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The rules of the trail make for better rides

Trail riding is fun, but there are some rules every biker should follow.

For most people they understand the rules of the road with automobiles. But many of those same people don't realize that there are rules of the trail when mountain biking as well.

The following is the official list of mountain biking rules of the trail from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). These mountain bike rules are designed to minimize riders impact on the environment as well as to promote friendly relationships between all trail users by creating a safe environment for everyone. By following these rules mountain bikers can help ensure access to trails in local communities will continue and grow.

Rules of the Trail

•Ride on open trails only.

Respect trail and road closures and ask if uncertain. Avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way people ride today will influence trail management decisions and policies.

• Leave no trace. Be sensitive to the dirt beneath the bike. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed 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 is packed in.

•Control the bicycle. Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

•Always yield trail. Let fellow trail users know that a bike is coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slowing down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.

•Never scare animals. All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for the rider, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders - ask if uncertain. Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as found or as marked.

•Plan ahead. Know the equipment and the area which is being ridden. Prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep all equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to the rider and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

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