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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The other day, I was hiking at Santa Teresa County Park with my little 5 y/o daughter. A mtn biker rode by us. I ride there all the time too, no big deal, right? Well, this guy really blew by my daughter at speed on a downhill, no slowing or stopping. If he had suddenly blown a tire or fallen, he would have hit my daughter hard.

Whenever I ride there and see others, hikers, equestrians, anyone I always slow down or stop completely. Most of the time, these people will signal me to go ahead, but at least they know I'm acknowledging their presence and how they may feel. With this mtn biker that blew by my daughter, I felt like we were not even there, just obstacles in the way. I felt really vulnerable and afraid for my daughter.

Please, riders, the trails are multi-use and are for everyone. Lets not give the ecologists, equestrians, hikers, and anyone not in favor of us any reason to close the trails to us mtn bikers. Honestly, after seeing this guy and his disrespect for my daughter and I, I would be in favor in closing the trails too if I were not a mtn biker!
 

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While I sympathize with your concern and I feel that it is courteous to slow down while passing anybody, I think there is another side to this. Some riders are dumbass yahoos that are riding beyond their skill level but these are the slim minority. Despite how rude and dangerous it may have seemed, it is likely that the rider you mentioned was well in control of his bike and was riding well within his own safety margins. It is a common mistake for hikers and equestrians to assume that just because a mountain biker is rolling fast that he is nearly out of control. No one seems to trust the skill of the people around them. I can't speak to this specific incedent, but the odds of DH tires going flat on regular trail conditions are vitually nill and for me, the last time I crashed while on a trail that is tame enough for hikers... no, I never have. For the specific incedent you mention, I can't really speculate too much about it because I didn't see it.

I do agree with the main point of your posting. Its just polite to slow down and let people know you are coming, regardless of how safely you can pass them at speed, and that is exactly what I do. I slow way down and say "hello" and "excuse me" or simply "on your left" if its a nice wide trail. However, all of this I do for common courtesy, not because I'm prone to crash into them. Its all about not scaring people. When riders blow by me, which doesn't really happen, I just don't mind because I assume the opposite of most people, that the rider knows what he is doing.
 

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RobsterCraw said:
However, all of this I do for common courtesy, not because I'm prone to crash into them. Its all about not scaring people. .
I think that this is the point that many riders seem to ignore. I doesn't matter if the rider is in control or how the hikers "should" feel safe. It's about not scaring them.

Good post!
 

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Think defensively

I'd like to add one more thought to this thread. In addition to showing common courtesy and not scaring folks, when approaching other trail users or blind corners on trails, it is a good idea to practice the same defensive driving mindset you would use driving. You may be perfectly in control, but does that person you are approaching see you? If not, do you know they aren't going to step into your path to look at something? If it is a blind corner, is someone or something in your path just out of sight around that corner?

You can do all this and still let it rip. Just pick your spots.
 

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Wasn't Me!!

On my trip through Santa Teresa Saturday, the only hikers I saw were two ladies coming up Rocky Ridge. I slowed down a lot, and eventually stopped even though they waved me on.

That biker should be fined for reckless riding. Even if he thinks he's in control, others may not be in control, as just mentioned by HarryC, and he needs to be responsible for watching out for them too. As a father I know how the little ones can suddenly do stupid things like dart out in front of fast bikes without looking. I may not always have time to grab them if an unexpected fast moving object appears. So they need to watch out too.

I'm wondering if this guy even saw your little one. Was this on a wide fire road with him clearly avoiding you on the other side? Sometimes it's possible someone's so focussed on other things they didn't even notice.

I also agree that MTB riders should do more than just be safe around others. We should be polite and not scare either. Provide plenty of warning and get a response before passing.

The only time I scared anyone was a month ago on the paved trail near Almaden Lake. A hot pants chick was roller blading down the path with a head set blasting music. I was ringing my bell and hollering and thought she heard me because she moved to the right. But as I slowed down and creeped by on the left, she skated left and landed right into my lap, while I saw it coming and yelling "Hello" at the top of my voice. She finally was startled and looked very upset. I yelled something like "take off your headphones". I think she was the danger in that situation though.
 

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BigLarry said:
On my trip through Santa Teresa Saturday, the only hikers I saw were two ladies coming up Rocky Ridge. I slowed down a lot, and eventually stopped even though they waved me on.

That biker should be fined for reckless riding. Even if he thinks he's in control, others may not be in control, as just mentioned by HarryC, and he needs to be responsible for watching out for them too. As a father I know how the little ones can suddenly do stupid things like dart out in front of fast bikes without looking. I may not always have time to grab them if an unexpected fast moving object appears. So they need to watch out too.

I'm wondering if this guy even saw your little one. Was this on a wide fire road with him clearly avoiding you on the other side? Sometimes it's possible someone's so focussed on other things they didn't even notice.

I also agree that MTB riders should do more than just be safe around others. We should be polite and not scare either. Provide plenty of warning and get a response before passing.

The only time I scared anyone was a month ago on the paved trail near Almaden Lake. A hot pants chick was roller blading down the path with a head set blasting music. I was ringing my bell and hollering and thought she heard me because she moved to the right. But as I slowed down and creeped by on the left, she skated left and landed right into my lap, while I saw it coming and yelling "Hello" at the top of my voice. She finally was startled and looked very upset. I yelled something like "take off your headphones". I think she was the danger in that situation though.
As usual, perception IS reality. If the hiker/equestrian/roller blader/whatever feels in danger, then that's what it is regardless of whether the encounter was actually dangerous or not... I have a coworker who is a hiker, and probably a Sierra Club card carrier, and while she's nice and means well, her usual comment is that bikers almost killed her a few times. Reality is probably that she never was threatened one bit, but it does not matter. Her perception is her reality and what she'll complain at the next park meeting (although I don't think she ever goes to one). I'm not a saint and I've probably scared a few hikers, although not on purpose, and always try to have positive encounters while on the trail.. There are also idiots who will stop and chitchat blocking the whole damn trail but that's another story...

Anyway, Larry could you expand on your method to get hot roller bladers to land on your laps? That sounds pretty neat. :D
 

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A hot pants chick was roller blading down the path with a head set blasting music. I was ringing my bell and hollering and thought she heard me because she moved to the right. But as I slowed down and creeped by on the left, she skated left and landed right into my lap,
Man, I can't wait to ride in California...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great responses, riders. Yes, its all about being courteous and letting others know when you're coming. Like the other rider said, if you yield to others as we bikers are supposed to be doing anyhow, they'll usually wave us on.

This guy blew by us on a fire road. He had plenty of space on my side of the road, instead he came by the side nearest my little girl. Sure, he may even be a pro rider and can ride at light speed down the hill, but I don't know that. And accidents can happen at any time, thats why they're called accidents. Its about being courteous.

I just wanted to share my experience with all of you, coming from both standpoints of being a hiker and a biker. They already want to close ST to us. Let's not give them any more reasons to do so, like this inconsiderate rider I'm talking about. Its also one of my favorite places to ride especially since I live so close to it.

Closing ST to us riders would be a shame. We're lucky they don't have heavy ranger patrol with speed limit postings and radar detectors, like Fremont Older (which sucks anyhow) or Skeggs.
 

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Don't think this guy was all that experienced if he chose to blast a line near an unpredictable element, i.e. your 5 year old daughter; kids can run fast and not necessarily away from danger. What a maroon. I prefer to slow or stop and make eye and voice contact with most other trail users, especially hikers and equestrians, and think that most of us do, but there's always the few that ruin it for most...
 

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Blue Shorts said:
I think that this is the point that many riders seem to ignore. I doesn't matter if the rider is in control or how the hikers "should" feel safe. It's about not scaring them.

Good post!
I do everything in my power to make hikers and equestrians feel comfortable. Go slow, say hi.... I need to start carrying carrots, hikers love them ;)
Bottom line is far more people hate us than support us. If we can just set a good example for a single hiker or equestrian we have made some progress.

A few months ago we were at Coe, and some equestrians wanted to take some pictures with us to put in their magazine. It would have been an article on sharing the trails with bikers. The people were very friendly, and we spent about 30 minutes talking, feeding the horses, taking pictures and just discussing general trail etiquette. I hate to see us make some progress, and then have a small percentage of riders ruin it with some dumbass move.

-Dan
 

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1. Your singing to the choir here.
2. I do slow down near hikers from my normal speed but probably not enough to make 100% of them "feel" as though I am riding with "their" saftey in mind. I say hi to every person on the trail I come across. I try not to scare anyone while I ride my bike. However I've come to the conclusion here that I'll have to slow down to around 5mph before the hikers "feel" safe, which is just unacceptable to me.
3. People who think that their kids are a reason for everyone else on the planet to act differently piss me off. Either the guy was riding recklessly or he was not, it has nothing to do with your child.
4. Think about the big picture here:
a. When you take your bike out on the road do the cars slow down when the pass you? No. Do they wave and honk to make sure you saw them? No. Do you feel it is logical for anyone to think of banning the faster moving dangerous vehicles from the road so you can "feel" safe? If not, then why do you defend the hiker mentality about banning bikes from trails?
b. Do you feel safe 100% of the time while you are walking on the sidewalk? No. Should cars slow down so that if the car got a flat tire and veered off the road while you were walking on the sidewalk you wouldn't get squished? Isn't this line of thought starting to sound a bit ludacris?

What I'm trying to get at here is that we are pandering to a viewpoint that doesn't make any sense. We are giving credence to a group of people who are whiners by nature and think that their perception is reality, when the reality is that we need to learn how to stick up for ourselves. Bottom line - If you act like a criminal, people will see you as a criminal. Dont' let someone else convince you that you are doing something wrong when you know you're in the right.
 

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shanedawg said:
1. Your singing to the choir here.
2. I do slow down near hikers from my normal speed but probably not enough to make 100% of them "feel" as though I am riding with "their" saftey in mind. I say hi to every person on the trail I come across. I try not to scare anyone while I ride my bike. However I've come to the conclusion here that I'll have to slow down to around 5mph before the hikers "feel" safe, which is just unacceptable to me.
3. People who think that their kids are a reason for everyone else on the planet to act differently piss me off. Either the guy was riding recklessly or he was not, it has nothing to do with your child.
4. Think about the big picture here:
a. When you take your bike out on the road do the cars slow down when the pass you? No. Do they wave and honk to make sure you saw them? No. Do you feel it is logical for anyone to think of banning the faster moving dangerous vehicles from the road so you can "feel" safe? If not, then why do you defend the hiker mentality about banning bikes from trails?
b. Do you feel safe 100% of the time while you are walking on the sidewalk? No. Should cars slow down so that if the car got a flat tire and veered off the road while you were walking on the sidewalk you wouldn't get squished? Isn't this line of thought starting to sound a bit ludacris?

What I'm trying to get at here is that we are pandering to a viewpoint that doesn't make any sense. We are giving credence to a group of people who are whiners by nature and think that their perception is reality, when the reality is that we need to learn how to stick up for ourselves. Bottom line - If you act like a criminal, people will see you as a criminal. Dont' let someone else convince you that you are doing something wrong when you know you're in the right.
Very well put. It's all relative.

Dan C.
 

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Your Main Motivation

Why would you take your 5yrd to hike at a place were MTBer's ride all the time. Your main motivation was to entertain your youngster. Seems like you could have found something else or a different place to do such.

Just a question. Not my viewpoint.
 

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Multi-use...... kids will be on it. He happened to be a MTBR'r so posted his question here.

I take my kids out on fire roads too. I see other kids/dogs when I ride solo. A big cushion of space needs to be given to smaller kids and dogs because of random behaviour that can happen. Kids will simply decide to go one way to the other to follow something. As another poster mentioned, defensive riding. Worry about what the other person is going to do.
Getting buzzed sucks and especially if you're with the little ones. If some d1ckweed passes on the narrow side of the trail by the kids when there's plenty of space on the other there will be issues.

As riders we need to be understanding of that fact. Remember the yield triangle? Bikers always need to yield to everyone. That can suck sometimes but that's life. No matter who's truely right, if a MTB hits a kid there will be repercussions for all trail users. If an MTB hits my kid, the rider's toast.
 

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shanedawg said:
1. Your singing to the choir here.
2. I do slow down near hikers from my normal speed but probably not enough to make 100% of them "feel" as though I am riding with "their" saftey in mind. I say hi to every person on the trail I come across. I try not to scare anyone while I ride my bike. However I've come to the conclusion here that I'll have to slow down to around 5mph before the hikers "feel" safe, which is just unacceptable to me.
3. People who think that their kids are a reason for everyone else on the planet to act differently piss me off. Either the guy was riding recklessly or he was not, it has nothing to do with your child.
4. Think about the big picture here:
a. When you take your bike out on the road do the cars slow down when the pass you? No. Do they wave and honk to make sure you saw them? No. Do you feel it is logical for anyone to think of banning the faster moving dangerous vehicles from the road so you can "feel" safe? If not, then why do you defend the hiker mentality about banning bikes from trails?
b. Do you feel safe 100% of the time while you are walking on the sidewalk? No. Should cars slow down so that if the car got a flat tire and veered off the road while you were walking on the sidewalk you wouldn't get squished? Isn't this line of thought starting to sound a bit ludacris?

What I'm trying to get at here is that we are pandering to a viewpoint that doesn't make any sense. We are giving credence to a group of people who are whiners by nature and think that their perception is reality, when the reality is that we need to learn how to stick up for ourselves. Bottom line - If you act like a criminal, people will see you as a criminal. Dont' let someone else convince you that you are doing something wrong when you know you're in the right.
Wow. Since you were nice enough to outline, let me return the favor.

1. Comparing a MULTI-USE fire road, with clearly distinguished right of way guidelines that favor the pedestrian, to public roadways on which bicycles and pedestrians are usually restricted in terms of access, is a bad comparison.
2. It's not about feeling 100% safe. We live in a high risk society, and I'm sure the orignial poster knows that. It's about minimizing obviously risky behavior, and there's nothing crazy about that.
3. This is why if a car does veer dangerously or recklessly close to a cyclist or pedestrian, or even another car, they can get a ticket. It doesn't happen much, but I have seen it. Bottom line - if you break the rules, and don't play nice, you will face the consequences.
4. Generalizing all hikers as a bunch of "whiners" is a weak personal attack and is hardly accurate. This seems very ironic coming from someone so concerned with logic.
5. Creating an us vs. them mentality won't help things at all. It's not about sticking up for ourselves, but about figuring out a way to share a common resource.

What I'm trying to get at here is that individual rights and freedoms are always restricted when they come in conflict with other people's rights and freedoms. If someone wants to bomb down a trail unhindered, go up to Tahoe or some other restricted access area. But while on public, multi-use trails, we really need to be more considerate of other users, or they will be justified in removing us from those trails.
 

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Old man on a bike
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I'll have to slow down to around 5mph before the hikers "feel" safe, which is just unacceptable to me.

He said it all right about there, didn't he? The whiners like this guy are what piss me off.
 

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zorg said:
Anyway, Larry could you expand on your method to get hot roller bladers to land on your laps? That sounds pretty neat. :D
Freak near accident. For absolutely no reason she went way to the left on a 10' wide paved path just as I was passing on the left at almost the same speed. I turned the bars left so she wouldn't hit them and went to the very left side of the trail myself. I also took my right hand off the bar so she wouldn't hit my arm and knock me out of control. I really didn't want to touch her in any way as it might cause more problems. She finally saw my front wheel or heard my hollering as she started reacting just about the time her rear landed on my upper thigh. Fortunately she recovered OK and neither of us fell from the light bump. I just rode on after yelling at her about her head phones. Very mixed emotions about this one. I don't think she approved of MTBs though.

I actually had my camera around my neck at the time and was thinking of getting her pic.. but didn't seem right.

Back on topic:
I always slow down to a crawl, even slower than my usual slow pace, when passing anyone or anything, even if it messes up a new time for me or a great pace I'm making. I figure annoying someone or worse, hitting someone, would just make the whole MTB experience a whole lot less fun for me too.

I give kids and small animals (dogs, squirrels, ...) a special wide berth and even slower on speed, on bike or driving a car. They're just too unpredictable and can cause me an accident too.

I also give bikes a LOT of room when driving. Most other drivers do too. I don't even mind following behind a bike for a ways while waiting a chance to safely pass with wide clearance. Perhaps I'm in a bit of awe at the pace of some of the roadies and want to spectate a bit. Once paced a solo rider at 34 MPH on a level road!!! But I quit road biking because of the rare 1 in a 1000 drivers that give no clearance, deliberate I think sometimes. MTB is fun in many other ways too.
 
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