Trail etiquette is absolutely key when it comes to riding e-bikes responsibly. While staying abreast of relevant laws on federal, state, and local levels is important, that’s not the only part of the puzzle. Here are a few trail etiquette tips to ensure you have a fun and safe time while riding.
1. Mind Traffic Signs
If there’s a place where the path crosses a road, be sure to look both ways before crossing. Keeping your ears open for the sound of motor traffic is also important as some turns or hills can obstruct the view of approaching vehicles. If you decide to bike around downtown instead of going on the trail, you’ll need to keep an eye out for traffic signs while following the relevant traffic laws. It’s also important to know how to signal your direction as a biker to fellow riders or vehicles behind you. You can ask the staff at EZ E-Bike Rentals for a crash course in these signals if you need a refresher
2. Pass Others on the Left
As you can tell, a lot of trail etiquette is borrowed from standard traffic regulations. This is especially true when passing fellow bikers on the trail. Whether someone has stopped on the trail or you’re moving at a faster speed, you should pass on the left-hand side of the path when possible. Be sure to vocalize your approach to bikers ahead of you, signaling your intention to pass. A quick “Hey, coming up on your left” can mean the difference between a terrible accident and an enjoyable day of e-bike riding for everyone.
Throwing in a bell ring, if you have one, is another great way to signal your passing. Keep an eye out for oncoming bikers too when you pass as many biking trails go in both directions. Additionally, you’ll need to listen for bikers who want to pass you as well. If you hear a ringing bell or someone shouting behind you, it’s a good idea to move over slightly to the right if possible to allow for safe passing.
3. Stop Off the Trail
One of the biggest faux pas of biking is stopping in the middle of the trail. Not only is this frustrating to other bikers who would like to continue riding unimpeded, but it’s also very dangerous for both the riders who are stopped and the ones riding on the trail. This threat is even greater when the trail takes tight turns or goes up and down hills, limiting the amount of time a rider has to react to obstacles.
Whether you need to take a breather, grab a snack, or get a drink of water, it’s trail etiquette to stop somewhere off of the trail so as to not put others and yourself in danger. If you’re not able to find anywhere to stop immediately when you want to, consider riding along until you find some space. While this is a critical step when riding alone, it’s even more important to do when riding in groups as more people stopping can cause more problems.
4. Leave nothing but tire tracks (and footprints).
Trail etiquette isn’t just about how you interact with others on the trail. It also covers how you interact with the trail itself. Whether you’re riding in the middle of the city, on a paved trail in a park, or through a dirt path in the forest, it’s important to leave the trail as you found it. That means picking up any trash that might have fallen on the ground and not taking anything as a souvenir. The only things you should be leaving behind are tire tracks; the only things you should be taking are pictures.
Everybody hates seeing beautiful trails fill up with trash. Not only is it an eyesore of the worst kind, but it’s also harmful to the surrounding habitat and bikers themselves. Plastic bags, straws, and other common pieces of trash can end up harming local wildlife. Even larger pieces of trash can pose a hazard to bikers by getting stuck in their wheels. Keep an eye out for trash cans along the path to dispose of anything you produce while riding. If you need to, taking a recyclable bag with you makes it easy to handle any loose pieces of trash when trash cans aren’t available.
If you’re interested in renting an e-bike in the Indianapolis area, reach out to EZ-E Bike Rentals today.