Forum Index > Trail Talk > What to do when hiking and approached by a mountain bike on a narrow trail?
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Bowregard
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 9:26 am 
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My wife and I hiked Icicle Ridge Saturday up to the saddle, over to the overlook, and then back up towards the 4th of July trail. We were surprised to see mountain bike tracks on the latter part of the trail. I have no idea what is allowed but I can imagine the trail to the saddle might be pretty attractive for bike riders because the track is dirt with few rocks or roots and the switchbacks are pretty generous for a hiker trail but beyond the saddle it turns into a boot path in places. Anyway, on the way down we met a cyclist powering up. He was very courteous and stopped to let us pass. But it got me thinking what would we do if he had continued to ride? Or what if he had been coming down the slope behind us? My wife tries way too hard to get out of other hikers way to the point where she often risks falling so I told her to tell any bike approaching she was going to stop against the slope. I don't know if that was the right approach but I didn't want her going over the edge simply out of fear.

What do you do if you see or hear a bike approaching on a narrow trail? Do you follow normal  right hand passing rules? Do you stay against the slope? Does it matter if bikes are allowed on the trail?

I know many riders are very skilled but all it takes is a slight bump from a bike to send a hiker down the hillside. This is the first time I have run into bikes on a trail but I figured I better have a plan in case it happens again.

Thanks
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camut
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 9:36 am 
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Unless a trail is designated otherwise, bikes are to yield to all other users.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 10:32 am 
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Bikes are allowed on that trail, but don't use it commonly because it's too steep to be fun for most.
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jackchinook
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 10:59 am 
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I like this simple chart from singletracks.com:


That said, if Ive got my kids and/or dog on the trail, Ill usually yield to a bike since were usually high chaos level.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 11:47 am 
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jackchinook
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 12:20 pm 
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Lol, yes, that one is most appropriate!
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm 
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Most mountain bikers will yield to hikers because making hikers angry puts access at risk and just the mere existence of mountain bikers make many hikers angry.

That said, if a mountain biker is grinding up a steep grade, stepping off the trail and allowing them to keep their momentum is hugely appreciated.

Same for going down.  The cyclist has the responsibility of not colliding with the hiker, but the the cyclist is going to go faster.  Letting them get passed you and get gone is best for everyone.

I've seem plenty of hikers and especially trail runners just continue along in the middle of the trail as if there isnt a bicycle right behind them.
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texasbb
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 2:06 pm 
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camut wrote:
Unless a trail is designated otherwise, bikes are to yield to all other users.

But if they don't, and they're moving fast, I find it best to jump high enough to clear the hard, pointy handlebars and instead impact the soft, flexible human.
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 2:36 pm 
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texasbb wrote:
camut wrote:
Unless a trail is designated otherwise, bikes are to yield to all other users.

But if they don't, and they're moving fast, I find it best to jump high enough to clear the hard, pointy handlebars and instead impact the soft, flexible human.

What does "yielding" look like to you?

Yielding in traffic means slowing or speeding up or stopping if necessary but the responsibility for avoiding a collision is on the person with a yield sign.

Think of a freeway on ramp.  Yes, the person merging into traffic is the one that has to yield.  The cars already on the freeway can be courteous and change lanes or slow or speed up slightly to allow the merger on.  Or they can be dicks and block them.

If some one is going faster than you, they will want to pass you.   If they are going the opposite direction, you will have to get by each other.

How do you see it going?  What would make you happy?  Compare these thoughts to the trail runner debates.  Or uphill or downhill traffic having the right of way.

With the exception of horses, the person with the most speed/momentum has the potential to inflict the most damage has the responsibility of preventing a collision.

That does not mean its unreasonable for a hiker to step off the trail and let a mountain biker go by.

It sounds like the op had a positive interaction.  Mountain bike culture is to yield to hikers and be friendly. 

I have seen far more hikers and trail runners continue down the middle of the trail refusing to let a bike pass them than I have seen mountain bikers fail to yield or hit hikers or runners.
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camut
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 3:19 pm 
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It's very simple.  The yellow sign pictured above is self-explanatory.  Stock has the right-of-way over hikers and bikers.  Hikers have the right-of-way over bikes.
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 3:55 pm 
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It is very difficult to go downhill fast on a hiking trail with a mountain bike unless the trail is made for bike or motorcycle use with banked turns etc.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Backpacker Joe
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 4:02 pm 
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I would treat it like a horse.  Step off trail on the uphill side.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

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veronika
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 4:11 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
I would treat it like a horse.  Step off trail on the uphill side.

Ditto. It just seems easier for everyone.

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I may not have anyone rocking my world right now but, I don't have anyone messing it up either.
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Pahoehoe
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 4:12 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
I would treat it like a horse.  Step off trail on the uphill side.

You are suppose to step off the trail on the downhill side for horses to pass.

Uphill side is fine for bikes.  They dont spook.
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Cyclopath
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PostMon Nov 11, 2019 4:19 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
I would treat it like a horse.  Step off trail on the uphill side.

Thanks!

I always get out of runners ways.  On the trail or in the city, whether I have to or not.  I know they're busting their butts to get a workout, I don't want to stand in the way.  Same with cyclists on trails, it's easier for me to step aside as a hiker and I know I'll ruin (well, diminish) their fun if they're enjoying a descent, plus it's hard to get started again going up.

I figure it doesn't hurt to be considerate.
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Forum Index > Trail Talk > What to do when hiking and approached by a mountain bike on a narrow trail?
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