Trail Etiquette- Hand Signals


Bryan Bosch

If you ride two way trails, please take the time to learn proper trail etiquette in terms of hand signals. When a responsible rider puts up two fingers, they're not flashing you the peace sign. :foul: They are communicating to you that there are two more riders coming behind them, so exercise caution! :prof:

For example, if you are riding in a group of three people, the leader should flash on-coming riders two fingers, the 2nd guy one finger (middle finger not advisable) and finally the last guy should flash a closed fist (no more riders in their group).

Another, less complicated approach is instead of trying to remember how many are behind you and having to hold that many fingers up, just point your thumb to the area behind you. Then, when the last rider in the group comes along, he can give the closed fist (no more in their group) to any on coming riders.

This solves a couple of issues; only the lead and sweep need to do anything, AND there is little room for error (lead just has to point his thumb, doesn't need to count....this is particularly useful if a few riders catch up to your group).

Nobody wants a head-on collision and hand signals are one of the ways to help minimize accidents. :thumbsup: If you're hard charging around blind corners on 2-ways trails or simply not paying attention, watch the video below. Life changing events can happen in seconds.

 

Do you have a different method that works? Hit us up in the comments section below!

>>>PLEASE SHARE THIS TOPIC ON SOCIAL MEDIA. IT'S OUR JOB TO TEACH THOSE THAT WE SHARE THE TRAILS WITH HOW TO DO IT RIGHT! <<<

 

 

Edited by Bryan Bosch

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we were at fourmile over memorial day weekend, the quads and side by sides killed me. every time we would signal them they would just wave like idiots. thanks for the post bryan.

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we were at fourmile over memorial day weekend, the quads and side by sides killed me. every time we would signal them they would just wave like idiots. thanks for the post bryan.

its always the quads and side by sides! it drives me crazy! The worst is sometimes you don't know if the wave is a wave or if you're being told theres five more coming. 

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I really like the suggestion of using a thumb to indicate riders behind you. I was leading a group of 8 this summer over a 120 mile Piute trail ride and it was very difficult to indicate that many riders. I also caught myself showing the wrong number of fingers several times when we mixed up the order every now and then. I would like to see an entire series on trail etiquette on here. I haven't searched around for anything like that yet, but it has been on my mind. Topics such as who has the right of way, passing, and even techniques for keeping a large group together would be a big benefit for me and most of the people I have ridden with or encountered on the trails. Thanks for the write-up.

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we were at fourmile over memorial day weekend, the quads and side by sides killed me. every time we would signal them they would just wave like idiots. thanks for the post bryan.

Maybe you should try flagging them to stop with an open palm, then explaining what the signals mean to them (if they bother to stop). Education is a powerful thing.

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Can I be the voice of dissent? One of the things I like about riding unfamiliar trails is not knowing what's coming around the next turn... the unknown and unknowable.  You get to exercise creativity and test your reflexes and bike handling skills. You can push the edge and find excitement at both succeeding or failing. The guy telling me that there's 2 more riders takes away part of my experience.  now I'm supposed to ride cautiously until I pass those 2 others? If the group is spread out I might be riding cautiously when I didn't need to be. I would rather not know, and be prepared for anything. I remember first seeing this on mountain bike trails and feeling quite bummed out by the whole thing. Like it ruined the surprise. I'm not going to wave at you on your Harley or your YZ, and don't wave at me unless there's a samsquanche on the trail.

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Good article man. I had been out of riding for a while and had no clue what the hell these guys on the trails were telling me at first. The first time I noticed I thought the guy was telling me I was going the wrong way or something. I soon caught on and return the favor now. Anyone whose riddin Carnegie in NorCal knows about those wide open to hairpin turns where these signals are critical.

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PorkyPig- you are an idiot. I seriously doubt your are riding fast technical 2 way trails that way or you wouldn't have that view. I know guys who have broken ankles, wrists and hands in head on's. I have clipped people a couple times hard and once had a foot peg go through my pipe. That's the danger of being the lead rider. If you have the advantage of some hand signals to add to your groups safety, you must do it....wait, you must be a quad rider. Now it makes sense.

I like the thumb thing. I'm always throwing up random numbers cuz I can't remember.

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You know the first word out of Porky-Pig will be "duuuuude" after he hits or runs you off the trail.

This is the surfer/skater/snowboarder mentality, of "my wave, etc".

You can ride however you like. But don't be surprised of a big time beat down if you run into me because you think the rest of us are moving pylons for your amusement.

Also it's called common courtesy. Sorry to harsh your buzz.

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I really like the suggestion of using a thumb to indicate riders behind you. I was leading a group of 8 this summer over a 120 mile Piute trail ride and it was very difficult to indicate that many riders. I also caught myself showing the wrong number of fingers several times when we mixed up the order every now and then. I would like to see an entire series on trail etiquette on here. I haven't searched around for anything like that yet, but it has been on my mind. Topics such as who has the right of way, passing, and even techniques for keeping a large group together would be a big benefit for me and most of the people I have ridden with or encountered on the trails. Thanks for the write-up.

Hey bigbird, along the same lines as the thumb over shoulder.. We flash an open hand meaning 5 + riders behind, until we get down to 4,3,2,1, closed fist.

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Or how about this: IF YOU'RE RIDING A TWO WAY TRAIL DON'T RIDE IT LIKE A ONE WAY RACETRACK!

So many people out there are SUCH a-holes these days, flying around blind corners at top speed, and then acting all surprised when they see you.

And just because somebody gives you a "no more riders" signal, does NOT mean to start riding as if there couldn't possibly be any more riders. Duh.

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And what if an unknown rider has come up behind behind the last rider in the group?

I suggest that you "excercise caution" at all times and not use hand signals that could confuse other riders.

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Yeah, it's all fine and good but about 90% of anyone you pass on the trail has no idea what you're signaling. BTDT for the past forty-plus years.

BigBear/Arrowhead is so bad I had 3 head-ons in one day. That was it...never again. And the GD kawds hog the trail and don't want you to pass their slow asses.

One of the best riding areas in the state has been completely ruined.

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Had a head-on collision a couple of weeks ago.  Nobody was out there except myself and one other guy's group of 3.  The odds of meeting head-on seemed astronomical...and yet SPLAT, this guy was trying to impress his friends with his ease of speed through the tight stuff and brush on a single track trail.  His friends were too far behind to notice, though.  I was flat on my back in a split second, the bike's front fender exploded and the front forks luckily only twisted in the triple clamps.  But I got all beat and bruised up.  Nothing happened to the other guy or his bike, but my day was pretty much over after only getting about three miles on the odometer.  He even practically admitted guilt by expressing his thoughts that nobody else was out there that day.  So I say, always take it easy.  Don't race on public trails, especially those that you can't see the trail ahead.

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its always the quads and side by sides! it drives me crazy! The worst is sometimes you don't know if the wave is a wave or if you're being told theres five more coming. Up

Was up at Silverwood lake / Miller Canyon / Pinnacles riding area and counted 17 side by side in a group going up what used to be black diamond single track. They simply dusted me and my partner out, without even a smile, as we were standing enjoying the view and a refreshing adult beverage.

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My riding rule of thumb on the trails is the same for street. Don't ride faster than your stopping distance in front of you. If you can't stop in the visible distance ahead of you, then you are going too fast. Should keep you safe in the populated areas.

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I might put a bull bar on the front of my bike, just in case porky pig comes the other way, It's a shame there are still retards like that riding around - He is a minority thank god, To all others, safe riding and have fun.

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We have a problem on Brown Mt.N.C. with 2 way traffic! the idiot's will not stay on their side. I hug my side, come around a corner and there's  a front wheel looking at me. Dangerous!

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So, the next time some flashes you these hand signals, please don't wave or give them a thumbs-up.  :bonk: Respond with the appropriate hand signals :thumbsup:

 

 I did not see what these are as not mentioned in post.

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 I did not see what these are as not mentioned in post.

I believe it would be the same set of hand signals, indicating how many riders immediately following.

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I would hate to meet porkypig on the trail. if you are on a one-way trail, go for the excitement of the unknown, otherwise exercise

reasonable safety & common courtesy.

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