Posts Tagged ‘trail etiquette’

CORBA’s Trail Safety and Etiquette Education Campaign

Monday, December 15th, 2014

During the past year, CORBA met with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council and State Parks representatives with the goal of improving safety on the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains. CORBA and the Trails Council both recognize the need for better education and outreach to the trail community. There has been a large increase in the numbers of visitors to the Santa Monica Mountains over the past decade. This increase in use has led to an increase in the potential for conflict and incidents on the trails.

Trail Etiquette Tri-fold Brochure_01One of the biggest factors in safety on trails is the speed differential between mountain bikes–especially going downhill–and other trail users. It’s the reason there’s a 15mph speed limit on all trails and fire roads in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. There has been a commitment to increase enforcement of these rules by State Parks and the NPS, but we believe that education is vital to reducing incidents or accidents on trails.

The outcome of those meetings was the development of a new Trail Etiquette brochure (pictured to the right). The brochure is being widely distributed in the area. We hope to educate all trail users on trail etiquette best practices. As a CORBA supporter you already know to slow down, yield to other trail users and be courteous. But many hikers don’t know that bikes are supposed to yield, many cyclists don’t know what to do when they come across equestrian trail users. The brochure attempts to explain what it means, in the most practical sense, to yield the trail. It also explains the responsibilities of all trail users in clear and simple terms.

As we developed the brochure it became clear that this information needs to be more widely distributed. It’s applicable to all non-motorized trails and trail users anywhere. CORBA applied for a grant from the California Trails and Greenways Foundation to put trail etiquette information on the web. We’re excited to announce that the grant was approved earlier in December, and we’ve begun working on a new web site entirely devoted to trail etiquette. Look for an announcement in the coming months when we launch the new web site.



Solving the Speed Dilemma

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

By Mark Langton

Opponents to bicycles on singletrack trails give plenty of reasons why they feel bikes shouldn’t be there. And there is one that is actually legitimate; bicyclists sometimes go too fast, and some trail users feel their safety is threatened. It’s a simple fix; slow down when you see other trail users, or if you suspect there may be trail users in close proximity. Ideally, slow to their speed and make the encounter a pleasant one–like you’re passing a friend. If you do this, opponents will have nothing to complain about and might even enjoy the encounter!

Consider that in recent weeks several comments have been made on blogs and in local news papers, particularly in reference to the Yearling and Lookout Trails in Malibu Creek State Park, and State Park’s considering opening them to bicycle use. From this recent Malibu Times article comes this quote from Agoura Hills resident and equestrian Ruth Gerson:

“The problem with multiuse trails [is others have to] default to mountain bikers because the bikes are so fast–the pedestrians and equestrians have been hit,” she said.

While safety should obviously be of the utmost concern, there is little evidence that supports allegations that pedestrians and equestrians are being hit by bicyclists frequently or consistently. In fact, in the more than 24 years of CORBA’s existence, there are few documented accounts of bicyclists colliding with other trail users.

As riders, we understand that there are some bicyclists who have the skills to ride at a higher rate of speed while under complete control. However, if the speed creates a hazardous situation for other trail users, then that speed is not justified. If the simple act of slowing down for blind corners and in the presence of other trail users could eliminate the argument for not allowing bicycles on trails, wouldn’t you do it?

I look at it as belonging to a community, enjoying the outdoors together, albeit via different modes of travel. We should extend the kind of courtesy to each other on the trail as we would to our family members.

Danusa Bennett-Taber, Jim Hasenaur, and Steve Messer contributed to this article.