Tip #5

Be Alert.

Stay in tune to your surroundings out on the trail.

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Gold Standard: Why Is It Important?

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. It’s all about safe, healthy interaction between you and others. Being alert and predictable allows other trail users to calculate what you’re going to do and act accordingly—and allows you to make good decisions too. This includes knowing who has the right of way, and when to yield. And, by staying alert, you’re showing others that you respect their trail journey!

Gold Challenge: What Can You Do?

Being alert means managing your own actions. Always look behind you before changing direction or passing another trail user. If you use headphones, keep the volume low, or leave one ear bud out. Keep your senses in check, and you’ll keep communication with those around you free flowing.

If you see someone that is acting in an oblivious or unpredictable manner (a swerving runner or wobbly rider, for instance), give them a little more space, and vocalize your presence gently. Let them know that you’re coming up behind them and will be passing on their left. By being alert, you’re being a good role model for them too!

Tips for Yielding

  • As a general rule of thumb, “Wheels yield to heels.” This means that bikers and inline skaters should yield to walkers, runners and horseback riders. Slower or more vulnerable trail users should get the right of way.
  • Downhill traffic should yield to uphill traffic. And as always, use your best judgment in any and every situation. A little common sense and a helpful serving of courtesy get you a long way on the trail!
  • All trail users should give horses the right of way. If you come across a person on horseback, step to the downhill side of the trail, communicate with the rider, and allow the horse to pass (or walk past the horse if the rider instructs you to do so). 
  • If you’re passing a group of riders, take the same approach. Step to the downhill side of the trail, and keep talking to the riders. If you’re comfortable and the horse is expressing interest, present your hand and let the horse sniff you, and move on. (Of course, check with the rider first to make sure it’s okay.) 

Want more info? Read more about this tip in our TrailBlog: Be Alert! Five Tips for a Better Trail Mindset

Six Golden Rules for Trails


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