The right away? bicycle or dirt bike, riding up trail or down?


Hi Everyone,


I saw a lady get furious at a guy on a dirt bike up on the Monarch Crest Trail this weekend.  The single track trail was crowded with both mountain bikers and dirt bikers.  I was actually mountain biking this time and I only budged a tid bit when crossing paths on my way down with dirt bikers coming up.  Going up is the right away normally, but I think this lady was correct...motorized vehicles must yield to non-motorized...correct?

geez...what ever happened to common sense.  If someone is coming up a steep trail uphill,  and I am going downhill, I am going to stop and let them pass since it is tougher for them to stop no matter what they are riding.  If its a horse, well, I will stop wherever I can do so safely so as not to spook them. If they are hiking and cant get out of the way, I will end up stopping or make sure I pass them slowly so they dont get showered with rocks and dust.


Was the furious mountain bike rider going in the opposite direction to the motorcycle riders or were they passing her while going uphill?


That said....i have no idea what the official rules are...seems to me we can all get along and figure it out.  I know when I pass other riders on tight trails, you figure it out by slowing down and pulling to the side.  You can tell when they have inexperienced riders that find it hard to move out of the trail and common sense dictates that older more experienced riders pull over where they can to let the others pass. And, lastly if you surprise each other around a corner and cant stop both riders should ditch to their right.

Just looked it up on the Colorado OHV trail etiquette....motorized should yield to non motorized.


These are not statutory....just recommended practices.....but I like my common sense rules better.  My guess is she was pissed because she wants the trail to herself and wants everyone to yield to her so she never has to stop but they do.....good luck with that on a busy trail.


If I were a mountain biker, I would stick with the trails that only allow hikers/bikers/horses....i see plenty that motorcycles and ATVs arent allowed on.

I agree with the common sense. If it's a steep hill, any rider going down should yield for rider going up, who needs momentum. Doesn't matter what the uphill rider is on, motorized or non.

I stay off single track on the weekends.  Too many other users and tree huggers.  I got stopped on the Rainbow Trail a few years ago and given a bunch of shit.  There's lots of other places to ride where you won't get bothered. 

Bottom line is you have to be as courteous as humanly possible to mtn bikes because thy have way more political power. Every time we piss them off we risk losing trails. If you ride monarch do it late in the day because most men bikers have to start early

I ride both and feel like even though mtb have the right of way the person coming uphill should always have the trail. Give em a chance to ride it for gosh sakes. That being said if I'm climbing a 'hill' and not a HILL on the MX I give way whenever I can. I like the riding late comment and all the be smart comments. Draw as little attention as you can. Be that guy that everyone likes on the trail whether mtb or mx. The trails are for all of us.

Ironically, I was riding the Monarch Crest trail back in 2001 on a MTB and came across a dual sport rider. At first I was put out, but then thought how much fun that would be. He was very polite and accommodating. Now I go up to Colorado 2-3 times a year and ride my tail off on my DRZ 400. But I try and be as low impact as possible for reasons stated above.

Jmill14 I think took the cake on this one.  To answer some questions...this lady was definitely upset because she got scared.  A couple of the dirt bikers couldn't even signal to me as I signaled to them so the narrow trail had to be a bit difficult and they were probably scared too.  I am convinced now that common sense rules the situation and not just the rules of the road.  Just because someone is on a dirt bike it doesn't mean that it will be easy to stop on a hill and start going again.  Not too mention this was a side hill too...getting turned around to regain momentum via a second try would not happen.  You would end up walking your dirt bike up the rest of the way while on the throttle.  And yes...not the awesome mountain bike ride that I expected...too rough...let's leave that awesomeness to the throttle junkies :)

... If its a horse, well, I will stop wherever I can do so safely so as not to spook them...

Heh. Yeah, horses are weird. I've actually had to get off my mountain bike and HIDE it so a group of horses could go by without going ape sh**. I can't imagine what would happen if I crossed paths with horses while riding my scooter.


And on another note: I'm amazed at how much wildlife I've seen while riding my motorcycle. They are amazingly uninhibited by the machine.

Edited by Filipe

The majority of trails by a HUGE margin are non motorized, common sense says pick one of those if you don't want motorized encounters. 

I've read that parts of the Monarch Crest Trail were ORIGINALLY motor trails. They linked the other trails to them because they were too lazy/cheap/rushed to cut new non-motorized trails to connect.

I ride MTB also so I typically try to make way for them when I'm on me scoot, if it spa tough uphill I'll try to scout it from the bottom before I hit it, I have been in many situations such as out in rabbit valley where MTB'ers moved over for me, some just don't even try to share the trail and in those cases neither do it, if they want to play like A-holes I will too. I always say thank you when appropriate and try to be as friendly as possible, most experienced MTB folks know we are all being targeted.

Edited by obgod3

Usually I find the mtb move off the trail. I know they don't have to, but they can hear us coming so they move. If I meet them at a point where they are climbing I will usually move so they don't have to stop. Also on trails that I know have lots of mtb traffic down hill, I go slow up hill to try and avoid a head on.

I one asked my pet sitter (she rides horses) about meeting a mtb vs a dirt bike. She says the mtb is worse since they go fast and make no noise. Scares the horses. The horses don't like the sound of the motorcycle, but they know the bike is coming so they don't get as spooked.

I've read that parts of the Monarch Crest Trail were ORIGINALLY motor trails. They linked the other trails to them because they were too lazy/cheap/rushed to cut new non-motorized trails to connect.


Filipe....just about every MTN trail was motorized long before mountain bikes.    We were riding Pearl Pass, Taylor Pass, Italian Creek, Tincup, and all the adjacent etc. long before mountain bikes were even claimed to be invented in Crested Butte for the ride between CB and Aspen via Pearl Pass (some claim they were invented in Northern CA for riding the coastal ranges) .  And of course, most of the roads and trails were initially established by native americans, miners, settlers on horses and wagons before we ever came along on motorcycles and 4 wheel drive vehicles.

....just about every MTN trail was motorized long before mountain bikes... ...And of course, most of the roads and trails were initially established by native americans, miners, settlers on horses and wagons before we ever came along on motorcycles and 4 wheel drive vehicles.

This makes me feel a little better about going up to Colorado and blasting around on my scooter.

Ya know, one of the things that fascinates me about riding in Colorado is realizing how long ago those trails and buildings and mines were engineered, and how rough those guys had it. Makes me real grateful for my cushy lifestyle.

Common sense should dictate what should happen but, moto is suppozed to yield to all non moto, so if we get a stubborn non-moto, we gotta yield.

In 4x4 and other off road activities, donwhill should yield to uphill. Imagine making an uphill jeep back down a steep slope with dropoffs! Downhill can often see uphill coming and take action in advance of coming nose to nose. Uphill often cant see downhill coming.

The situation described in this thread sounds like an unfortunate thing that happens sometimes when more than one person is on a trail. Unfortunately, I'm going to guess the lady has told everyone who will listen how terrible it was and so its another strike against us.

Irrespective of 'rules' I agree with SilvFx. If I'm walking, riding mtn bike, whatever, if I hear someone coming up and its obviously challenging I'll give em room and encourage their efforts.

When horses are around ya gotta stop amd turn off motor and seek direction from their riders. I have noticed they are more spooked by bicycles. Now we know why....too quiet! Must be same reason game just stands there when we come by on moto. How do we educate hunters on this fact?

When passing people on horses, I've found that in addition to killing your engine and walking your bike past them (or letting them pass you), taking your helmet off really helps to calm them. When the horse can see that you are a human, it seems to calm them. The fact that you made the extra effort goes lengths with the rider, also.

Generally I've found that no matter where you are, no matter what you're doing, least maneuverable traffic has right of way. No matter what vehicle I'm in offroad, I generally stop when I meet someone head-on, until one of us figures out how to move.


If someone's rubbing shoulders with trees on both sides, and you have a nice spot to back into, they have right of way. For hikers/bicyclists, I always make sure I'm on my A-game for courtesy because they complain the loudest.

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