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Passing Rules on Trail

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Passing Rules on Trail

Old 05-15-15, 08:44 AM
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Sol588
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Passing Rules on Trail

I am fairly new to road biking but do know the basic rules of the road. One of those rules are NEVER pass on the right.

Last night while riding on the trail, I was getting ready to exit the trail at a crossing (stop sign). I was exiting to my right and low and behold, there is a cyclist passing me on my right! I was one tire length off the trail in the right lane and no other cyclist in front of me, or coming at me on the left. There was plenty of room in the right lane and the whole other left lane to make a pass.

Why in the world would someone risk that move? To say the least, my internal temperature went 0-60 in a second.

Was I wrong? I don't think I was but, again, I am fairly new to this and based on what I've read and observed, you pass on the left and you let those in front know what you are doing..."passing on your left"...

The other piece of this is that I am recovering from a ruptured quad tendon and making my way back to do Century in October (Seagull Century), and I am on a mission. Something so simple as this could screw that up.

Any confirmation that I got it down correctly as to what to expect when passing is greatly appreciated.

Happy Riding (It's Friday!!)
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Old 05-15-15, 09:02 AM
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Guy behind you was wrong. You are correct that you shouldn't pass on the right. However, even on a trail it is a good practice to look back and signal.
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Old 05-15-15, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Guy behind you was wrong. You are correct that you shouldn't pass on the right. However, even on a trail it is a good practice to look back and signal.
+1

I hate people that pass on the right. Hand signals will help you. But my guess, right-hand passing dude would have pulled the same dumb maneuver. We have a busy trail system in Minneapolis, I ALWAYS check over my shoulder for these morons.

With that said, the wife and I are going to hit the Midtown Greenway to find our daughter for lunch and shop for her birthday gift (bike).
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Old 05-15-15, 09:22 AM
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Guy coming from the back was definitely in the wrong and should have called out that he was passing. However, with that said, if you were far enough off of the right hand side that it made it look more attractive to him than going to your left, that might be slightly on you. If he was exiting also, and saw you riding well off of the right side, he may have though that you were continuing straight and passed on the right thinking it was a better choice than passing left and then immediately cutting across your path to exit. His best choice would have been to slow down until after the exit when it would have been clear what your plans were. Either way, a call-out that he was passing would have been nice.

Even when I am out completely by myself, I try to ride as far to the right as is safe, which generally prevents anybody from being able to pass on the right, much less wanting to. About the only time that I will pass on the right on the road is when there is somebody riding very slow and squirrely hugging the left side of the trail or road shoulder. Even then, I would call it out to make sure they knew exactly where I was going to be.
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Old 05-15-15, 09:36 AM
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You should always be courteous and thing of both your and the other person's safety.

On a MUP to the beach, you cross 3 bridges with narrow paths with a chainlink fence on both sides. When having a ride come from the other direction there's enough room for both to pass. But when coming from behind I just slow down until we're off the bridge. No sense getting someone nervous passing in a narrow space. Also i trend to stay back, tailgating also makes the person nervous.

If we all understand we have to share the road, there should be no problems.
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Old 05-15-15, 09:46 AM
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The problem with MUPs is that most people do what they want. They either don't know there are any rules (Probably most people) or just don't care. Many are too young or just don't have a drivers license. This will not change much.
All you can do is follow the rules yourself, and always expect people to do the wrong thing. Plenty of people will do the wrong thing.
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Old 05-15-15, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Sol588 View Post
I am fairly new to road biking but do know the basic rules of the road. One of those rules are NEVER pass on the right.
Never say never. We can't tell you why the cyclist might have passed you on the right when there was no need to, but paved bike trails tend to be a free for all, so you should expect people will do dumb and erratic things on them.
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Old 05-15-15, 09:57 AM
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An inexpensive mirror will give you peace of mind and more information about your surroundings.

Bike Mirrors | Bike Mirror | Bike Helmet Mirror - Niagara Cycle
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Old 05-15-15, 09:59 AM
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it's the strava nuts that are the worst.
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Old 05-15-15, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
An inexpensive mirror will give you peace of mind and more information about your surroundings.

Bike Mirrors | Bike Mirror | Bike Helmet Mirror - Niagara Cycle
Yes, a mirror will now be on my shopping list. And, I'll have to consider that people will do what they want and make sure I am paying attention to both my left and right and communicating even more clearly of my intentions for those in front and back of me.
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Old 05-15-15, 12:15 PM
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What is a trail and what the rules are likely vary by municipality. You might want to check yours. Pass left ****** is probably a good reminder when people do that.

Where I live pedestrians have the right of way on paved trails and they're really not meant for the jack*** with a $10k triathlon bike with 5% bodyfat doing 40MPH. That said, it's not like most cities are going to police those things very much.
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Old 05-15-15, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by eyewannabike View Post
the jack*** with a $10k triathlon bike with 5% bodyfat doing 40MPH.
or the one with a $10K tri-bike and 20% body fat wobbling all over the place while moving at 15 mph in his/her highest gear. It's getting near tri time here in the big city. They are out in force on the major trail in the area.

Interestingly, some J.A. passed my on the right in a bike lane today and then cut left across my bow, forcing me out of the lane and into traffic--on Bike to Work Day no less. He looked like Shaggy from the Scooby Doo show. As he went buy I yelled "I'm on a mother f*&@in' bike!" I hope he crashes and knocks his teeth out.
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Old 05-15-15, 12:48 PM
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I had something similar happen last month on a MUP. A cyclist decided to reenter the path verrrry slooooowly from the opposite direction I was heading and crossed the width of the path equally slow. Meanwhile super speedy tri guy was coming up behind me. I brought my speed down and was preparing to go around the cyclist by staying on the right. Super speedy tri guy blasted right past me on my right side with barely any room to spare. If I didn't have a mirror I probably wouldn't have expected anyone to be there and a spectacular collision would have been the result.
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Old 05-15-15, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bt View Post
it's the strava nuts that are the worst.
Can you use Strava and not be a nut?

GH
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Old 05-15-15, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Guy behind you was wrong. You are correct that you shouldn't pass on the right. However, even on a trail it is a good practice to look back and signal.
ESPECIALLY on a trail, IME. Trails are typically full of newbies, people lost in earbud land, and others who ride/walk/jog as if they had the whole place to themselves.
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Old 05-15-15, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bt View Post
it's the strava nuts that are the worst.
I had a case of that last summer, but regular use of chamois cream and washing my bibs more often cleared it up in a week or so.
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Old 05-15-15, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
ESPECIALLY on a trail, IME. Trails are typically full of newbies, people lost in earbud land, and others who ride/walk/jog as if they had the whole place to themselves.
Good point.
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Old 05-15-15, 04:56 PM
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The most important thing to remember... no matter what the rules are, people will ignore them or just don't know them. The most you can do is always be aware, signal as best you can, and warn people when you're passing them, especially if they have kids or dogs with them or generally spaced out. I take a few different bike/MUP paths in my area and try to always let people know when I'm about to pass. This is for their safety and mine so they know I'm coming by and not to wander over to the other side. I give earlier warning if they seem to be wondering around, dogs or kids are involved, another cyclist, or if a group of people is making it difficult or impossible to pass safely otherwise.
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Old 05-15-15, 05:19 PM
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Just remember they YOU are not the most important person on the trail also. The MUP near me has a 15mph speed limit and many times doing that can be dangerous. I regularly avoid the MUP and rather deal with the cars.... it's safer.
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Old 05-16-15, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Sol588 View Post
I am fairly new to road biking but do know the basic rules of the road. One of those rules are NEVER pass on the right.
Here's an informal summary of the laws of the road:
[h=2]Passing on the Right[/h] The laws in most states prohibit passing on the right, except under the following circumstances:
  • The passed vehicle is about to turn left. (You still can't drive onto the unpaved shoulder of the road.)
  • The street or road is wide enough to accommodate two lanes of traffic.
Even if passing on the right is allowed under one of the above exceptions, you must do so "under conditions permitting such movement in safety."
Slower traffic should keep to the right when it's safe and practical. That goes for cyclists on paths as well. A slower cyclist who rides left of center on a path is directing overtaking cyclists to pass on the right.

The overtaking cyclist always has a duty for safety.

In your scenario, it sounds like the overtaking cyclist was not riding safely. I'm also not quite picturing how it is that you were stopped at a stop sign, preparing to turn right, but you've left plenty of room for another rider ignoring the stop sign to cut you off to your right. It seems like perhaps you could be more assertive in taking the right "lane" when you're stopped for a right turn.

Likely the overtaking cyclist bore all the responsibility in this situation, but I've certainly seen situations on MUPs where cyclists chit-chatting, etc., at a stop were blocking the center/left leaving the right line as the safest line for other cyclists to proceed on.
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Old 05-16-15, 04:56 PM
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Glad I found this thread. I am a total newbie and just started trail riding.

What is the etiquette for up hill down hill right of way?

On fire roads and dual track I would imagine you would follow normal driving procedures. Stay to the right when necessary/applicable, pass on the left if at all possible. Give a little warning you are coming around. But what about a single track trail?
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Old 05-16-15, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TrekIrvine View Post
Glad I found this thread. I am a total newbie and just started trail riding.

What is the etiquette for up hill down hill right of way?

On fire roads and dual track I would imagine you would follow normal driving procedures. Stay to the right when necessary/applicable, pass on the left if at all possible. Give a little warning you are coming around. But what about a single track trail?
It would be best to ask in the mountain bike forum.
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