Ride safe: Biking trail etiquette tips from Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ride safe: Biking trail etiquette tips from Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association

Special to the Tribune
A mountain biker takes in the view along the Corral Trail in South Lake Tahoe.
Courtesy / Jeremy Fritts |

When riding Tahoe’s trails, the most important thing is to ride responsibly. If you do, we’ll all be happier and keep trails open to everyone. Below are six guidelines for proper Tahoe trail etiquette, provided by Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association:

Ride Open Trails

Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal wilderness.

Leave No Trace

Be sensitive to the dirt beneath the bike. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.

Control Your Bicycle

Inattention for even a moment could put a rider and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

Yield Appropriately

Do the utmost to let fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users while riding around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.

Never Scare Animals

Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, sudden movement or loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to your presence. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

Plan Ahead

Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding — and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

TAMBA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the stewardship of sustainable, multiple-use trails and preserving access for mountain bikers through advocacy, education and promotion of responsible trail use. Visit http://www.tamba.org to learn more about the group.