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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I feel terrible.

As much as I ride, I can count the number of close calls on one hand. In fact, this is only the second time in 30+ years of riding that I would call it a close call. I pride myself in being courteous to other trail users and maintaining safety to all around me.

Tonight there was an oversight on my part. Traction was great. It was a trail I've ridden hundreds of times. Most of the sections of the downhill portion have great visibility. I waited until almost 8:30pm to descend, and didn't hear anyone in the area.

Unfortunately I was going very fast and just didn't see a lady and her son until there was a pretty narrow margin. That section of trail had an uncharacteristic loose tread. Normally I can slow down very fast without skidding, but today I had to apply more braking power to avoid her, and I skidded.

I came to a stop about 5 feet away from her, and apologized profusely, several times. Again, I feel terrible about this, both to her and my fellow mountain bikers. She was fine, but didn't give much of a response. I moved on.

I don't know why I'm posting this; I guess it's because I can't get it out of my mind.

Just realize that no matter how careful you normally are, incidents can still happen. I/she got lucky today. I wish I'd hung around longer to talk to her. #ashamed.
 

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Co Springs
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Sounds like a section of trail where that can happen more easily and this never really impacted you/others til now.
As a pedestrian even in store parking lots and store entrance areas, I'm always thinking about what hides me from someone seeing me as cars drive by the crosswalk areas and giant pillars or store front décor cause walkers to step out right in front of someone. All trail traffic should be thinking this way or 'we' just hang it out there and hope for the best I suppose.

No doubt, onus is with our piloting and line of vison to be able to safely stop but in no small portion, hikers and other sharing the trail no matter who has the ROW should be cognizant of the dangers and opportunity for error.


No idea if it could help but I have a Timber bell that can be left open (on) so the trail jitters make the bell ring constantly. Although not loud it might have offered warning just early enough to have not surprised them or time to move off center. Using in blind areas like that might be a worthwhile tactic.

After the fact, the best thing you can do is express your thoughts just as you did so at least we can keep a caring reputation going for sharing trails.
 

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I feel terrible.

As much as I ride, I can count the number of close calls on one hand. In fact, this is only the second time in 30+ years of riding that I would call it a close call. I pride myself in being courteous to other trail users and maintaining safety to all around me.

Tonight there was an oversight on my part. Traction was great. It was a trail I've ridden hundreds of times. Most of the sections of the downhill portion have great visibility. I waited until almost 8:30pm to descend, and didn't hear anyone in the area.

Unfortunately I was going very fast and just didn't see a lady and her son until there was a pretty narrow margin. That section of trail had an uncharacteristic loose tread. Normally I can slow down very fast without skidding, but today I had to apply more braking power to avoid her, and I skidded.

I came to a stop about 5 feet away from her, and apologized profusely, several times. Again, I feel terrible about this, both to her and my fellow mountain bikers. She was fine, but didn't give much of a response. I moved on.

I don't know why I'm posting this; I guess it's because I can't get it out of my mind.

Just realize that no matter how careful you normally are, incidents can still happen. I/she got lucky today. I wish I'd hung around longer to talk to her. #ashamed.
Yeah, it can happen to anyone. It has happened to me as a rider when I came around a corner and was daydreaming and as a hiker with my kids walking up a trail. Your feelings are the right ones and good to see you could stop without any contact.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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At least you stopped and apologized. I was riding some XC trails one day in a city park and came up behind a guy in a full face helmet who clearly thought he was quite fast on his full suspension something or other. So, as I politely checked up a little so as not to push him too hard on the downhill (this is a bit cheeky, I was on my rigid single speed) he alternately pedaled and braked for all he was worth, completely out of control going slower than I would have been had he not been in the way. I looked sideways and spotted a couple hiking up the trail just around a switchback, and checked up, but he never saw them, never said anything, and never stopped, even as the guy stepped sideways and pulled his SO out of harms way as she screamed in fear. I did stop and talk to them. Told them I'd never seen the other guy before, but I'd catch him and talk to him. When I did, he grunted, made a face at me and rode off. So...yeah. If I was a hiker, I'd much rather almost get hit by you than that other guy.
 

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Sounds like a section of trail where that can happen more easily and this never really impacted you/others til now.
As a pedestrian even in store parking lots and store entrance areas, I'm always thinking about what hides me from someone seeing me as cars drive by the crosswalk areas and giant pillars or store front décor cause walkers to step out right in front of someone. All trail traffic should be thinking this way or 'we' just hang it out there and hope for the best I suppose.
I look for that all the time. It is part of my job, I do landscaping at local malls and shopping centers and drive around looking for plants, trees, and signs that block the sight line of traffic or pedestrians.

The trails in the desert can be very open allowing you to see quite far, but there are always washes and tight corners. I try to look as far ahead as I can but I have had a few close calls. I went OTB once going through a wash when I didn't see a hiker and locked it up. they were very apologetic and wanted to make sure I was ok. well the wash was full of sand so it wasn't bad.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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No idea if it could help but I have a Timber bell that can be left open (on) so the trail jitters make the bell ring constantly. Although not loud it might have offered warning just early enough to have not surprised them or time to move off center. Using in blind areas like that might be a worthwhile tactic.
Loud hubs are also good for this. Most of us use bells here in Alaska though for the bears and the hikers really appreciate it too.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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Watched a video presentation from a bear researcher about how bear bells don't really do anything for bears. They more or less just ignore them. One nice thing about the Timber bell is that it'll jingle when you're climbing or otherwise pedaling, whereas loud hubs will only make noise when you coast.

Still, since I started using hubs that make a respectable amount of noise, the hikers I pass on the trail are largely pretty prepared to encounter a bike. I'm not a particular fan of how many hikers will specifically hide behind a tree when they know a bike is coming. It makes them harder to see. Sometimes I never see them, so I don't even know to slow down or adjust my line for them.
 

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I feel terrible.

As much as I ride, I can count the number of close calls on one hand. In fact, this is only the second time in 30+ years of riding that I would call it a close call. I pride myself in being courteous to other trail users and maintaining safety to all around me.

Tonight there was an oversight on my part. Traction was great. It was a trail I've ridden hundreds of times. Most of the sections of the downhill portion have great visibility. I waited until almost 8:30pm to descend, and didn't hear anyone in the area.

Unfortunately I was going very fast and just didn't see a lady and her son until there was a pretty narrow margin. That section of trail had an uncharacteristic loose tread. Normally I can slow down very fast without skidding, but today I had to apply more braking power to avoid her, and I skidded.

I came to a stop about 5 feet away from her, and apologized profusely, several times. Again, I feel terrible about this, both to her and my fellow mountain bikers. She was fine, but didn't give much of a response. I moved on.

I don't know why I'm posting this; I guess it's because I can't get it out of my mind.

Just realize that no matter how careful you normally are, incidents can still happen. I/she got lucky today. I wish I'd hung around longer to talk to her. #ashamed.
I too have been in similar situations. Stopping and apologizing. Some level of guilt. No matter what, it is part of our sport that is hard to take in.
Sooner or later somebody is going to come in here and tell you that you are in the wrong for riding outside of a safe level. Happens on the forums all the time. When that happens, try not to let those comments get to you.
 

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Shartacular Spectacular
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Orrrrr were you JRA when two wanton hikers came charging up the trail with reckless abandon and criminal stealth nearly hitting you....
 

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I too have been in similar situations. Stopping and apologizing. Some level of guilt. No matter what, it is part of our sport that is hard to take in.
Sooner or later somebody is going to come in here and tell you that you are in the wrong for riding outside of a safe level. Happens on the forums all the time. When that happens, try not to let those comments get to you.
He is and I will be happy to say it. I was when I did it. That is why I felt bad when I did it. And the issue is that even though there was no contact, it scared the heck out of that lady and they will remember it. But honestly we all make mistakes. Sht happens. It is about being man or women enough to learn from it and move on. No blame. understanding.
 

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... a Timber bell that can be left open (on) so the trail jitters make the bell ring constantly. Although not loud it might have offered warning just early enough to have not surprised them or time to move off center. Using in blind areas like that might be a worthwhile tactic.
....
OP: props on only having 2 close calls ever, and being so respectful of other trail users. I have a Timber Bell that I always use (typically in high use trails with lots of blind corners), and I highly recommend it. I have had lots of hikers thank me for it. I leave the bell fully open on climbs, and partially open on downhills (so it rings just enough, on all the bumps, and not wildly). I turn it off when I am on wide trails with big sight lines and going slow.
 

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Bikesexual
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There are some advantages to being slow, I guess.

Op, you are a responsible rider, we all make mistakes, as long as you apologized, and gladly nothing happened, you shouldn't feel too bad.
 

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OP: props on only having 2 close calls ever, and being so respectful of other trail users. I have a Timber Bell that I always use (typically in high use trails with lots of blind corners), and I highly recommend it. I have had lots of hikers thank me for it. I leave the bell fully open on climbs, and partially open on downhills (so it rings just enough, on all the bumps, and not wildly). I turn it off when I am on wide trails with big sight lines and going slow.
Sooner or later even the most careful, responsible riders will have a "close call". To complicate things, hikers and riders define close calls differently. Hikers with no riding experience often think we are out of control even when we're not. And every trail user deserves to feel safe and comfortable on a multiuse trail. When it does happen, we should follow the OPs example and apologize and strive to let hikers know that riders accept the responsibility that they need to be in control at all times, even if we sometimes make mistakes.

+1 for Timberbells. They work and hikers do appreciate them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the comments guys; I have some ideas to try and I feel better to get some validation.

I do have a bike bell, but it is thumb actuated and it's not always easy to ring it constantly (plus, I've had a guy yell at me FOR ringing it in the past). I'm gonna look into one of those Timber bells you guys are talking about. Just something that will make a little more noise. Both of my bikes have pretty quiet hubs; might look into that as well.

I normally go as far away from heavily populated trails as I can, but that's been hard due to time constraints lately; I must go to trails that are close to home most of the time. Also, our high mountain trails still have too much snow to ride, and normally those are much better for fewer users.

I shall take this as a lesson learned, and I appreciate your tips.
 

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I’ve had a few close calls with hikers on the trails even though I’m very cautious/wary about them. But in my experience so far, it seems like hikers are generally less aware of others on the trails than most bikers around my area.

Had two just last nite not really looking too far ahead, had their earbuds in and acting totally startled by someone coming in the opposite direction (and this after I had slowed down to almost a crawl and spoke out). Even told one guy I had another rider coming behind me and she said he still wasn’t looking up at or for her when she came by a few seconds later (glad I called out to her about the oncoming hiker!)

When plant growth kicks up on our trails, I dial it back even more because of line of sight issues. But still come across a lot of hikers that seem oblivious. YMMV


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I've had a few close calls with hikers on the trails even though I'm very cautious/wary about them. But in my experience so far, it seems like hikers are generally less aware of others on the trails than most bikers around my area.

Had two just last nite not really looking too far ahead, had their earbuds in and acting totally startled by someone coming in the opposite direction (and this after I had slowed down to almost a crawl and spoke out). Even told one guy I had another rider coming behind me and she said he still wasn't looking up at or for her when she came by a few seconds later (glad I called out to her about the oncoming hiker!)

When plant growth kicks up on our trails, I dial it back even more because of line of sight issues. But still come across a lot of hikers that seem oblivious. YMMV

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Absolutely agree, and that isn't going to change. That's why we need to work extra hard to minimize potential conflicts. Regardless of their level of obliviousness, they have the right to feel safe and comfortable on multiuse trails. If they don't, we will pay the price in terms of access.
 

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Another recommendation for Timberbells.

I've used bells for years, and they help, but you only ding them when you can, and think about it. I saw a big difference once I switched to a TB, instead of dinging here and there and then coming around a corner to see people already moving out of the way, I started coming around corners and they were standing on the side, long out of the way. Safer for everyone, you end up slowing down a lot less, plus, they thank you. Often.
 

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Another recommendation for Timberbells.

I've used bells for years, and they help, but you only ding them when you can, and think about it. I saw a big difference once I switched to a TB, instead of dinging here and there and then coming around a corner to see people already moving out of the way, I started coming around corners and they were standing on the side, long out of the way. Safer for everyone, you end up slowing down a lot less, plus, they thank you. Often.
Yup. I leave it off when climbing unless overtaking hikers and set it to full loud on the descents when there are blind corners and/or hikers in the area. Been thanked so many times by hikers.
I'd prefer to not use a bell. Don't want something else on my bars. However, there's just too much potential for catastrophe with hikers on my local trails.
 
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