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ebikes on the Shore

Sept. 5, 2019, 6:45 p.m.
Posts: 605
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: cerealkilla_

Most trails are built with a directional orientation, and this is usually listed in the Section 57 approval (i.e. downhill primary). I would suggest that the person riding the trail in the primary direction holds the right of way, regardless of their propulsion system.

Unless a trail is clearly marked [at every entry point] as being one-way or that right of way is based on a specific direction of travel than a rider has to assume it's a standard two-way trail and the climber has right of way. You can't have right of way be determined by local knowledge and not have that info on clear signage or it's just not workable. Whole purpose of the current right of way rules is that you know instantly who needs to stop or move over.

Sept. 5, 2019, 6:53 p.m.
Posts: 1624
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: FLATCH

I was including all user groups, not just biker v biker.

i think we were too, or at least i was anyway. either way, seems we're in the same chapter if not on the same page.

Sept. 5, 2019, 10:48 p.m.
Posts: 740
Joined: Aug. 14, 2003

Posted by: Vikb

Posted by: cerealkilla_

Most trails are built with a directional orientation, and this is usually listed in the Section 57 approval (i.e. downhill primary). I would suggest that the person riding the trail in the primary direction holds the right of way, regardless of their propulsion system.

Unless a trail is clearly marked [at every entry point] as being one-way or that right of way is based on a specific direction of travel than a rider has to assume it's a standard two-way trail and the climber has right of way. You can't have right of way be determined by local knowledge and not have that info on clear signage or it's just not workable. Whole purpose of the current right of way rules is that you know instantly who needs to stop or move over.

That would suggest that Ebikes get special privilege and special right of way over all other bikes, because they can climb up what everyone else descends. I would suggest that generally unwritten and informal standard needs to be revisited with the advent of Ebikes. 

I don't think you actually need local knowledge to know what is a descent and what is a climb. Signage would be helpful for sure, and that signage should be based on the current normal flow of traffic.  However, in absence of signage, what should be the norm?

Seeing that Ebikes (Class 1) have their own distinct category, they perhaps should have some distinct limits---nothing extreme or particularly oppressive or unfair--- but sensible limits to ensure safe and harmonious integration. If you're adding a motor (i.e. power)  to something, adding weight (20 lbs on average), then the rider needs to exercise responsible control over that power.  Yielding to other trail users following the primary flow of traffic makes sense, whether those users are MTBs or other Ebikes, and that "primary flow" may need to be defined a little more clearly and in some cases that may mean signage. 

I think this is an important area that should be hammered out. Everyone would probably be better off, and they could get on riding whatever they have between their legs, with one of the significant sticking points out of the way.

Sept. 6, 2019, 7:03 a.m.
Posts: 406
Joined: Jan. 2, 2018

I think the concept of yielding based on primary trail direction is a good one but I do think you'd need more signage.

I always seem to come across hikers hiking up the steepest part of a trail while I am descending and I always do my best to yield but it's literally dangerous to try to do so.

It seems hikers like to turn up severed at the penny/GSM/severed intersection. The steep section before that is not a fun or safe section of trail to attempt to dodge hikers.

Not that I still wouldn't try to slow down and avoid them if the rule was changed but I really do think it's worth pointing out to hikers that they can expect mtbs headed downhill.

As soon as I see them I tell out a friendly "good morning!" Followed by "I'm sorry but I may not be able to get stopped at this point".

They generally make a face as if I am riding my bike through their flower garden in front of their house. Whatever. I try.

I feel like ebikers headed up would be the same deal. Silly for someone descending a steep downhill primary trail to have to pull over and stop for someone headed up the wrong direction.

If you really want to climb a descending trail, regardless of your mode of transport, you should be yielding.

And you do need local knowledge of there's no signage. For example o rode Alice lake a couple weeks ago and after descending crouching squirrel hidden monkey I went up brackentrail to get back to the main trail network. 

I would not do that again and felt bad about it, once you're halfway up it's clear it's really downhill primary. I felt like a tool and definitely yielded to any descenders. 

No way it's have done that if it was signed (and since that area generally is well signed and there are some gnarly steep climbing sections I didn't second guess it).


 Last edited by: Kenny on Sept. 6, 2019, 7:11 a.m., edited 2 times in total.
Sept. 6, 2019, 8:02 p.m.
Posts: 130
Joined: March 1, 2017

^ Brackentrail isn't DH Primary. It's a multi-use / multi-directional trail that people so happen to like to 'shred' down. Craig's Connector will help get climbing traffic off the top half of the trail, but it's also increasing uphill traffic on the lower half as people now use the bottom section to access CC. Loads of Enduro-Lords go flying down the last bit straight into the path of hikers, dog walkers and also people riding / pushing up. There's going to be a big accident one day.....

Sept. 6, 2019, 8:09 p.m.
Posts: 1992
Joined: April 25, 2003

Edit: this was re: Kenny’s post. 

That’s interesting, because unless it’s designated as such, not everyone agrees on how a trail “should” be ridden.

Over here, at the dump, I ride up a bunch of stuff that’s mostly ridden down. Signage for all but one trail there indicates two way traffic but most steepish trails have a “normal” riding direction. I keep my head up, paying attention to blind spots and places where it’s difficult to stop. Responses are generally along the lines of “You ride UP this? Fuck sweet, give er!” Only negative interaction was where I basically rode through a descending newbie who saw me but didn’t yield - I heard her bitch to the dude she was with and he told her “yeah, he’s climbing, get out of his way.” It’s not a problem because not everyone goes looking for super hard climbs and I know these trails super well and pay attention.

No idea how to make things work when someone is working hard on a cheater bike. They’re working hard, but might be clueless, and particularly on the shore (busy and steep) it’s often difficult/impossible to stop when descending. Do we have a duty to treat them like a vulnerable and clueless hiker, a mountain biker who should know the ins and outs or what?

More regulation, more ride arounds, wider corridors and more conflict I guess. The more these things show up, the further back underground some of us will be going. Busy, one-way wide open trails with people checking my bike aren’t for me.


 Last edited by: tashi on Sept. 6, 2019, 8:10 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Sept. 6, 2019, 11:40 p.m.
Posts: 18074
Joined: Oct. 28, 2003

Best of luck riding up Pangor, I heard the trials moto guys even had a real hard time trying it.  

Moar downhill drops and rock pitches on trails, problem solved.

Sept. 7, 2019, 7:24 a.m.
Posts: 605
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: cerealkilla_

I don't think you actually need local knowledge to know what is a descent and what is a climb. Signage would be helpful for sure, and that signage should be based on the current normal flow of traffic.  However, in absence of signage, what should be the norm?

Right of Way Rules exist. Bikes going downhill give way to bikes climbing. That's easy to figure out and universal. The only exceptions are trails explicitly marked as one-way at all entrances. In the 3 main trail networks I ride there is one trail that is marked as one-way. Given how fast both parties need to deal with meeting you can't have complex rules or different rules at different spots - barring the one-way trails we talked about. The reactions need to be pretty quick when bikes are closing in on each other fast.

The problem I see with adding any special rules for e-bikes is that at a glance I can't tell and e-bike from a mountain bike especially just from the the front. So if they have different Right of Way Rules than mountain bikes it doesn't work because it takes too long to know what's going on and right of way needs to simple and fast to understand or it fails. 

So if you have a downhill trail you don't want someone on an e-bike to climb you need to sign it and make it a downhill only trail.

Sept. 7, 2019, 2:36 p.m.
Posts: 740
Joined: Aug. 14, 2003

Posted by: Vikb

Right of Way Rules exist. Bikes going downhill give way to bikes climbing. That's easy to figure out and universal. 

Um no. Please feel free to show us where that "rule" is formally stated. It is a general convention among bikes, and it has been followed by pedal-powered bikers over the last 30 years, with the application of this idea being limited pretty much to those trails that are two-way traffic. 

Having an ebike does not automatically grant a special privilege to turn what everyone has always descended into a special climb. As I mentioned before, most Section 57 applications have a directional orientation stated. It may not be clearly signed, but it only takes a teaspoon of common sense to separate descents from two-ways. Credit Line? Descent..... Bobsled? Descent..... Espresso? Descent......Nicoles? descent......Word of Mouth? 2-way....Wonderland.? 2-way.....Bridal Path? 2-way.

As for special ebike rules, when mountain bikes came along way back when, we did indeed have special rules for them and restrictions on where they may go. Same thing should apply to ebikes (I.e. Lord of the Squirrels). Again, we don't need to place strict limits or unreasonable and unfair boundaries around their use. Just reinforce the common sense that has helped keep the trail traffic running smooth for the past 3 decades. 

However, we do not need a special rule for Ebikes when it comes to this issue. Any one (regardless of bike type) that wants to go up a trail that is primarily used for descents, should yield to the descending traffic. It is totally unreasonable, and potentially dangerous to expect downhill traffic on steep trails to be yield to those going against the flow. I see people making all sorts of inappropriate comparisons (Oh ebikes are like snowboards, oh ebikes are like paddle boards, everyone is just hating on us wah wah wah).....Okay, lets use those examples. Would you paddle your paddle board straight out through the break just because you can and expect people to bail off their wave? Would you boot-pack your snowboard straight up under the rollers just because you can? No. ......That is using ebikers OWN logic, and it seems to clearly indicate that riding up against the flow of downhill traffic and expecting others  to yield is non-sensical.

Signage is likely coming, but it takes time and it costs money. In the meantime, it would be nice if common sense prevailed.

Sept. 7, 2019, 4:07 p.m.
Posts: 605
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

Posted by: cerealkilla_

Posted by: Vikb

Right of Way Rules exist. Bikes going downhill give way to bikes climbing. That's easy to figure out and universal. 

Um no. Please feel free to show us where that "rule" is formally stated. It is a general convention among bikes, and it has been followed by pedal-powered bikers over the last 30 years, with the application of this idea being limited pretty much to those trails that are two-way traffic. 

Having an ebike does not automatically grant a special privilege to turn what everyone has always descended into a special climb. As I mentioned before, most Section 57 applications have a directional orientation stated. It may not be clearly signed, but it only takes a teaspoon of common sense to separate descents from two-ways. Credit Line? Descent..... Bobsled? Descent..... Espresso? Descent......Nicoles? descent......Word of Mouth? 2-way....Wonderland.? 2-way.....Bridal Path? 2-way.

As for special ebike rules, when mountain bikes came along way back when, we did indeed have special rules for them and restrictions on where they may go. Same thing should apply to ebikes (I.e. Lord of the Squirrels). Again, we don't need to place strict limits or unreasonable and unfair boundaries around their use. Just reinforce the common sense that has helped keep the trail traffic running smooth for the past 3 decades. 

However, we do not need a special rule for Ebikes when it comes to this issue. Any one (regardless of bike type) that wants to go up a trail that is primarily used for descents, should yield to the descending traffic. It is totally unreasonable, and potentially dangerous to expect downhill traffic on steep trails to be yield to those going against the flow. I see people making all sorts of inappropriate comparisons (Oh ebikes are like snowboards, oh ebikes are like paddle boards, everyone is just hating on us wah wah wah).....Okay, lets use those examples. Would you paddle your paddle board straight out through the break just because you can and expect people to bail off their wave? Would you boot-pack your snowboard straight up under the rollers just because you can? No. ......That is using ebikers OWN logic, and it seems to clearly indicate that riding up against the flow of downhill traffic and expecting others  to yield is non-sensical.

Signage is likely coming, but it takes time and it costs money. In the meantime, it would be nice if common sense prevailed.

I've been riding 30+ years and it's always been downhill bikers yield to uphill bikers. Unless the trail is marked as directional. In that case the rider going in the signed direction has the right of way.

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/trail-advocacy/mountain-biking-basics-trail-etiquette/

If the trail is not signed at all entrances as directional it's a two way trail and you can't assume someone new to the trail network knows what direction the trail is usually ridden in. So there needs to be one universal set of right if way rules because the decision needs to be made to slow/stop very fast.

If the right of way rules are not universal than they are pretty much useless.

Sept. 7, 2019, 4:55 p.m.
Posts: 139
Joined: May 13, 2014

You yield to the uphill so long as they are earning it.

Sept. 7, 2019, 8:05 p.m.
Posts: 406
Joined: Jan. 2, 2018

Posted by: trumpstinyhands

^ Brackentrail isn't DH Primary. It's a multi-use / multi-directional trail that people so happen to like to 'shred' down. Craig's Connector will help get climbing traffic off the top half of the trail, but it's also increasing uphill traffic on the lower half as people now use the bottom section to access CC. Loads of Enduro-Lords go flying down the last bit straight into the path of hikers, dog walkers and also people riding / pushing up. There's going to be a big accident one day.....

Good to know. I came across half a dozen people riding down, none seemed very happy with the fact I was headed up it, so figured I'd gotten it wrong.

Sept. 7, 2019, 8:30 p.m.
Posts: 740
Joined: Aug. 14, 2003

Posted by: Vikb

I've been riding 30+ years and it's always been downhill bikers yield to uphill bikers. Unless the trail is marked as directional. In that case the rider going in the signed direction has the right of way.

https://www.singletracks.com/blog/trail-advocacy/mountain-biking-basics-trail-etiquette/

If the trail is not signed at all entrances as directional it's a two way trail and you can't assume someone new to the trail network knows what direction the trail is usually ridden in. So there needs to be one universal set of right if way rules because the decision needs to be made to slow/stop very fast.

If the right of way rules are not universal than they are pretty much useless.

Doesn't matter if you invented the MTB. That "rule" is not written anywhere in regulation, policy, or law that matters. It is a convention (as you note clearly, etiquette). It is also a convention that people do not ride up descent trails as mentioned before. If you want to take the position that these unwritten rules matter, you can't pick and choose which ones suit your fancy. Take them all or take none. It is also convention  that nobody with half a salad goes up a descent and expects people to dodge them. I will also note again that Section 57 applications (official documents that trump some random american website) usually include directional orientations. Leave of Absence for example, downhill primary. In a document. Registered with the government. 

Hardly any trails are currently signed for directions, and as mentioned that requires a significant investment in capital. 

So yeah, there is no "rule". There is common sense that some seem to choose to ignore. 

What we clearly need is an actual rule.

Sept. 7, 2019, 9:14 p.m.
Posts: 1242
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Posted by: cerealkilla_

So yeah, there is no "rule". There is common sense that some seem to choose to ignore. 

Common sense? Didn’t that go out with the compact disc.

Sept. 8, 2019, 9:47 a.m.
Posts: 1002
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: FLATCH

Posted by: cerealkilla_

So yeah, there is no "rule". There is common sense that some seem to choose to ignore. 

Common sense? Didn’t that go out with the compact disc.

For once I agree with you flatch. 

Let's be real, directional signs are not coming any time soon. Especially not at the top and bottom of every trail. I suppose we will just have to wait and see how mountain mopeders assimilate with mountain bikers. If people riding mountain mopeds act like douches riding up traditional descents and demanding right of way, mountain bikers may have to evict them from their trails. I hope people riding mountain mopeds have the good sense to respect the general etiquette that has developed over the past 30+ years.

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