Trail Education/Etiquette


Being a trail user involves understanding how to be a responsible steward and a friend to everyone else who is out enjoying the trails also. The San Diego Mountain Biking Association would like you to help get the word out that the unauthorized building of trails is not the solution to the many challenges we have with trails in the San Diego area. Read more...

  • SHARE AND BE AWARE Trail Etiquette Video
SDMBA is proud to have partnered with the County of San Diego and other local trail groups in 2018 to produce a trail etiquette video 
Be an trail ambassador each time you hit the trail.  Be nice and Say HI!  

  • General Trail Etiquette for All Trail Users   
  • 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.


  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, "BE NICE, SAY HI"

      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 corner.

      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.


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.


  • Greet hikers early with a friendly "howdy" or "good morning."
  • SLOW DOWN to about the same speed as the hiker.
  • 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.
  • Expect the unexpected. People and animals can be unpredictable or easily spooked or startled by cyclists.


  • Announce your intention to pass with a friendly "Let me know when it's safe to pass."
  • 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.
  • Give uphill riders the right of way when you're going downhill. It's much harder to get started again on a climb.


  • Immediately slow down and stop at least 30 feet from the horse.
  • Greet the equestrian and the horse.  Speaking shows the horse that you are human and not a threat. 
  • Ask how or when to pass safely.  Offer to get off your bike. 
  • 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.

Let's work together to keep our trails safe and enjoyable for all.

See the Rules of the Trail from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) HERE

Guidance from