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A Short Guide to Trail Etiquette

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: September 23, 2015

Our East Bay trails are incredibly important resources. As we continue our work expanding the trail network and completing gaps, we also want to encourage more people to use them and to practice good trail use etiquette. 

We firmly believe that the more people use the trails, the better it is! But in order for everyone to enjoy the trails as much as possible, there are some basic rules to follow. Here are some suggestions: 

Use Safe Speeds

Even if there is a posted speed limit, not all bikes have spedometers – and not all bicyclists want to go fast! It is up to you to ride at a speed that makes those around you feel comfortable. Courtesy trumps speed on the trail. Whether you’re a bicyclist or fast runner, please be mindful of other trail users and slow it down around others. Pedestrians always have the right of way.

Keep Right, Pass Left

When you’re heading down the trail, stay as far right as possible—in a comfortable, safe position. Be sure to give a friendly and clear warning before you pass a fellow trail user, and always pass to the left.

Know and Follow the Rules.

Knowing the rules of your local trail will help you be a more informed trail user, and following those rules will make you a trail hero! While there are some universal best practices when it comes to trail etiquette, not every trail has the exact same rules. Did you know that bells are required on the Bay Trail? 

Standing Still? Stand Aside

When you’re out for a stroll and you run into your pals, take the conversation off the trail.

One of the greatest benefits of using trails is the time we get to share with friends and family. If you are taking a break or chatting, be sure to position yourself off the trail and out of the flow of traffic. Stepping aside will allow others to travel freely through the trail corridor—ensuring a safe experience for all.

If you have to stop, move off the trail or park single file on the edge of the trail if it’s wide enough

Be Alert

Staying alert to your surroundings will make sure you and others stay safe on the trail. 

Everyone’s trail experience is different. Some like to listen to music; others like to chat with friends; and some like to cruise solo, in silence. By staying alert, you can ensure healthy interaction between you and others. Being alert also means yielding properly to your fellow trail users. Know who has the right of way—and when it’s your turn.

Mind Your Pets.

Sharing the trail goes beyond sharing with just humans!

Pets love the trail just as much as their owners. But remember that not everyone may be as at ease around your four-legged friends as you are, and some pets get more excited than others around strangers. By keeping your dog on a leash—and close by—you can ensure all users are safer and more comfortable, and that wildlife is respected. Long leashes can also be dangerous when other trail users are trying to pass safely. 

Last but not least, Be nice. Trails are for everyone

We’re all on the trails for a good reason; for exercise, as a clean commute, for fun and recreation or sport. It doesn’t matter why, but it is important to remember to use common courtesy and common sense in order to make sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience on the trails. 

Be a Trail Ambassador with Bike East Bay

Want to help spread the goodwill? We’re organizing several trail outreach days in Richmond to meet trail users! Sign up today to volunteer and spread the bike love on the Bay Trail

Trails? What Trails? 

There are so many trails in the East Bay! If you need a map, become a member today at the $50 level and get a free map of all the trails in the East Bay. 

About The Bay Trail

When complete, the Bay Trail will be a continuous 500-mile recreational corridor that will encircle the entire Bay Area, connecting communities to each other and to the Bay. It will link the shorelines of all nine counties in the Bay Area and 47 of its cities. To date, approximately 338 miles of the alignment–over 67 percent of the Bay Trail’s ultimate length–have been completed.

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