BicycleSource Newsletter

It takes more than one person to cause a conflict, so I have ideas for ALL trail users to help decrease the severity and amount of conflicts on multi-use trails and fire roads.

The first thing that we must do is check our attitudes. We must not judge others who use the trail. Regardless of the manner in which they use the trail, they are basically out there to enjoy nature and to enjoy their sport, whether it be hiking, backpacking, horse riding, or mountain biking. These forms of trail use have been shown to be similar in impact, and are all valid ways in which people enjoy natural areas. Restricting any one group is a form of discrimination.

All trail users are responsible for being alert and for watching and listening for others. But the faster that a trail user is moving, the more alert that user needs to be. Headphones, loud conversations, and daydreaming contribute to a loss of alertness.

All trail users should stay to the right of the trail. This allows people to approach and pass each other easily, and removes any indecision about the proper side on which to pass.

Faster users should slow down when approaching blind curves so as to not surprise a user on the other side. Sometimes this requires a much slower speed than the customary 5 MPH. Bicyclists can help to warn others by ringing a bell. In general, you are riding too fast if:

Faster users should take care so as to avoid throwing dust or mud onto other users.

Trail users need to get used to (desensitized) to other trail users. This will decrease fear. It is interesting to note that bicyclists are not afraid of other bicyclists, and that hikers are not afraid of other hikers, and that equestrians are not afraid of other equestrians. The more we know of each other, the less we fear each other. Concentrate on similarities -- not differences.

We are all out there for the same reasons: To enjoy nature, and to enjoy what we are doing...

By Roger McGehee,
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