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Old June 28th, 2011, 05:18 AM   #1
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Default Trail Etiquette ??

Has anyone got a good list of trail etiquette that I might post at our trailhead?

While I realize that our trail is for the enjoyment of all users... I feel some folks either don't understand the problems they cause or they just don't care that they are being pains in the kiester and sometimes downright dangerous.

Tonight I almost bashed into a foursome of runners who apparently didn't feel like allowing me to have 1/2 of the trail. They came at me 4 abreast across the whole trail, which is all the trail can accomodate. As I approached them at about 16 mph they kind of skootched over just a bit which would have given me about 1/3 of my half and would mean I would have to stop pushing completely and become as small as possible in order to stay on the paved trail surface. So I held to the center of my lane, reduced the size of my push and went right at the guy in front of me. He yelped a bit as he dodged out of my way, but that was all I heard from them.

I know that I was confrontational in what I did and that in general this isn't good public relations for our sport. However, I feel that there are times under certain conditions when folks DO need to be confronted.


SO... any good lists of Do's and Don'ts?
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Old July 7th, 2011, 05:09 AM   #2
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OOPS! I DID IT AGAIN!

Tonight I was out in a group of 5 skaters. We were in a pace line when a group of bikers called out 'passing on left'. There was a biker ahead of us dismounted with his bike parked in our lane and there was also some oncoming traffic. We let the overtaking riders know that passing right then wasn't a good idea... and they held off! Good cooperation.

HOWEVER, a second small group from their bunch passed a little later without any announcement or warning of any sort... and they stayed VERY close-up beside us. We almost stuck our wheels in their spokes as they came up on us! I told them that this wasn't very cool and one of them basically said 'kiss off'. Then as they cleared our front skater (I was one back from the leader) they cut back into the lane so sharply and close to our lead skater that she almost paniced and had to chop up her stride or put her skate into his back spokes. For a brief flash of a moment I was looking for a place to fall. This happened with two riders of the second group.

Anyway... at the next crossing they had stopped and we came up on them. I spotted the rider with the foul mouth, came up behind him and held his saddle as he tried to mount up. I let him know that his behavior was dangerous and not good sharing of the trail. He basically maintained that we skaters were in the wrong for being on the trail, skating the way we were.

At the next crossing he was waiting for me to arrive. His friends had continued on. As I approached I did some quick coaching to myself about keeping cool, staying positive, try to be a good ambasador for the sport despite my initital rough handling of the situation. We met, we talked, he said he was going to report me. I said 'GOOD, you do that. This will be a good discussion about trail rules.' I gave him my name and spelled it for him. I got his name too. He asked for me to apologise. I said that I admit to being brusk at the initial encounter but would not apologise for it. After trying to talk about our skating style (he's evidently only seen recreational skaters slowly crawling along) he said he wasn't interested in reporting me anymore. I told him to go ahead anyway! Do It! This kind of trail use issue needs to come to light.

Here is some background and insight into the situation. RAGBRAI is close. Every year RAGBRAI happens, a big bicycle ride across Iowa drawing thousands and thousands of peddlers from all over the country. As the time of the ride draws near local riders flood the trail to shape up. For a lot of riders RAGBRAI is an Iowa wide beer run. Serious riders on our trail are usually courtious. We know them, they know us, we get along. The folks we usually have issues with seem to be the young gun 'party rider packs' looking for something to prove. The group we encountered today seem to be the latter. When RAGBRAI is over our trail gets back to normal.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #3
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I yell early and often "PASSING". Many people don't understand "on your left". Just yell passing.

I apologize to people for yelling at them, but explain I rather yell than crash.

I yell "passing" at every blind curve.

Parents should be aware that little ones are in harms way if a bike or skater collides. They are worst predictable than dogs.

The dogs and kids should be on the outside of the parent when on the trail. The parent will move themselves and the kid off to the right. Otherwise the kid may bolt into traffic.

Dogs should not be on a very long leash. It takes to long to real in.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 06:13 AM   #4
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we seem to have good results calling out "coming up on your left" when we overtake anyone/anything. The exception to this is some people who seem to have a need to turn around and look for us. They turn their head, then their shoulders, then their body TO THE LEFT and then they WALK TO THE LEFT into our path! Anyway... few and far between and usually easy to get by. But just interesting. Have the exact same problem, but more often, when skiing and snowboarding.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #5
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besides all the normal stuff about warning early, etc., i only want to add that you might as well adapt to what fate will throw you. You know that the trails are unusually crowded now for the upcoming event, and it will soon be over.
So do this: Schedule your trail visits so as to maximize your chances of getting the best skate experience in that you can. If you want to do unbridled speed, go at a time of the day when it's least crowded, and in addition, when you find that it is not, just schedule in a workout that emphasizes something that is do-able under the conditions, like long-steady-distance, or drills, or confine your workout to sprints on some isolated section of the trail with good visibility. Also, maybe now would be a good time to get some other training under your belt, and hit the trails hard once the trail-hogs are gone.
Maybe you need to build some diversity into your training anyways, and this temporary trail congestion is just the catalyst you need.
Another little trick is to find a cyclist that is going at a pace you feel comfortable at, and tag along behind him about 10 feet back, just far enough back that you are almost in his draft, but won't make him uncomfortable. Let him do the trail clearing for you, and you will soon discover that people get out of the way for an oncoming bike in a way they won't for a skater. But you need to be careful when and if the cyclist goes around someone at the same time their is an approaching group, or if the cyclist needs to stop, you have to be able to stop without colliding....
I need to schedule my workouts along these kind of considerations almost all the time. So go with the flow, my friend. After doing this for many years, i can tell you that fighting it takes just too much emotional energy, and it's a tough road to go down time after time.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 01:37 PM   #6
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If you want to hammer on a bike trail, a cooperative cyclist is the best. I'm talking a trusted friend that is qualified to brake for you. I've got a few that I skate with and in a jam, I know I can say, "brake me" and they'll know that I'm going to put my hand on their butt for them to slow both of us. It's not a bad idea to practice it if you're going to rely on it. With any exchange of energy, it's a good idea to use your arm as a shock absorber, rather than just slamming into the person ahead of you. Remember: you knock them down, you're going down.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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My local trail rules




Stay to the right except to pass
Stay on the trail; do not tresspass on adjacent private property
Keep your pets on a 6' leash and clean up after them
Stop at all road crossings
Avoid disturbing the wildlife and plant life along the trail
Keep the trail clean of debris--use the trash receptacles
Keep your speed appropriate for trail conditions and traffic density
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Old July 8th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #8
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They closed our trail due to extreme fire danger about two weeks ago. We are due rain at the end of the week at which time I can be irritated with cyclists again, hopefully!
New Mexico cyclists use ESP so when they pass you just know it. I had a close call. Approaching some walkers there was an oncoming cyclist in the other lane. I slowed and the cyclist passed. I announced, "On Your Left", pulled out and a guy on a bicycle, at high speed, goes careening off the trail to avoid me. He had failed to announce or slow for the gaggle ahead of him. Had he said, "On Your Left", I would have stayed right and perhaps if I had looked back it all would never have happened. Right or wrong injury is injury. Since then I have taken to announcing and sticking my left arm out signaling left. One definite save from that.
The usual suspects are out there, families, groups, newbies, animals, kids and idiots. When I approach them I adjust my skate appropriately when I can. We have homeless cyclists at one end of the trail that are almost always on drugs or drunk. Some have even brought some stinky, loud, two stroke and illegal mopeds on the trail.
Its never boring, gotta love it.
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Old July 8th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motosk8ter View Post
....Right or wrong injury is injury.....
Absolutely true. We've learned to do a quick look back to see if anyone is coming up on us from behind before we switch pulls. Bikers cannot read our minds and are not yet familiar with how speedskaters behave/stroke/position.

What really scares us is when a bike pulls up beside too close without us knowing and we almost push a left skate into their front spokes. When I tried to explain that to the biker I confronted on the trail but he thought I was maliciously threatening to take him down.

Quote:
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....Some have even brought some stinky, loud, two stroke and illegal mopeds on the trail....
yeahhhh, what's up with that?

While our trails are for everyone's use and enjoyment... sometimes things get a little out of wack. We have a couple of older ladies who show up on their electric 'hoveround's. Good for them- getting out and enjoying beautiful days on a great trail among fun people. It's kind of amusing to see one of the ladies smoking up a storm as she hauls her oxygen tank along behind.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #10
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This all kinda makes ya ponder how people navigate in cars or thru life for that matter.

Calling "Passing left" usually 50% of the time results in the exact reaction described above, looking and moving left of the persons you are overtaking. Heaven forbid those runners (with ipods) actually run on one side of the trail or the other...but nooooo they take their half right outta the middle.

Oh, oh. It's rant time: Who are these rude oblivious people? Mostly, self-absorbed in their own little bubbles, unaware of trail rules, and even more so to the fact that there are other trail users, these folks you cannot buy 'em a clue. Most could not navigate out of a paper bag if both ends were open. How do we educate them? More posting of trail rules, stenciling cute little graphic figures depicting trail rules on the pathway every 100 feet?

There will always be trail encounters, just come out alive and well, that's my modo.

I confronted a group of scouts on bikes (15 + kids and 3 scout masters) - one kid deliberately played a game of riding straight at me in my lane (our trail has a yellow diversionary line) as I skated towards them. As I had approached the group pointing them off to their lane with left hand out yelling repeatedly "Heads up" while lowering my speed. Most kids and scout masters moved back to their lane (where they should have been riding in the first place, but they were taking up the entire trail). I slowed to stop and stood in front of Deathwish Dilbert (not knowing his real name) whose face carried a wide smirk, then yelled to one of the scout masters - "Get these kids under control or they will injure someone". His reply was they were trying.... to which I grumbled "yeah, right". This kid created a very unsafe situation, and, these little punks get rewarded with merit badges? Had I been the scout master, I would have instantly terminated the group bike ride and blamed it on little Schmittem Stevie over there who felt compelled to be a jerk at the expense of the group, let him receive the village idiot merit badge for his behavior.

Reality is that it's increasingly unsafe on trails as we have more and more varied users, with many not understanding or aware of trail rules. I think skaters more so than other trail users are exceptionally aware, as we're constantly in the know that biffing it at any instant is a reality, so always viewing ahead, scanning the trail, assessing our moves, etc,. works to help us prevent or avoid situations. I also use a helmet bike mirror to see whats' coming up behind me. Yet, other trail users just seem to be drones biking by or jogging along in self-induced brain fogs. I'll give credit to most cyclists because the many that road ride understand passing and overtaking, and are courteous when overtaking or passing head-on. But, that next tier of lower-life-form-spandex-laden-Lance-wannabe's on $5k bikes are unguided missiles to you & I. It is one thing to be unaware and another to be flat out rude to other users. When my work out is disrupted by unaware users to the point that I find myself stopping to avoid a risk situation, then yes, I take aim and try to instill some trail use education in those short moments. But, to the rude people out there possessing attitudes of entitlement to own the trail I stand my ground skate right at them, remaining my lane. If they feel they can make a safe pass at our respective closing speeds around someone then push into my lane because they miss-calculated, I'm not moving or disrupting my work out for their stupidity in judgement. They are gonna have to figure it out on their own, without taking me out. I've seen those interesting little levers clipped on their handle bars... I think they're called brakes.

Bottom line... be aware, know the rules of the trails and roads your skating, avoid risks of injury to self, use opportunities to educate where you can (without earning the reputation of becoming "that skater"), and of course, voice your concerns and complain to parks & rec trail department heads, demand trail use rules & clear signage be posted for the benefit of all users. Action rather than reaction.

end rant.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 11:07 PM   #11
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shortly after I posted the opening here I did a websearch on trail rules and such and found quite a number of formal lists, all having a high degree of commonality. One item that catches my eye which is not frequently mentioned is the requirement that the passer must assure that they are passing safely for everyone concerned.

Lately I've been in slight violation of this once or twice. Recently I was leading 2 other skaters and we were coming up on a fast runner. Approaching from the other way was a couple of bikers (on Harleys) I called out our appproach and intent to pass on the left. Everything was cool... then the bikers slowed, and we slowed, and bikers slowed more, we slowed more, etc. until we all ended up meeting at the same spot on the trail. The bikes went single file and held tight to their right edge, runner skootched right a bit, we skaters stood straight and coasted thru the middle. The take-away on this for me is that 1) everyone was trying to safe and courtious and 2) I should have dramatically slowed to avoid having this happen.


How do some people navigate life??? The nanny-state keeps them from Darwinism and aware people do not smash into them out of the need to protect themselves.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 06:33 PM   #12
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We get lots of high speed cyclists on our trails on the weekends, along with the usual fanfare of runners, joggers, strollers, and slower skaters. It's just great to see people out and moving to stay fit at any level. But as pointed out above it can get busy and dangerous so all the more reason to skate alert and aware.

A bit on Drafting bikes: while they make a awesome draft for skaters, you find out quickly a lot of cyclists do not like skaters drafting. You hear the "clickity, click, click" as they drop the gears to shake you off. So, how do you benefit from the bike draft without pissing them off? Start by being a good ambassador. If they really do not want you there, back away and don't push it, wait for another opportunity. We always start by engaging light chat as you come up from behind, saying something as simple as "How's it going?" or "Are you cool with me taking a rest in the draft?" or "That's a nice ride".... While many good cyclists understand drafting and are comfortable with skaters tagging on them, there are those unpredictable spandex clad newbies [they look the part but have no clue what they are doing on a bike] who get freaked out by skaters coming up to close and they tend to peddle erratically, swerve, or hit the brakes often. These guys are not a good draft pick. You're best off to avoid them.

Be courteous and check upfront with the rider to be sure they are okay with you there, and enjoy the draft!
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Old March 12th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #13
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Just came across this post during a search and wondered if you came across the 'best list' online? I have one posted, but I'm sure there is a lot that could be added!!! Let me know what I'm missing, if you please.

http://www.portageskates.info/home/etiquette

Btw I LOVE the comment right above about engaging in conversation or complimenting bikers to get them in a 'good mood' before asking to draft. Personally, I never get a chance to draft since I'm not really that fast. LOL! But I do skate a lot of corners and there have been times when I've been at a corner while with my son in his stroller and I see some bikers flying towards me down a hill behind me, and see others coming from the oncoming corner, and me in the middle and NO TIME to yank my son's stroller off the path. So what did I do? I screamed "BIKERS!!! BIKERS!!!" and pointed both ways and looked at them both. One set slowed down cause they 'got it', the others didn't and got quite a surprise when they almost went head first into oncoming traffic. Pisses me off when someone doesn't use 'logic' on a trail. My 3 year old could have been in the middle of a serious accident if neither of them had listened. I think a lot of it has to do with always always always trying to consider the safety of everyone involved BEFORE worrying about losing your 'pace'. Ya know? It's just gonna happen.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 09:45 PM   #14
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I call early and loud, the extra time calling early gives the wrong reflex walkers that extra second to get it right. And always call "thank you' as I pass. This offsets the early/loud yell that can sound sort of rude. And always look for ear buds. I wear them and it is a lot harder to hear a "passing" call.
On weekends the unleashed dogs are the bigger problem. Wrist guards greatly improve a snout smack when you get a dog chasing your ankles. Very effective & satisfying, would even be better to do it to the dog's owner.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 10:47 PM   #15
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Wrist guards greatly improve a snout smack when you get a dog chasing your ankles. Very effective & satisfying, would even be better to do it to the dog's owner.
Now that's a use of wrist guards that I hadn't thought of. I'd say oblivious dog owners are the trail users that worry me the most. It seems that in the spring a lot of dog walkers take to the trail and they are surprised to find that they must share the trail with other folks. Many will unleash their dogs and then scurry around and try to leash them when someone else is coming their way.

This usually settles down as they become regular trail users. I'll give a lot of leeway to folks I've never seen on the trail. Most of the regulars know each other at least by sight....so if someone doesn't get it after a while..an intervention is called for.
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Old March 15th, 2012, 06:14 AM   #16
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On a trail rule list, the most important safety rule (and probably the most forgotten) that should come right after "Stay to the right except for passing" is "DO NOT PASS ON BLIND CURVES".

My local trail is the most fun trail I've ever been on, and one of the most fun things about it are the steep curvy downhills. They really eliminate the monotony that I get when skating on roads.

I agree with everybody who said that we must be courteous to other trail users. Hikers are the worst but I try to understand them. They don't use the trail nearly as much as the fitness users do, so they're not as aware of the dangers as we are. They come to the trail to get away from their everyday lives. As they experience the beautiful pristine settings of the park, their troubles, worries, fears, and anxieties recede into the background, and their minds become absorbed by the sights, sounds, and smells of nature.

And then suddenly out of nowhere, I appear.....A skater coming around a high speed downhill turn at 30-40 MPH.....and they turn into mortified scream queens. Even some of the guys turn into scream queens. I have seen eyeballs get so big I thought they were going to explode. I have seen leashed dogs nearly get beheaded as their panicky owners frantically jerk the poor critters out of my path.

I have seen all that and more, and that's why I wear a helmet and pads on most trails. Yes, it would be a good rule to post, but don't count on a whole lot of these people to bother reading signs.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 01:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
And then suddenly out of nowhere, I appear.....A skater coming around a high speed downhill turn at 30-40 MPH.....and they turn into mortified scream queens. Even some of the guys turn into scream queens. I have seen eyeballs get so big I thought they were going to explode. I have seen leashed dogs nearly get beheaded as their panicky owners frantically jerk the poor critters out of my path
A helmet cam view would be great.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 03:23 AM   #18
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A helmet cam view would be great.
+1
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Old March 16th, 2012, 04:18 AM   #19
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DING!

<light bulb over head>

We should use a "Wire Strike Protection System". I remember this from my flying days. Dog on leash problem - GONE!

Next is how to deal with kids....

... and maybe larger people.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 08:38 PM   #20
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I agree about it being the responsibility of the person passing to make sure that they do so safely. We have, at every passing, to gauge the situation and decide the right way to move. We can't always predict when someone else is going to do something erratic, but much of the time, we can we can slow down a little, let them know we're coming, and make sure no-one gets hurt.

I (cycling) was engaging in some friendly competition with another cyclist a while back on the local trail. After a couple miles of pumping hard, he split off down a side trail and blew full-speed through a group of people standing in the trail, hollering profanity as they almost collided w/ him. They were clearly visible from down the trail, and the situation would have been a lot less dangerous if he'd slowed down and given them a shout before riding through the middle of the group.

That said, there are a lot of cases where people behave much less erratically if they don't know that you're coming. It's the same on motorcycles in traffic. If there's room and they don't have squirrely dogs on leashes w/ them, I'll just cruse by...
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