the brakes anyway. You can't be perfect but you can be ready.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwalker View Post
    Real question....how do you announce your presence around a blind corner or any area with limited sightlines? Obviously a bell would work but guessing not a lot of mountain bikers are rocking a bell. Golfers yell "fore", on the rail trails I give pedestrians an "On your left" before I pass. Is there a phrase mtbr's use?

    Loudly yell STRAVA before any blind corners.

    The last couple of years we have noticed an increase of entitled a-holes on the dirt sidewalk trails. Usually on the weekends we "run into" large groups while climbing that are not looking ahead even with good sight lines. When they finally see us and slow down their response is "there's a lot more coming" or similar said in an aggressive tone. As there is plenty of room for riders to pass on a trail that is so wide we continue climbing. This is met with 4 of 5 riders acting pissy that their "flow" is interrupted with one acting like an adult and courteously giving space and or yelling "rider up".
    The women in a couple of these groups bringing up the rear have been very nice, yielding and calling "rider up" and saying "hello" ect.. So it seems that proper etiquette is sometimes ignored by the Bro crowd due to pack mentality.
    Without making trails directional I think more thought should go into construction. Far too little planning for uphill traffic, which is often a highlight used during the permitting phase, is done and a result is areas of high speed downhill feeding into blind corners without any though to checking riders speed. But like has been said many times all of these trails are just a copy of the first one built with no character.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwalker View Post
    Real question....how do you announce your presence around a blind corner or any area with limited sightlines? Obviously a bell would work but guessing not a lot of mountain bikers are rocking a bell. Golfers yell "fore", on the rail trails I give pedestrians an "On your left" before I pass. Is there a phrase mtbr's use?
    There are active ways and passive ways. I prefer having passive signaling, because actively doing this stuff can be exhausting given the "right" conditions. But IME, any passive signaling still should be combined with some active signaling.

    The Timber bell offers a passive jingle as you ride, which works whether you're climbing or descending. It's probably the best passive option for tight conditions with poor sight lines.

    I tend to rely on loud hubs for the most part, though. That allows for a level of passive signaling when I'm coasting (doesn't really do much when climbing). When OTHERS have loud hubs (Industry Nine builds their stuff in my area, so lots of loud hubs in the woods here), I tend to call out "rider up" when I hear them so they know to slow down. Because one thing that passive signaling does is it can make it harder for the person with the passive signaling to hear others' passive signaling.

    One notable conflict I had with descending riders failing to yield, I did this because I heard them a long way off and they STILL charged through, forcing me and another rider off the trail. And they apparently forced a third climbing rider off the trail before they reached us, and that's about when we heard them.

    One thing my group tries to do a good job of is for the first person in the group to call out when there are other trail users ahead, and to inform those folks how many of us are following. That way, riders farther back can slow down more gradually and be prepared.

    But yeah, on a tight trail with poor sight lines, our primary tends to be staying prepared, so moderating speed and covering the brakes to be ready for a quiet hiker who doesn't call out, that sort of thing. A well-maintained trail SHOULD have the brush trimmed far enough back on either side of the actual trail to open visibility and improve safety. There's definitely a selfishness problem going on with people who absolutely cannot be bothered to moderate their speeds when conditions make that increasingly risky/dangerous. For them, mountain biking isn't fun, period, unless they're always riding at speeds at or above the threshold of control. Similarly, I know people who are absolutely unwilling to slow down in order to ride with a friend who is slower. Seems to me that these are two sides of the same coin.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by tick_magnet View Post
    There have been a few head-on collisions at some of my local trails and in every case, it was an out of control downhiller not holding back even when there were blind spots. The climber is basically deer in the headlights and really has no time to react. So there has to be some incentive to downhillers to take it easy on blind sections of the trail. Giving them the right of way is just egging them on.

    But I am generally in favor of directional trails. One thing I've learned is no matter how much you broadcast the rules, post the rules, mark them with bold letters on big red signs, post them on the website, post them on the club Face Book page, or just tell them directly, some people just don't give a fvck. It's like riding muddy trails, you can't stop them. A percentage of the population are just sociopaths.

    Some of our local trail builders tend to be idealistic about people "just have to take personal responsibility" and had the brilliant idea to create a two way flow trail. Within the first week, there was a gnarly head-on. I ride that trail in fear, both climbing and descending.
    I know the trail you're talking about, I know the situation, and I know a number of the people involved in building it. Haven't ridden it, though. I don't know all of the things about it, but people DO have to take personal responsibility. You have to take personal responsibility every time you climb on your bike, every time you wake up, every day of your life.

    You're right that some people don't care, and that some of them are simply sociopaths. How do you deal with it? No amount of rulemaking is going to work for those people. In fact, the more rules you have, the less they'll work because there's a segment who actively opposes as many written rules as they think they can get away with. One nice thing is that the design of the trail itself can be used to push riders a certain way. This is one reason why it's good to have folks maintaining and revisiting a trail after it's built. You can tweak the trail to account for any issues you might be seeing. Drainage, user issues, and so on.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    The Timber bell offers a passive jingle as you ride, which works whether you're climbing or descending. It's probably the best passive option for tight conditions with poor sight lines.
    Other pros: It warns people well ahead of time vs. a sudden "on your left!" and I find that the chime is good at cutting through headphones. When I use the bell, hikers are often already standing on the side of a trail by the time I get to them.

    It's weird that people actually take the time to comment negatively about bells on MTB vids. If there's a bell in a vid there is probably some version of "every time a bell rings a biker loses their wings" in the comments.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I know the trail you're talking about, I know the situation, and I know a number of the people involved in building it. Haven't ridden it, though. I don't know all of the things about it, but people DO have to take personal responsibility. You have to take personal responsibility every time you climb on your bike, every time you wake up, every day of your life.

    You're right that some people don't care, and that some of them are simply sociopaths. How do you deal with it? No amount of rulemaking is going to work for those people. In fact, the more rules you have, the less they'll work because there's a segment who actively opposes as many written rules as they think they can get away with. One nice thing is that the design of the trail itself can be used to push riders a certain way. This is one reason why it's good to have folks maintaining and revisiting a trail after it's built. You can tweak the trail to account for any issues you might be seeing. Drainage, user issues, and so on.
    I agree on personal responsibility to a point. If the consequences are huge, I am not going to rely on that - like people hitting 30mph on a flow trail. Make the damn thing directional already. But it seems like somebody needs to be hauled away in an ambulance or a lawsuit has to occur before things change.

    I am okay with two-way trails if it's an old school, low speed tech type trail.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by tick_magnet View Post
    I agree on personal responsibility to a point. If the consequences are huge, I am not going to rely on that - like people hitting 30mph on a flow trail. Make the damn thing directional already. But it seems like somebody needs to be hauled away in an ambulance or a lawsuit has to occur before things change.

    I am okay with two-way trails if it's an old school, low speed tech type trail.
    I'm fairly certain that in this case, the land manager is part of why things are the way they are. But also, when you make a trail one-way, you need to have a similar-difficulty (or easier) trail that goes the other way, too. If you don't have that, then you can't make the trail in question directional.

    I know of a number of instances scattered about where land manager resistance is at least part of the reason why certain trails have user conflict issues.

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    The Timber Bell seems like a great solution and I'll add "rider up" to my vocabulary.

    Funny about the bike itself being noisy, this is the same reason motorcyclists use obnoxiously loud exhaust pipes. My bike had some drive train noises plus an incessant clicking which turned out to be the pedals (probably a busted bearing). Loud enough that most pedestrians heard me well in advance. After a few youtube videos and new pedals my bike is much quieter and I feel stealthier, which is not a good thing.
    -Flat Bars, Flat Pedals, Flat Saddle, and frequently Flat Tires.

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