How to ride trails safely

So I went trail riding last weekend at a national forest with public trails open to all atv's and bikes. I felt I was going pretty fast and flowing well.

But as I crested a hill a quad was also coming up and there was nothing either of us could do, we both luckily veered to the our right so his rear tire only clipped my peg and swingarm. But my peg tore right through his tire so that sucked, my bike was unharmed except my chain was a little looser than normal and he had a spare tire back at his truck. We were both untouched but it was just a bit scary and after that I rode a lot more cautiously.

It was very hard to get a flow going and have fun zipping through the trails because I was nervous coming around every corner and hill as I should be.

So I'm just wondering what do you guys do to ride public trails like that at a fast pace safely? Or is it just stupid trying to ride fast on public trails and I'm just putting myself and others at risk?

Stay right, look ahead. If you can't see ahead, don't go fast. 

We have the same issue around here. I have learned to not go all that fast, and look as far ahead as I can. Also, some trails are more popular than others so I watch out closer on those than the more obscure ones. 

I try to never ride on ATV trails. If forced to go at a pace that doesn't danger you or other riders.


You may find the more difficult and challenging trails you can ride there wont be hardly anyone or no one on them. Especially ATV's.

I ride tight, steeper stuff where quads don't fit, or roll over respectively.

Try to ride one way trails as much as possible. Where I ride about half of the trails are one way.

I had a near miss with a side by side earlier this season, luckily I saw him in time. I was going up a hill, he was coming down. Coming down in a full four wheel locked out of control sideways slide. I ditched into the sage brush, figured any hidden rock or branch was safer than sharing the trail with that ass hat.


My rule of thumb is if the trail is wider than a single tack I ride it like I was driving a car, on the right hand side. If its a single track, I stop and listen for the sounds of other bikes, then proceed cautiously.


Also, mid-week riding can seriously cut down on the number of idiots on the trail.

Edited by dirtbikegirl

Thanks for the input guys I guess there's just no way to ride fast and safe on public trails like that. Makes sense about just treating it like a road then. I've only been there a few times now so next time I'll have to scout out the area and search for some single track!

Sorry double post and I can't delete it so I edited it to this

Edited by RedFries3

Make it a rule to yourself to ride no faster then you can stop in whatever distance you can see...even sigletracks can have someone going wrong way by mistake.

Make it a rule to yourself to ride no faster then you can stop in whatever distance you can see.

Cut in half because someone coming the opposite direction will need the other half to stop.

If you want to go real fast, go to the races. Also, a headlight makes a huge difference, even in the daytime. Much easier for people to see you coming.

Thanks for the input guys I guess there's just no way to ride fast and safe on public trails like that. 


Often there are places on trails where you can see enough to go fast. Often there are not. You are lucky that you learned that lesson without a hospital stay. 8 years later, I still can't go fast around blind corners, or over the crest of blind hills.

Ride in the middle of the night. :smirk:


One, there's very few people out there.  Two, if there are, you can see their headlight from a ways away.


It's the bears, deer, 'yotes, skunks, porcupines that I have issues with.



Sharing trails with quads & side by sides SUCKS!  Choose trails they can't get at or are not allowed on.  Its more fun riding anyway.

It doesn't matter how safe you are or how slow you go. There's always those clowns that rip around, don't care what or who is around blind corners or even up hills. I try to stay on tighter trails or 1 ways.

Are sport is dangerous, it can be prevented to some degree. I'd say that the dunes are the most scariest places to ride. Always seems like a head on collision is going to happen. Look before you leap and try to have spotters.

I try to ride only on technical single track . If and when I ride on connector roads I stay to my lane like a street bike on a highway. Nothing scares me more then fire roads.

Minimize the risks.  Don't haul ass around blind corners or up hills.  Other than that the only other thing you can do is choose not to ride.  BTW, I absolutely WILL NOT ride at night, so that idea is totally out.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now