I’m sure you’ve seen it. You’re out for a hike on your favorite trail when a group of mountain bikers comes flying around the corner, barely slowing down as they whiz past you. It’s enough to make any hiker angry.
But who has the right of way on trails? Were the mountain bikers in the right? Or do mountain bikers yield to hikers?
The answer is, that it depends. Let’s cover every situation.
Who Has Right Of Way? Hikers Or Mountain Bikers?
There are a few factors to consider when trying to determine who has the right of way on trails. The first is whether the trail is multi-use or not. Multi-use trails are open to both hikers and mountain bikers, while single-use trails are designated for either hikers or mountain bikers only.
If you’re on a multi-use trail, hikers and mountain bikers should yield to each other. That means if a mountain biker is coming down the trail and there’s a hiker heading up, the mountain biker should yield to the hiker.
The same goes for if there are two mountain bikers going in opposite directions. The mountain biker heading downhill should yield to the one going uphill.
In general, the person traveling downhill should yield to those traveling uphill. This rule is based on the idea that it’s easier for someone going downhill to stop and yield than it is for someone going uphill. Think of it this way – uphill hiking takes a lot more energy than downhill hiking. So, if two people are going in opposite directions and one is working a lot harder than the other, the one who isn’t working as hard should be the one to yield.
Are There Exceptions to The Right Of Way Rule While Hiking?
Yes, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if a trail is very narrow, it might be impossible for a downhill mountain biker to yield to an uphill hiker. In this case, the uphill hiker would likely yield since it’s easier for them to move off the trail than it is for the mountain biker.
The second factor to consider is the type of trail. As we just mentioned, there are multi-use trails and single-use trails. If you’re on a single-use trail, then the hikers have the right of way if it’s a hiking-only trail and mountain bikers have the right of way if it’s a biking-only trail.
At the end of the day, being respectful and courteous of other people is important when you’re on trails. That means if you’re a mountain biker, don’t ride on hiking-only trails; if you’re a hiker, don’t hike on biking-only trails. Not only is it disrespectful, but it can also be dangerous.
And when in doubt, yield to the other person. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you are on a narrower trail.
Now that we’ve covered who has the right of way, let’s talk about how to yield properly.
How To Yield Properly On A Hiking Trail
Yielding on trails is just like yielding on roads. If you’re coming up on another hiker or biker and you can tell they’re going to yield, give them plenty of room to do so.
If you’re not sure if the other person is going to yield, slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.
Always try to move off the trail as much as possible when yielding. This will make it easier for the other person to get around you and help minimize the trail’s impact.
If you’re on a mountain bike, dismount your bike before moving off the trail. This will make it easier for everyone involved.
If you yield, always thank the other person for doing so. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in making everyone feel respected and appreciated.
Remember, we’re all out on the trails to enjoy ourselves, so let’s be kind and courteous to one another.
When it comes to who has the right of way on trails, there are a few factors to consider. The first is whether the trail is multi-use or not. Multi-use trails are open to both hikers and mountain bikers, while single-use trails are designated for either hikers or mountain bikers only.
If you’re on a multi-use trail, the general rule is that uphill hikers and mountain bikers have the right of way over those going downhill. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so always use common sense and courtesy when interacting with other trail users.