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Apr 14, 2014

Runners and bikers sharing trails

Now I've only been trail running for the last couple years and even that was pretty rare.  Given I know that I'll be out on the trails for all of my long running this year except for races I'm already signed up for, I thought it would be a good discussion about the ever popular runners vs bikers discussion on the trails.

Let me first state that I've done both, and while I'm primarily a runner, I don't really have a side.  Actually there is no need to have sides but there is a need for everyone to just be courteous.  I've met many bikers and runners who are very nice and I think bikers get the bad rap most of the time.

The first thing that I see that is needed is that everyone should know the trail.  You don't need to be out there before to know it but most have trail maps that show direction.  For example, there are some trails that runners can go either direction and their are some trails where bikers are only allowed to go a certain direction.  Just following this can help reduce the friction between the two.
Part of Pontiac Lake showing how bikes must go
Second, while I know my fellow runners love running with music, the trail is not the place for it.  Let me repeat - THE TRAIL IS NOT THE PLACE FOR IT.  You cannot hear people whether they are bikers or runners coming up behind you so it makes it unsafe for everyone.  Leave them at home.  Besides, it's incredibly relaxing to be out in the woods listening to nature.

Don't take things personal.  If you are running on a trail in the opposite direction of bikers, that is the best case scenario because you can see them coming towards you.  If you are going the same direction, don't take it personal when people scream "on your left"  It's for your own safety and I appreciate a good shout so I can get out of the way.  Yes, bikers must yield to runners but for practical purposes(when coming down a hill, for example), it's more difficult to slow down or stop than for a runner to move off the trail.
Runners - when you run with your dog, I suggest a leash.  Not only is it a requirement but it also helps keep the dog safe from being hit by a biker.  I'm not anti-dog but if I'm out on the trail and you don't have your dog on a leash, it worries me.  In fact, this applies to anywhere I run.  I don't know what it will do and I know most of the dog owners would say nothing but how is someone that does not know you supposed to know that?

Of course, there are many other rules of the trails but just following these simple things will help everyone enjoy the trails together.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. My favorite trails in our area are maintained by the mountain bikers' association, so, even though there are some bad apples in the biking group, I'm always grateful for the trail crew's hard work

  2. Good advice! The trails in my neck of the woods aren't labeled with directions. On my go to trail, generally the bikers go in the clockstupid direction so I go in the clockwise direction. I'd rather see them. Even with no headphones they sneak up on me and scare the crap out of me! My husband is a mountain biker so we have lots of discussions over the runner versus the biker. It is also really handy to have a mountain biker in the house because he can cover more trail quickly and if I'm looking to improve on a particular skill, he will make a note of where he found that section of trail and plot out the GPS so I can find it on my own.

  3. Lots of the places I run people aren't alond dogs and bikes can't ride on... That said when on the trail with bikes it seems to be ok as we normally only share gravel roads.

  4. I train on trails where there are no bikers. No because I have anything against them, it is just my favorite place to train. I agree with everything you say especially the no music on the trails part. What's the point being out in nature and you can't even hear a bird sing?