Thanks to the Redlands Conservancy for sharing
some great trail tips and practices!
Trails are for all!
Redlands has about 20 miles of public trails, urban and rural, all open to the public. The Crafton Hills has many miles of trails, too, all of which are shared by hikers, runners, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Trail sharing can be tricky, since mountain bikers can add an element of speed that is not compatible with the slower hikers and horses.
The Redlands Conservancy, which manages the City of Redlands’ public trails, knows that trail-sharing can work well with users observing basic trail etiquette.
Working with bicycle commuter Jonathan Baty and bicyclist advocate Mark Friis, the Conservancy works to educate the public that wants to use Redlands trails to make sure everyone has a safe and fabulous experience.
Baty has several suggestions about safe use of Redlands’ trails.
All users should be aware of the “sharing triangle,” posted on trail signs universally, which direct mountain bikers to yield to both hikers and equestrians, and hikers to yield to equestrians. “Horse folks focus on staying on top of their animal,” he wrote in an email. Horses, being prey animals, are constantly suspicious of everything as a possible predator, and will turn on the “flight mode” if they feel threatened. Hence, for everyone’s safety, they have priority on the trail, according to the protocol.
Having priority on the trail, however, is no excuse for equestrians to be cavalier about their “rights.” Their responsibility is to keep the horse from getting into a sticky situation, and they should always ride defensively. They should call ahead to hikers, especially those wearing packs that are higher than the hiker’s head, to stop and talk so the horse can tell it’s really a human. Calling ahead around blind corners to on-coming hikers and bicyclists is another safe practice, so they can know they are there. Everyone should always express gratitude for courteous behavior. It makes everyone feel better.
Hikers are getting the best possible workout, Baty says, and they are the most agile of the three user types. While mountain bikers should stop and let the hiker pass first, they will be “totally stoked” if the hiker is willing to make space for the biker to pass without dismounting, especially if the bikers are on a climb so they don’t lose momentum.
Mountain bikers can be a big help to all users since they can ride quickly for help if someone is in trouble. “If you need help, a mountain biker can ride down for help in about a tenth of the time it takes to hike out, so remember MTB riders can help in an emergency,” Baty wrote.
Sharing his advice for mountain bikers, Baty says, “Riding on city trails is not a race – you don’t need a STRAVA KOM on a short heavily used singletrack trail section in town. It’s just not worth the risk of injury to other trail users to work yourself up in a knot trying to race time. Save race training for the longer trails with good sight lines.”
He suggests bikers use trail bells on their bikes. “May cities like Santa Barbara have developed trail bells for mountain bikers to use when descending heavily used trails so that other folks can here you coming,” he wrote. “It is a friendly sound and definitely reduces the ‘surprise’ factor of overtaking a trail user silently.”
Baty also recommends getting out early on the trails. “Timing is actually a good way to reduce potential conflict. Getting out there in the heat of the day gives the bicyclist an extra workout and reduces the chances you will run into hikers on the trail.”
“Announce that you are ‘passing on the left’ so that other trail users know when you are going to overtake them,” he says. “Pleasantry is always a great way to share the trail. We all ‘own’ the trails and must share them in order to maximize their benefit to all of us.”
Redlands’ public trails, from the half-mile-long urban The Terrace to the 4.5-mile long Carriage Trail and Cocomaricopa Trail loop in San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary, the trails offer a huge attraction for employers looking for a new town to bring their business to and they provide Redlanders and visitors with a fabulous way to do healthful, family-oriented activities. Sharing the trails makes sense for Redlands, according to the Redlands Conservancy.