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Old 08-13-05, 02:28 PM   #1
YoungOneNC15
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What are some trail precautions?

I'm fairly new to trail riding, and was wondering what some of the safety measure I should take are, and what are some etiquettes I should know? I know the usual stuff like wear a helmet and try to stay hydrated and the such, but what are some others?
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Old 08-13-05, 03:56 PM   #2
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When you say trails - what kind of trials are your referring to? (Mountain bike trails, bike trails along a city park ...?) If you're off road, and far from people, I'd definitely take a cell phone - with a FULLY charged battery. I'd keep ID in my backpack or pocket - with insurance and emergency contact information, as well as blood type and any drug allergies.

If you're on bike trails where there are plenty of people, equip your bike with a simple "bell" so you can "ding-a-ling" as you approach people who may have their backs to you before you pass them. People usually yell out, "On your left" - I like to ring my bell and say "Excuse me ... coming through on your left." I'm sure people can add plenty to this common courtesy and how it's done.

There are LOTS of things to take into consider if you want to ride trails safely. You have to think of your safety and that of others also on the trail. I'd be cautious not to try to show off or perform stunts when passing ... maintain safe distances ... watch out on hairpin turns or if you are crusing downhill very fast and not familar with what's ahead. Again, hopefully other forum members can add to this.
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Old 08-14-05, 04:25 AM   #3
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I have seen the speed limit on trails (bike paths) listed as 20 MPH.

Also, you should yield to all other path users - pedestrians, blade users, and horses.

At least these are some of the rules in Ohio.
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Old 08-14-05, 02:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoungOneNC15
I'm fairly new to trail riding, and was wondering what some of the safety measure I should take are, and what are some etiquettes I should know? I know the usual stuff like wear a helmet and try to stay hydrated and the such, but what are some others?
I'm not sure what type of trails you mean. If they are in an urban area:

1- Be ready for anything. Kids, roller-bladers, squirrels, etc.
2- Watch for tree roots and tree branches. Trails aren't always maintained, and you might find yourself dismounting the hard way.
3- In the case of urban trails, find out if there is an emergency number just for the trails.
4- Know where you are: is the trail named? Numbered? Are intersections labelled?

In the event on an emergency knowing your exact location could save your life It could take a while for authorities to find you, "somewhere on the east river trailway". If you tell them, "1km east of the falls" or "at the intersection of trails 40 and 41" you are much more likely to get help promptly.

(If anyone from Ottawa happens to read this, for emergencies not immediately life threatening on NCC trails and in the Greenbelt call (613) 239-5353.)
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Old 08-14-05, 09:14 PM   #5
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Take it easy first time on any trail, so you can handle surprises. When you are familiar with the trail you will know how fast you can go in safety.
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Old 08-15-05, 10:12 AM   #6
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For either kind of trails:

Know the rules.

Be ready to fix your bike. I once did an informal survey on the beach bike path. Not one bike in 20 had a pump of any kind. This was at a place where it was a couple of miles in either direction to anything. On the mountian trails it is even more important. I would suggest not only knowing flat repair but also know how to use a chain breaker and how to rig up a bike as a single speed if things are really broken.

Have water. On mountian trails be aware water bottles can shake out on a rough downhill.

For mountian biking take the same kind of precautions you would when hiking the same area. After all if things go wrong that may be axactly what you end up doing.
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Old 08-15-05, 07:52 PM   #7
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I bought myself a camelback the other day, and got my new bike today, so I hit some trails around here. I'm mostly talking about mountain trails, as there are not many trails on roads here in my town.
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Old 08-16-05, 03:36 AM   #8
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Ride within your capabilities. When riding solo, leave a bigger safety margin.
Beware animals, both quadrapeds and bipeds.
You should be able to fix most common mechanical problems or be comfortable walking home.
Helmets are not the only safety items. Gloves will save your hands from injury if you fall. Take a mini first aid kit for cuts and grazes.
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Old 08-16-05, 04:29 AM   #9
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-Keep an assured clear distance in front of you.
-Pass with at least one person-width of space between you and a pedestrian.
-Realize that sometimes you'll get stuck behind someone; when this happens, just wait for a gap the way cars have to wait for a gap to pass us.
-Get a bell and use it. You can zoom by a pedestrian at 25 mph, and they will often thank you if you've rung your bell first.
-If you have basic repair tools (which you should have) and you see another cyclist stopped at the side of the path, offer to help.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 08-16-05 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:13 AM   #10
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I usually make it a point to wear some type of bright, moisture wicking t-shirt or jersey-so you may be seen. Of course, hydration (water or sports drink), chain tool, patch kit(or extra tubes), mini-pump or CO2 inflator, and I carry a multi-tool just in case. You might want to take along some type of nutrition for longer rides. That is about the minimum. Electrical tape can come in handy-say a spoke breaks and you want to tape it in place so it doesn't catch in anything. Saw a broken chainstay held in place by taping a branch to the stay-held long enough so the rider could make it back to his truck! Oh, and a helmet, of course. Courtesy on the trail is a must-if you want to continue to have access to trails, and "leave no trace"-don't leave anything on the trail that wasn't there when you started. Yield to all other users. Don't ride on a muddy trail-harms the trail, gives those who don't like bikes another excuse to try to ban them.
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Old 08-16-05, 03:04 PM   #11
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Ettiquette
1) When you stop on the trail, move off to the side quickly.
2) Something I've picked up from other trail riders (not "bike path" but "mountain bike trail"). The main trail I ride is often very narrow and winding - you can't see very far ahead of you. So when I come across another rider coming the opposite way, I always let him/her know how many more people are behind me (i.e. say "Two more back!").
3) I'll reiterate Daily Commute - carry basic tools. If you break down, and someone else happens along and decides to help you out, the least you can do is have the right tool handy.
4) Yield to hikers & horses.

Safety
1) Bring enough water. Drink before you're thirsty.
2) Bring food.
3) Wear a helmet.

Also, check out IMBA for their Rules of the Trail.
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Old 08-16-05, 04:18 PM   #12
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Watch out for pedestrians or cyclists making sudden you turns. And signal if you are going to make a turn across traffic. (
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