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Rules of the Trail & Etiquette

Our conduct on the trails is key to maintaining mountain bike access.  We encourage you to ride with these points in mind for a pleasant and safe trail experience for all trail users and animals. Utilizing these tips can also help us open more trails to mountain bikes.


Go Slow, Say Hello

What does "yield" really mean? Yield means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop, and pass in a safe and friendly manner. Hikers yield to horses, and bikes yield to hikers and horses as shown by the arrows on the multi-use yield sign.

Respect. It's a simple concept: If you offer respect, you are more likely to receive it. All trail users have rights and responsibilities to each other, and to our trails.

Smile. Greet. Nod. Every user on the trail is a fellow nature lover. Be friendly and expect to see other folks around every corner. Remember, "Go Slow, Say Hello!"

Don't block the trail. When taking a break, move to the side of the trail. Don't stop or lay a bike or backpack on the trail, especially on a blind comer.

Don't tune out. If you wear earphones, keep the volume down or only wear one earpiece so other trail users don't surprise you.

Share and Care. We all share a love of nature, open space and trails. It's important that all hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers unite to support and care for our trails and public lands. Shared-use trails are cost-effective, minimize impacts on the environment, provide the most users with the most trail opportunities and build happier, healthier communities. We all value and support our public land managers and our trails community. Let's work together to keep our trails safe and enjoyable for all.

Visit to learn more or get involved.

IMBA's Rules of the Trail

1) Ride on Open Trails Only. Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land.  Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

2) Leave No Trace. Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trailbed is soft, consider other riding options.  This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Appreciate the parkland that we have and pack out what you pack in, and pick up random litter.

3) Control Your Bicycle! Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

4) Always Yield the Trail to Other Trail Users. Cyclists yield to equestrians and hikers.  On trails, stop and step aside if necessary to let them pass.  

  • Ring your bell before you approach so as to not startle them.
  • Scan the trail ahead for other trails users.
  • Anticipate other trail users and ring your bell around corners or in blind spots.

Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.

For horses, stop and ask equestrians if it is ok to pass.  Horses are easily startled.  Horses recognize the human voice more so than bells.  In general, if you meet an equestrian on a trail,

  • Stop and move to the downhill side to let them pass.  
  • Talk to the rider and respect how they prefer to pass with their horse.  

The rider will appreciate your courtesy.

When approaching other cyclists, the biker going uphill has the right-of-way.  This courtesy is extended to not break the climber’s momentum and because it is easier to restart when going downhill if there is a need for someone to stop for a safe pass.  Note that the person with the right-of-way can choose their path. They may not follow the convention of staying to the right if that is not their best path, even on fire roads!

How are you perceived by other trail users?  Even if you are a caring and friendly individual, with your helmet, sunglasses and a facial expression concentrating on the trail, you may appear intimidating to other trail users.  Smile, say "Hi!" and ring your bell if you have one.  It will promote goodwill on the trail and happiness to the trails community that we are a part of.

5) Never Scare Animals. Animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise.  This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals.  Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you.  Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense.  Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.  For information about rattlesnakes, click here.

6) Be Prepared and Plan Ahead. Having a successful ride depends on your preparation and knowledge. Know your ability, skill level and equipment, and choose your trail accordingly.  Always wear a helmet, prepare your bike, take a map of the area where you will be riding and check the weather.  Bring enough water, snacks, and tools to repair your bike, and take any necessary clothing.  Be self-sufficient so your ride is satisfying to you and not a burden to others.

7) Take the Opportunity to Give Back to the Trails - The CORBA Trail Crew. The local trails are valuable resources for you and the community.  The trails give us so much pleasure, but they also need some TLC from time to time.  When we see a rain-rutted or overgrown trail, we may think that “they” will take care of it. But who are “they” anyway?  The park agencies don’t have the resources to maintain the trails, so they rely on volunteer groups such as the CORBA Trail Crew to come out and get our hands dirty.  And you know what, we have a great time doing so! We invite you to come out and donate some time and muscle helping the CORBA Trail Crew in building, repairing, and maintaining the trails you enjoy so much.  The CORBA Trail Crew works each month on trails in LA and the surrounding area. For more information, check the CORBA Trail Crew schedule on the calendar or the Trail Crew page.



Guidance from

Mountain Bikers, What can you expect?

Surprised trail users. Fast-moving bikes can startle others, especially when coming around a blind turn or approaching from behind.

What is your responsibility?

Mountain bikers yield to hikers, horses and uphill-riding cyclists. Slow Down around other trail users and anticipate people or animals around blind turns. Consider using a bell to help avoid surprising others. Be exceedingly friendly and communicative. On wider trails and fire roads keep to the right. Always ride under control and avoid skidding. Never put others at risk.

Passing Hikers:

1. Greet hikers early with a friendly "howdy" or "good morning."

2. SLOW DOWN to about the same speed as the hiker.

3. Pass slowly and be prepared to stop if necessary. Others' perception of a safe, courteous speed may be different to yours. Show your appreciation if they step to the side for you.

4. Expect the unexpected. People and animals can be unpredictable or easily spooked or startled by cyclists.

Passing Cyclists:

1. Announce your intention to pass with a friendly "Let me know when it's safe to pass."

2. Use the "singletrack yield" on narrow trails: the yielding rider should stop to the side, put one foot down and lean both body and bike away from the trail.

3. Give uphill riders the right of way when you're going downhill. It's much harder to get started again on a climb.

Passing Horses:

1. Immediately slow down and stop at least 30 feet from the horse.

2. Greet the equestrian and the horse. Speaking shows the horse you are human and not a threat.

3. Ask how or when to pass safely. Offer to get off your bike.

4. Pass slowly and steadily, but only after the equestrian gives you the go-ahead. Sudden movements or noises can spook a horse. Where possible, pass on the downhill side of the animal.


IMBA’S 10 Responsible Riding Tips

  1. Be Prepared
  2. Don’t Ride on Closed Trails
  3. Say No to Mud
  4. Respect the Trail, Wildlife and Environment
  5. Stay on the Trail
  6. Ride Slowly on Crowded Trails
  7. Pass With Courtesy and Care
  8. Share the Trail With Other Trail Users
  9. Don’t Do Unauthorized Trail Work
  10. Get Involved







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