Trail Respect is Your Responsibility
Nearly all of the trails we ride in the North Phoenix Valley are multi-use trails. This means you should expect to encounter hikers and equestrians on the trail and you should understand how to yield to other users in a safe and courteous manner.
RESPECT: It’s a simple concept: if you offer respect, you are more likely to receive it. A courteous, common sense approach to other trail users will diminish negative encounters on the trail.
COMMUNICATION: Let folks know you’re there — before you’re there. Riding up on horses and stock can be dangerous even for the best-trained critters. For bikers and hikers; 1. Make yourself known to stock and rider. A simple “Howdy” works to get attention. 2. Step downhill and off trail.
HORSES UPHILL: Horses and mules are prey animals. That means they think everything wants to eat them; even the hiker with a large, scary backpack and especially the fast-moving biker “chasing” them. When startled, frightened critters go uphill. You should move downhill to avoid an encounter with a 1,000 pound panicked animal. Yikes!
YIELD APPROPRIATELY: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming – a friendly greeting is a good method. Anticipate other trail users as you ride 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.
PROTECT THE DESERT: The North Phoenix Valley has unsurpassed opportunities to enjoy the beautiful Sonoran desert. Help protect our accessibility by playing nicely with your neighbors and treating trails with reverence. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics and pitch in to give back – pick up trash, volunteer on a trail project or become a member of DFMBA. Take action and get involved today!
YIELDING TO EQUESTRIANS: In Arizona, a huge part of our heritage is tied up in riding horses. Bikers often scare horses. We are less familiar to them than hikers, so use caution. We recommend that as you approach an equestrian you call out a friendly greeting from far away. Slow the heck down, too. You want to start talking from about 50-75 ft away if you can. Like we said, horses spook easily, so try asking how the person on the horse would like you to get by. Would they like you to get off and walk (this is great for horses that are really skittish) or should you pass slowly at the next safe spot?
YIELDING TO HIKERS: This isn’t a race, so yelling “On your left!” probably isn’t the best thing. In years of practice, we’ve found that the best thing to do is to SLOW DOWN. We know, we know, it’s harshing your mellow, but good interactions mean more open trails. Then just say something like “Hi there! Great day.” People usually wake up to your presence without alarm. Think about adding a bell to your bike. If you have one, you might dingle it nicely as a way to get attention. No, it’s not your hall pass to rip past someone! It’s not a laser beam that shoots them off the trail. Hikers have the right of way, so if they don’t feel safe moving to the side of (or off) the trail for you, please wait it out. Ask if they mind finding a place for you to pass. Most of the time, people are cool. Yes, some people are jerks. Some hikers are jerks. Some bikers are jerks. Some chickens are jerked (but that’s another story). The thing is that two jerks don’t make for a nice person. Two jerks make for a fight. Go home feeling like Gandhi instead of like Tyson in those vile ear-biting days and we’ll all be the better for it.
YIELDING TO OTHER BIKES: Uphill traffic gets the right of way. If you’re bombing down a hill, stop and let them by. Yes, we all have had many a buzz killed having to stop for uphill traffic. It happens, but it’s much worse losing all momentum on a killer grind up the hill.