General Guidelines for Mountain Biking
A little history behind Michigan's own mountain bike dilemmas. About ten years ago Michigan trails were in nearly lost to mountain bikers, the DNR was ready to ban mountain bikes on State lands. Thanks to the efforts of some determined cyclists, who formed the MMBA, we are still able to enjoy these spaces. Over the years the MMBA has grown in numbers, and proven to be an asset to both the DNR, and the biking community. Through their efforts many trails have remained accessible, and many new trails have been added.
Even with cycling organizations, there will always be the possibility of trail closings. But if we all do our part while on the trails, we will be able to enjoy the excitement of mountain biking for years. This is not only a Michigan problem, across America many miles of trails have been closed to mountain bikes. The usual suspect for trail closings is the irresponsible riding habits of a few riders. Please consider the consequences of your actions and do your part to keep the trails open. We suggest IMBA's (International Mountain Bike Association) guidelines for riding safety and etiquette. Remember The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies. As cyclist we should show support the IMBA, and MMBA and aid them in their continued efforts. If you would like more information on theses great organizations you can contact them at the following:
MMBA (Michigan Mountain Bike Association)
IMBA (International Mountain Bike
The following is a list of typical riding rules, ethics, and considerations from the IMBA.
General principles of
"Leave No Trace"
1. RIDE ON OPEN TRAILS ONLY Respect trail and road closures, avoid possible trespass on private land, obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling.
2. LEAVE NO TRACE Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Even on open (legal) trails, you should not ride under conditions where you will leave evidence of your passing, such as on certain soils after a rain. Practice low-impact cycling, this also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
3. CONTROL YOUR BICYCLE! Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.
4. ALWAYS YIELD TRAIL Make known your approach well in advance. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots.
5. NEVER SPOOK ANIMALS All 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. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.
6. PLAN AHEAD Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden or offense to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.