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Pinkbike Poll: Who Has the Right of Way - the Climber or the Descender?

Jan 15, 2016
by Richard Cunningham  
Amazing riding in the Rosengarten Dolomites.
Alpine Pic photo


Believe it or not, in the sport's early days, there actually was a well obeyed code of conduct that dictated that the climbing cyclist had the right of way, and that the downhill rider should pull off and he or she pass. The logic was that it took a lot more effort to maintain pace and traction while climbing, and it was a nod to the fact that restarting, especially on a steep, technical climb, is art and an effort unto itself. The gravity powered descender, on the other hand, was not going to lose anything but flow.

Presently, however, that courtesy seems to have been reversed, and most descending riders behave in a manner that suggests, sometimes demands, that climbing riders defer as quickly as possible - presumably, because the attributes of flow and momentum are deemed to take precedence over the common labors of climbing. The practice also seems to have been extended to non-cycling trail users as well, because most hikers respond quickly (as if they have been well trained) to jump off the trail with a smile and accept a quick "thank you" and "three more behind me" as their rewards from the descending mountain bikers who approach and pass them.

Ibis Mojo HD3 review test Photo by Paris Gore
Paris Gore photo


Granted, there are many zones where mountain bike use is widely accepted as the primary form of recreation and some trails in those areas are clearly designated (or at least widely understood) to be downhill-only or climbing-only trails, we are not discussing those here. In this Pinkbike poll, we assume that you are either climbing or descending a two-way trail and each of you are equally enjoying the experience. The trail may be designated for public multi-use, or it may be a cycling-specific trail, either way, the two parties meet - Mister and Misses up and Mister and Misses down - so, who has the right of way?





Who has the right-of-way on a two-way trail, the climbing rider or the descending rider?





Author Info:
RichardCunningham avatar

Member since Mar 23, 2011
974 articles

361 Comments
  • 565 13
 I always pull over first if I'm climbing. Good excuse for a break.
  • 21 3
 so true...
  • 209 26
 I was convinced that climbers always had to pull over first.
Who can stop faster? Is much harder for a downhiller to stop or get out of the way than for a climber.
  • 66 6
 I put my vote on decide when you get there but to be honest I don't agree with the available answers. I think it depends on the section of trail. If you are a good climber and you are going through a tough section that you don't want to dismount on then Id say the climber. When I climb, which is a lot because I have no other way to get to my trail and the extra exercise doesn't hurt, I see each tough section as an achievement that gets me closer to the top. I see it in the way that you need to work hard to get to the top and the way down is more of the reward. Another point would be that the descender probably already did the climb and I wouldn't want to reck his fun, although you can always go another round Wink .
  • 32 30
 I agree 100% Also, what's the fun in descending a steep section if you have to stop? In my opinion the work should be left to the climbers, and th
  • 41 21
 ..........and the fun should be left to the decenders. Who wants to make descents less fun, and make climbing "fun"?
  • 113 18
 There's nothing more annoying than somebody interrupting the flow on a good downhill section. Let's face it we only ride up to go back down. For that reason I would always pull over when climbing and give priority to the downhill rider.
  • 119 16
 The descender has earned his descend, what are we to ruin his fun.
  • 37 114
flag chaosoner (Jan 15, 2016 at 2:27) (Below Threshold)
 If you don't pull over climbing, it just makes you a cunt and ruining the decender's stava time. its common sense one is going 4ks the other 30ks get the fuck out the way!!!
  • 28 2
 If I'm climbing a trail that others come down I keep my eyes peeled and listen even though I may be struggling. Usually easier to hear someone blasting down and get out of the way. When your coming down you can't hear much but you may just be looking further down the trail and see climbers. Although...once I decided to bust it up a hard section I've never been able to make and almost flew right into someone airborne jumping down the same section. Still had a split second to hop off stumble backwards and lay down on the bank as he cleared me. Both of us felt we were in the wrong. Being constantly aware of the possibility of oncoming traffic can save your ass.
  • 39 19
 Surely the logical answer would be the descender has the right of way, as he is the one likely to be going for the Strava KOM Smile
  • 38 2
 All the more reason to slow him down @SteelCityMTBer, he might be about to steal your KOM!
  • 12 8
 Yep it's not a race to the top and we all love a good fast un-interupted dh run.
  • 12 7
 I always scream watch ouuuuut if someone's ahead,so I think that I have a right
  • 42 2
 I play chicken
  • 24 13
 KOMs on climbs are worth more
  • 8 2
 There are strava KOMs for climbs too..... The riders are equally likely to be going for one. The right of way depends where you are on the trail. If you meet near the top of climb/descent the descender can wait. If you meet near the bottom of a climb/descent the descender is going 30+km/h and the climber can get out of the way so he doesn't get hurt. If in the middle of the climb, use your best judgement.
  • 136 2
 Depends.. does the descender have Avids? If yes, then let the man go...
  • 17 6
 The descender is having WAY more fun....Pull over for em'
  • 16 1
 Does the descender have Avids - haha! Or V-brakes....
  • 112 42
 The climber always has the right of way. I'm finding it strange so many people have difficulty with this subject but I wonder how many saying the descender has the right of way even peddle up in the first place? If you want to hammer down runs uninterrupted, then hammer down DIRECTIONAL trails. You're not that bright if you expect everyone to get outta your way because you want good flow on a multi-directional trail. Its a shitton easier to get back up to pace going downhill than it is going up.
  • 15 1
 I try to be courteous to all riders. Exception is the ones with ear buds and wrong way riders. I like to play a game called chicken with these fools.
  • 16 0
 I'm typically pretty courteous on the trail. I tend to eye up the situation and as said before if the climb is a technical climb and stopping means a hard or impossible restart then I hold up and cheer on the climber. give them a fist in the air a good old fashion YEW! and continue to have a blast. Its not hurting me any to hold up a little. On the flip side If I am heading up a flowy section that I know is a blast and it really doesn't hurt be to once again hold up and let the rider pumping through a section of bumps and berms keep on their rhythm ....again fist in the air and YEW! Its not hurting me to hold up... I always appreciate a break either way. I find that seems to be the case with a lot of riders around here. We all know how certain sections can either be a total bitch or an all out blast and it seems to be reciprocated fairly well....
  • 8 0
 Fortunately, pretty much all the trails here in Detroit metro area of Michigan are one way only. Hikers on the other hand.... Still, they usually quickly get over, my intent is always to stop but they almost always move out of the way before I get to them. At that point, I say thanks, enjoy your day, and move on so they can continue.
  • 24 1
 Regardless of the situation I always pull out.
  • 31 3
 @scott-townes I was never told of these "rules" when I started out and simply did what seemed natural when on the trails in my area. As a climber, I can hear the descenders coming long before they see me around the bend, and I'm already pulling off the side of the trail. Additionally, it's much faster for me to pull over for 10 seconds for a group of 5 descending than me to slog through a group of 5 pulling over for me to huff and puff up between them. Where I learned to mountain bike there were no directional trails so any issues of being "not that bright" was not involved in the decision. The whole point of me climbing up these hills is so I can have fun going back down them! Might as well make it as fun as possible to go down for everyone! In my opinion that means not killing the flow for every descender. Considering it takes literally two pumps of the pedal to get back up to pace climbing I think that is a reasonable compromise. I'm with you @sterlingmagnum I think It's definitely situation dependent but I find myself much happier to yield while I'm climbing than when I'm descending.
  • 12 1
 wonder how many established maintained trails all have signage stating direction
where's the option choice of "the user with their headphones on loud has no rights"
  • 5 4
 I'd rather have vbrakes than avids on a descent.
  • 8 1
 Yeah if it's a tech climb section stop and watch. If the descender is pinned... clear the track!
  • 4 0
 well said fullbug...
  • 4 1
 i was actually in a situation recently ripping "down" some steep switchbacks and there were a handful of climbers right around one of the bends that i never even (couldn't have) seen, luckily they must have heard me coming because they were 'just' getting out of the way as i came around. Id agree that whatever the "rule" is, though it may be tougher for climbers to get going again, it will often be more difficult for descenders to stop or react.
  • 28 11
 Any time somebody like the IMBA sets rules for this, it gives XC people a self righteous chip on their shoulder .
For example, I was once coming down a ten mile lift serviced trail in Sun Valley ID, and I stopped and yielded for the two up hillers ----and the one stops and proceeds to tell me-
"I need to get off the trail completely when people are coming up hill".
- I immediately told him to F*ck off and that he was lucky I stopped at all. That guy took one look at me and knew he was f*cking with the wrong guy and said nothing else and rode on.
Common sense is the only trail rule where I come from
  • 15 0
 common sense? they don't make that anymore
  • 7 0
 I use my best judgement on the current situation. I'm not big on climbing so I always pull over for a descending rider, it never bothers me.
When descending if someone steps off the trail or gives me some sort of acknowledgement I will continue and thank them as I go by and let them aware of any riders behind me.
If they don't acknowledge me and make a effort to step off the trail or they have a dog / kids or are elderly I always slow down to make a safe pass, whatever it takes.
Most people are pretty chill and enjoy seeing someone fly down something steep and rugged, they like the show. A much smaller amount are angered by it (at least in my area). I avoid being rude whenever possible and things seem to work out well.
  • 7 2
 I have already done the hard yards (i.e. did the climbing), let me enjoy what i worked for....you will get your chance..
  • 16 22
flag whatyousaid (Jan 15, 2016 at 9:32) (Below Threshold)
 If I'm climbing on(xc/ all mountain types of trail networks) don't expect me to stop and pull over if your descending....climbers have right-of-way.(period)

If your pushing or by some means going up a DH trail (which should only be a directional trail anyways) you need to keep your head up and get out of the way for downhill traffic.
  • 49 1
 One time I was climbing a two way trail. This guy came barreling down practically out of control with full pads and a full face helmet. I had nowhere to move, I could only stand there and take the hit. His crash suit smacked into my shoulder and his bike hit my handlebars. This f*cked up his center of gravity and sent him tumbling off a ledge falling through bushes down the mountain to the side of the trail. When he stopped, he was about 25 meters below the trail. He hiked back up, apologized, and went on his merry way. I was calm about it. Especially since I wasn't the one sent flying. When I got home and took off my jersey, a section of skin the size of a quarter was missing from my shoulder and there was a pretty big bruise.

My perspective is that if it's a two way trail, the downhill rider has the obligation to stay in control, and should be able to stop if need be. Many people that I run into on the trail seem like they are trying to get a PR on starva or something, and can't be bothered to slow down. Seriously, f*ck those guys. They are the ones that cause us to get banned from riding certain trails and make hikers and equestrians pissed off. I voted that the climbing rider has the right to keep riding for that reason.

That being said, if it's a one way down trail. F*cking shred like there is no tomorrow! There are so many trails like that being build. And, I have worked on them and installed "do not enter / one way down" signs so that riders and hikers can ride hard and stay safe.
  • 21 1
 going up, or coming down, if the guy i run into has 26" wheels, im getting outta' the way. he obviously knows how to have fun.
  • 27 2
 Honestly who cares, just go have fun on your bike and get sent. If slowing down for 2 seconds for a fellow mountain biker ruins your ride, you're doing it wrong.
  • 6 2
 I pride myself on earning my Downs with 190,000' of climbing last year and hopefully break the 200k mark this year and I ALWAYS yield to the guy coming down. I'll admit it, I go for climbing KOMS but I know how much I like an uninterrupted flow on the downs so I try not to screw it up for anyone else either... that being said, more of our local most popular riding areas are starting to make alot of trails one way just because of that kindof thing... Case in point... Kingdom trails vermont.
  • 3 3
 It's actually pretty well marked around here.

Can't agree more with @scott-townes
  • 7 0
 I think it's got to be flexible since it's totally situation and trail dependent, and you have no control over what the other rider will choose to do. It should be: whoever sees the other rider first should react and pull over. If both pull over, then you just let the other guy go first. I always try to follow this, and pull over first if I see any other user (hikers too) on the trail? If the other guy beats me to it. I say thanks very politely, and continue on.

For horses, different rules- bike riders should always pull over, and off the trail on the downhill side since the animal is unpredictable. You can control your reaction, the horse rider might not be able to control the reaction of their horse. I don't like to see horses climbing a steep, commonly descending bike trail, and I will sometimes try and politely explain that they should maybe try some different trails instead so they or others don't get hurt.

Never had an issue my whole life following all this. Other users have been very pleasant because I dictated a polite exchange thru my initial actions.
  • 5 0
 i sure have earnt my descent...by sitting in a van with a bunch of lads & smelling nothing but farts & feet on the uplift haha
  • 4 17
flag gonecoastal (Jan 15, 2016 at 14:15) (Below Threshold)
 If you're descending on a trail that someone is climbing, you're a Kook!

Do you also play in the kiddie pool post-ride? Sip Mike's Hard Lemonade?
  • 4 3
 @nvonf If you're unaware of the rules, that's completely understandable. I can't keep track of how many people who don't look like avid riders and don't yield on the way down at PCMR but its nothing to scoff at. Usually they get off the trail with a terrified look on their face not expecting someone on the way up, haha. I love hearing so many people who do a case-by-case basis of whether to yield for the DH ripper depending on the section of trail. The DH rider is usually surprised and stoked by that and its kinda tight to see someone that happy at something unexpected. This awesome old guy wearing a tie-die shirt pulled over and let me rip down Pinecone at pace and although I pulled over for a few uphill riders, that one instance made the ride pretty awesome.
  • 6 2
 I learned the climber has the right-of-way and I use this most of the time. But I think it's always a good call for BOTH riders to ease up and move over a bit. Nobody stops, nobody bitches, it's all good. Most trails are wide enough for this to happen most of the time. Give em a "heybro!" and keep rolling. I don't really care if I am climbing or descending, I don't want to hurt anyone out there and no "rule of thumb" justifies anyone riding like a dick, nor will it save you getting your ass kicked if you hit someone who has a differing opinion. I think the large majority of riders out there agree with this, we have to watch out for each other and be cool.

Oh, and I started riding with a bear bell on my bike. I find more people get out of my way up AND down, and they are usually happy about it! Rad.
  • 5 3
 Always grew up thinking the climber had right of way and thinking that was kind of silly. Wouldn't mind a change of etiquette to the opposite...
  • 4 3
 Your going the wrong way you spandex stunad.
  • 7 0
 If theres a collision the dh rider will eat tons more shit. So whatever, itll sort itself out.
  • 8 3
 if there is a collision, 100% of the time it will be the dh guy's fault. (on a 2 way trail) if you cant stop in time, you are going too fast. i never go past 80% of wide open throttle when there might be a chance of someone coming the other direction.
  • 4 2
 I like to see the stormtrooper looking dh guy fully padded out coming down full speed at the spandex climber. That stuff right there is what brings up all these bitches and gripes. Yet we still love to watch it when it is not you.
  • 1 1
 @steezysam I grew up thinking the same. If it's a technical climb then I pull off because you want the other guy to clean it if he can. Otherwise, it doesn't make much sense to pull over if your descending in most of the trails I ride. First of all, you can't see that far ahead in many cases, but the climbers can hear you coming.
  • 3 0
 I'm all for being polite all around. But, I think what some people forget is that in a technical climb, the rider going up is moving at a fraction of the speed of a downhill rider. Sometimes with almost no momentum. Which means they can't move quickly. Not forward, not to the side. If the descending rider is in control, it's a lot easier for them to maneuver.

There's a lot of good cases listed here for evaluating it on a case by case basis. And, if you are aware of the other rider first and choose to be polite, more power to you. But, descending needs to be done with a certain amount of safety in mind. Or... you end up like these guys:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFoftAxuzOg
  • 1 1
 If you are pushing your bike up a steep grade than get out of the way and let the other rider do as he pleases.
  • 5 1
 Option 5: If an E-Bike is climbing up (or down), proceed to disrupt their ride as much as possible. Don't forget to read them the riot act on how lame they are before you continue riding your Enduro bike like the f*cking legend you are! Ride on brothers and sisters!
  • 2 0
 E-bikes. Ug, I just puked in my mouth...
  • 2 0
 Everyone has the right away around e-bikes
  • 2 0
 "Right of way"
  • 3 0
 The idea behind descenders yielding to climbers on multi-directional trails is that the higher speed user (the descender) should always have enough control of the bike to avoid a collision. Can you imagine a multi-use trail where moto's didn't slow down for bikes? Those would be some seriously dangerous crashes.
  • 166 9
 Has it really got so busy on the trails that we need rules to pass each other as quickly as possible? It´s a sad day when two mountain bikers meeting on a mountain don´t stop, check out each others bikes and maybe share some trail information with each other. This is how I´ve made most of my friends and found a lot of "secret" trails. Seriously, turn off your Strava, stop and say hello.
  • 50 4
 Uhhhhhh, I've never ever stopped to say hello to anyone while going mach9. And I like saying hello to fellow riders.
  • 10 1
 well said!!
  • 25 0
 That's how it mainly happens out on the wild. A quick chat and a friendly 'have a good one', especially with the more 'relaxed' riders. Trail centre warriors though go mental if someone gets in their way!! We do need to reintroduce good manners to the community sometimes.
  • 65 2
 Hi Adele, didn't know you bike.
  • 2 9
flag mikeypearman97 FL (Jan 15, 2016 at 4:20) (Below Threshold)
 Why does strava need to be turned off to stop and say hello? if you're shown a secret trail surely you'd want strava on so you can look back on your route later and remind yourself how to get there for future rides? And if it's because you don't want everyone seeing where the trail is, that's not really an issue because I only allow people to follow me that I would happily show the secret trail to when I next ride with them.
  • 3 0
 agreed! recently while cleaning up some logs on a trail I broke my bar fly garmin mount. I put it on auto pause and put it in my pocket ever since. Best thing that's happened to my riding in awhile!! Big Grin
  • 6 0
 @Mike, so you are saying when some one shows you a secret trail you record it on strata to show the world? I hope you are joking or that you can record in some private/ offline mode
  • 2 0
 A lot of strava users do that already because their ego outweighs discretion
  • 11 0
 The moment anyone feels that they have a "right" to the mountain over someone else, it all falls a part. Whether you're going up or down, check your ego and don't be a dick about it.
  • 1 0
 @chyu I didn't read two such witty comments (this and the one in the thread above) long ago
comments of the month
  • 3 0
 I put strava recently on my phone to try and do tracking for my own personal stuff....I haven't used it.... and I feel dirty.
  • 1 0
 @bigburd , there's an optional setting where people must request to follow you before they can see your rides. I only accept follow requests from my key riding buds that I'd show the 'secret trail' to on a ride anyway.
  • 2 0
 It's also pretty neat cos bike thieves can't see where your house is. I thought this was pretty well known tbh, sorry, I should have been clearer Smile
  • 3 0
 Hello, it's me I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet To shred over everything They say that time's supposed to heal ya But I ain't done much riding
  • 1 0
 @mikeypearman97 beware there's no such thing as privacy in Strava, every ride is downloadable even if you only allow friends to view them. You just need the activity number, and there are plenty of ways to retrieve them.
  • 1 0
 yes @justgivemeanavailableusername, you are right, my bad! Strava should definitely put some privacy settings in their app though.
  • 77 3
 Normally the climber would get the right of way BUT if its an established downhill single track you need to get out the way of the descenders. Surely its that simple for most?
  • 31 0
 @Travel66

I'd comment that if its an established downhill track no one has any business either climbing or pushing up that trail - its simply dangerous, especially to the descending rider

you see this a lot in the UK at places like Swinley Forest where riders often try to push their bikes up or alongside the trails like Babymaker creating a real hazard for riders coming down at speed. These ascenders should use other trails / fireroad to access the top of the downhill trail.
  • 4 0
 Agreed and if its that obvious it shouldn't even be a question...

I'm more addressing those few places which are 2 way because there's no other way up....in trail centres (inc Swinley) that problem doesn't really exist to begin with...
  • 65 0
 Nothin is simple on PB except for half the members.
  • 2 0
 LOL true!
  • 2 0
 @hampsteadbandit as soon as I read the start of this article I thought of exactly what you said, people pushing up the trail at swinley. Really selfish and no trail etiquette at all
  • 3 0
 @richierocket The most accurate PB comment I've read in a while!
  • 6 0
 Most of us PB readers get it. But this should be put out there for everyone else. "Rules" only work if it's an expectation from everyone. I honestly feel bad when I'm flying down the trail and some clueless hikers are ducking out of the way last minute because they don't know what to do. They're probably thinking that all mountain bikers are jackasses, when, in reality, only guys that ride 29ers are (jk!).
  • 19 0
 If the trail can be ridden/walked up, a descender should always SLOW DOWN anyway when passing someone. This is not a matter of who has the precedence, it is just a matter of safety. I have seen to many times idiots passing tourists with high speed on rocky narrow trails. Somehow they can't hear all those stones ejected from underneath their wheels or maybe the are unable to visualize a rock hitting someone's head ? In certain parts of Poland, where there are few dedicated bike trails and tourist traffic is heavy this happens all the time. I have seen far too many YT movies with guys passing children with high speed, because THEIR flow is much more important to them then the health of others.
  • 22 2
 This comment thread is spot on. However the problem is dumbass riders treating all trails with a little downhill they want to rip like "established downhill trails". And they don't want to disturb their flow to yield to uphill riders or hikers like they are supposed to. Which ends with us mountain bikers getting bad names.
  • 1 0
 Well put
  • 5 0
 At the local lift served resort by me which has numerous downhill only trails, there are more and more XC riders thinking that they can ride up those trails and ignore trail warnings. Which is a huge problem since riders are going fast and not expecting anybody to be coming up those trails. It's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt and ruins it for everyone. As they say, common sense isn't so common.
  • 1 0
 @digitalsoul, if its a lift served resort, management should be made aware of the climbers as most (if not all) lift served DH trails are down hill only unless specified.
  • 58 2
 Honestly, I pull over either way. If I'm climbing, it's a nice break. If I'm descending, it makes me a little frustrated, but in the end both riders are safe. I'm out there to have fun, not put somebody else's safety at risk.
  • 56 2
 I always yield to walkers, hikers, horses and feel that the climbing rider has right of way. HOWEVER, if I am climbing and see someone BOMBING down the trail having a blast, I will wave them through and just enjoy watching them nail it
  • 23 0
 THIS x100. Spot on. In the US at least, it's understand that uphill traffic has right of way. This goes back to the days of a horse and wagon, because if they stopped on a steep hill, they're not getting started back sometimes. But like you said, if I see someone bombing downhill I almost always yield to them. But if it's a douche nugget that acts like he has right of way and is going to run me over, we might play a friendly game of chicken.
  • 2 0
 Perfectly stated!
  • 53 4
 This is something we talk about on every PMBIA Instructor Course. It's always a healthy topic of conversation! Here's a couple of other points to consider. The old school "rule" of the climber having right of way, a) comes from a very different time in our sport and, b) is more of a CONVENIENCE rule, than a SAFETY rule.

As the article suggests, it can be difficult to get going on a climb and people didn't want to be interrupted. Combined with a more pedalling/climbing focus (along with arguably slower bikes and less technical terrain) in the sport during the early days, the rule had more to do about keeping people happy rather than any kind of genuine safety concerns. Unfortunately, this rule has been regurgitated by some over the years without any real thought as to whether it's actually relevant anymore.

On that other hand, who can stop more easily and quickly?
Who can pull off the trail more easily?
Who can listen for and hear approaching riders more easily?

The answer is usually the climbing rider.

So in terms of SAFETY, it can make much more sense to suggest the descending rider has right of way. BUT! This rule should also be accompanied by another rule... you should always be able to control your bike and avoid any obstacles or riders in front of you. As such, generally speaking, if it's a two way trail that's not specifically marked or design as more of a "descending" trail, then it typically makes sense for descending riders to have right of way. Out of interest, this idea is nearly 100% unanimously agreed upon by every instructor and guide we train, whether it's in Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand or anywhere else we run courses.

We also usually end up concluding that as long as people are aware, and can control their bike at all times, then give way regardless of whether you're climbing or descending if it helps the other rider(s) and you can easily do so; especially if your group is bigger than the approaching party.
  • 21 0
 Absolutely agree ! It's still all about keeping everyone happy. Why else would we be out on our bikes ? A bit more respect towards other trail user, bikers, runners, dog walkers or hikers ... doesn't matter, should be shown.

My opinion is always , who's going to do the most damage in an accident should back off. If you're not riding in a bike park or on a dedicated downhill trail then you have to consider that there could be a moving object around every corner ... you better be able to stop before you hit it !

There are no "Rights" out there on the trail there is only mutual Respect and consideration.
  • 11 0
 I though it was a safety rule, expecting that descending riders ride in a manner such that they can stop within their line of sight. It might not be another rider around the corner. It could be a walker or a monster or donald trump or whatever.
  • 3 1
 Nice write up!
  • 19 3
 If it's Trump, I am letting go of the brakes.
  • 2 0
 Ooh Rah ! Great points, zeptechniques.
  • 8 0
 I know we're talking about climber/downhiller right of way, but I just want to highlight the "always be able to control your bike and avoid any obstacles or riders in front of you" point. Clearly, the carnage from one high speed climber blasting by another would be minimal, but whether it's climber vs downhiller or downhiller vs downhiller, just be in control of your bike (or skis/snowboard for that matter).

I'm an older, re-immersed, average shape, intermediate-plus (on good days) rider and the number of times I've seen one downhiller nearly obliterate another is startling. Especially in a place like Whistler; it's a great place to be anyway, but also a great place to experience a lot of trail and push your intermediate comfort zone. That means crazy advanced riders need to be aware. As was mentioned, don't be afraid to say hi and advise anyone at the trail head that a group of slower riders dropped into "x" about a minute ago or whatever. Nothing makes a noob or an intermediate hate their own sport more than some douche passing at warp speed without warning.

Of course, all the carnage is exponentially worse when it's climber vs downhiller. When I'm forced to climb, I usually pull over out of 1) self-preservation and 2) I'm usually gassed before the climb even starts so I need the break anyway.

For stats tracking, I voted "figure it out when it happens". @zeptechniques, nicely put. I'm hoping for another weekend or two in Whistler this summer so I think I'll consider a lesson or two.
  • 7 0
 Horses, hikers, climbers, descenders. That order is not for convenience, it is of maneuverability and control when operating safely.

If someone gallops a horse on a mixed use trail they are out of control and too fast for conditions, they don't have rights, they are endangering other trail users. Ditto for bombing downhill expecting trail to be clear, you are not in control and your victim will not be at fault.

Where I ride there are many steep narrow corners, often loose surface. When climbing I'm hypoxic and often mistake logs for pedestrians, fast descenders appear without warning. I am going up at 3-4mph and can stop very quickly but there is nowhere to pull off. Generally descenders understand there might be a hiker or climber around every corner and keep the speed down. When its my turn to come down I must take it easy on those same blind corners, there is no alternative I can see. Often when I see a climber i'll stop and heckle/encourage them because I know exactly what they are going through.

In an area with good visibility I've no problem encouraging descenders to bomb on by but ultimately we all need to be responsible for riding in control.
  • 2 1
 Mixed use trails require an approach similar to that you'd use in traffic. Clear rules on who yields to whom are not just a matter of convenience, but indeed one of safety. We could argue until we're blue in the face of whether climber or descender _should_ have right of way - but the important part is that there's a convention everyone can follow, so you don't have those last-second-barely-avoid-a-collision clusters. I will gladly pull over while climbing to let someone enjoy their flow (and I'll be sure to announce that loudly, so they don't miss it), but I'm clear that the convention is for the descender to yield, so that's what I'll do when descending. By default. Because that way, I can minimize the risk of stupid collisions. I'd be just as happy with the rule going the other way - but I do care about there being one, and about people knowing (and following) it. Fewer decisions to be made on the fly means more safety.
  • 3 0
 Mt bikers should be like Canadians; overly polite!
  • 40 0
 I'm old enough to remember the IMBA rules of the trail, and I'll give a climbing rider the right of way. However, if I'm climbing I'll generally pull over, as I'm not really fussed about cleaning a climb. On a downhill I'll often just ease up in the hopes the climber will pull over.
  • 4 0
 This is exactly how I approach it on the trail.
  • 2 0
 This is reasonable. Too bad most people aren't.
  • 27 1
 Common courtesy, please!!! Ride in control and be prepared to yield the trail no matter which way you are headed, then let the situation dictate who pulls over. It shouldn't be any harder than that. A sms and hello goes a long way too.
  • 30 4
 I will preface this by saying that I am prepared for the down votes. For all of you saying that the only reason we climb is to descend, the person descending is havin more fun, etc, realize that is you personally. As a roadie/xc rider I love the climbs! And i'm not saying that for attention. I'm saying it because there is in fact a demographic out there that loves the climbs. So please don't apply your views to all mountain bikers. We all love the same sport. But we enjoy different aspects of it.
  • 8 2
 You deserve +300 upvotes.
  • 3 13
flag AllMountin (Jan 15, 2016 at 17:27) (Below Threshold)
 Maybe just semantics, but I don't believe that climbing, generally speaking, can be 'fun'. Rewarding yes, but fun? Are you a masochist? Do you also enjoy cutting on/burning yourself?
  • 4 0
 @aks2017 - Agreed. Love climbing! Enjoy the pain, enjoy the effort. Getting better on downhills and like it too, but climbing is where it is at... for me anyways.
  • 19 1
 Climbers and hikers have the right of way if only one person can pass at a time. The reason for this is simple, and similiar to why pedestrians always have the right of way: if there's a crash it will be because the descender hit the climber and not vice versa. Around our AZ trails this feels well established and agreed upon. There are a minority of a*sholes to who ignore this but it's generally followed. In AZ bikers yield to hikers and everyone yields to horses. Being okay with this is necessary to make our popular multi-use trails fun and broadly accessible, and trust me, trails like National are both gnarly and happily shared. Don't descend like a*sholes.
  • 6 0
 Colorado has the same general rules --- I think signs are posted at some locations
  • 4 0
 Yeah, same here in Colorado. There are very few downhill only trails so you have to stay switched on because of the number of riders, runners, hikers.
  • 20 0
 I usually stop on both cases, either I'm climbing or descending... don't know if I'm "dumb" or polite though
  • 8 0
 Its' polite ! You'll always go home with a smile on your face 'cause you didn't piss anyone else off :-)
  • 17 1
 If you don't want to yield to climbers and ruin your descent then you should should consider not riding multi-directional trails. If you are descending too fast to stop for other riders then you are out of control. Do you think a downed tree should get out of your way too? If you want to rip down the mountain do it on a downhill only trail or play the odds that you might have to stop once in a while.
  • 2 1
 I agree. Riding has changed a lot over the years. Trails get groomed out and widened so that people can descend faster. Trails used to be so gnar you physically couldn't go fast because you had to ride around unbermed corners and over obstacles the size of your wheel. i.e. you've got to hit the brakes preload the suspension and hop up and over obstacles. Most people don't know how to ride anymore. If the bump is too big for a 180mm single crown, then "trailbuilders" just remove it.
  • 14 0
 Ummm. It isn't about who can stop easier, or start easier, or who's fun it messes up. It's about who is carrying all of the potential harm and their responsibility to modulate it. Nearly all of the energy is in the rider going downhill. If they run into somebody, they are the ones doing the damage, causing the injury. To minimize the risk of damage and injury on bi-directional trails the uphill climber having the right of way was instituted so that passing would happen at a slower speed and be safer.

On dual track multi-use trail, you should slow down to roughly the sped of the people you are passing in the in the opposite direction. On single track, the rider going downhill should pull off the trail unless the rider going uphill clearly cedes the right of way (which I often do).

You want that KOM so bad, start the segment over. Or ride single direction, bike only trails.
  • 2 0
 100% correct.
  • 2 1
 Once the descender's speed is "modulated" to roughly the opposing traffic's speed, how is it then their responsibility to also pull over on tight trails? I'd say safety is both parties' responsibility and the best way would be to share. The descender has to slow to climbing speed, and, when necessary, the ascender has to pull over.

The whole sanctimonious bag of crap called "I have the right of way!" is a dysfunctional formula. It's never worked, it's always someone else's fault, and yet we keep trying to make it work. The onus is on both parties.
  • 3 0
 @Brete, not opposed to your idea, safety wise it seems fine, but I'm guessing it is too complicated since people do seem to need simple clear cut rules otherwise it gets chaotic.

If people understood that having the right of way DOESN'T mean they can do whatever they want it would help. Downhill rider having the right-of-way would be fine if it was understood you don't blow past other users of the trail at high speed. But in practice there are a lot of people out there who don't care, who fly down trails at speeds that are unsafe. I've done it myself. Came around a corner I thought I had clear vision of and an uphill rider was in a spot that I couldn't see. Luckily when I hit him, I wasn't going fast enough to cause any damage and he was cool about it, but I felt like an (and was an) utter a-hole. What if it had been a child? He had no chance to get out of the way, so even if he was supposed to cede the right of way, he couldn't. So now I don't go faster than I can see (at least I try not to). It means there are plenty of Strava segments that I am never going to go any faster on because, while I can ride them faster, I can't do so without risking harm to others. I still have a blast. I ride a new line/feature every time I ride and I have gotten to be a much better rider since I stopped focusing on speed all the time. And there are still plenty of segments/trails, even multi-use ones, where it is safe (for everyone else at least) for me to pin it. Having it in the downhill riders mind that they are the ones who have to stop makes it more likely they will ride in such a way that they will be able to stop.

In practice, like I said, if I'm climbing and have the time, I will pull over for the downhill rider. It makes it nicer for both of us. Around here, hiker's and runners cede the right-of-way 99% of the time. I still slow down and prepare to pull over every single time I see one and when they step off the trail for me, I greet them, thank them, comment on the day, and wish them a good walk/run/hike. If I'm going too fast to say all those things, I'm going to fast. Luckily, this isn't the busiest place (New Mexico).

But we can't seem to rely on the reasonableness of people so to keep it simple, since we are the ones carrying the danger, we cede the right of way to every other type of user, and to the person riding uphill.
  • 2 0
 And "reasonableness" is an opinion that varies considerably. Around Park City, some of the XC crowd seem to think "yield" means stop, dismount, and curtsy.

I vote for any system where both parties have clear responsibility for their own safety. Feeding some sanctimonious jerk the "right" of way is fraught with disaster. It's the backcountry; you have no rights to safety; be smart.
  • 10 0
 Figure it out as situation develops. But descender must be in control enough to avoid incident in all cases. If there is a crash I'd say it's the descenders fault. Like rules of the road where no matter what, driver who rear-ends someone else is at fault.
  • 6 0
 Could not agree more. If you can't stop in time to avoid a wreck YOU are at fault. The rest of the world doesn't have an obligation to clear a path for you.
  • 10 0
 When I'm riding XC, I move out of the way for the climber. It's way easier for me to pull my brakes and get to the side so they can come on through. They're the one that's working harder. Making them get out of their rhythm just so I can go by fast isn't really that important to me. When I'm riding a trail that has uphill traffic, I make it a point to never "pin it" since I know there can be people coming up at any time. I still ride plenty fast, but i'm not out to be a strava king, and i'm not trying to race down the mountain. I only ride like that when i'm riding on resorts that don't allow uphill traffic.
There's not really a written rule on who moves for who. I just move out of the way when I'm descending because I don't want to be known around here as the douche bag that runs people off the trail because he's got to go the fastest down, all the time. No thanks.
  • 13 3
 And to everyone saying it's less safe for the descender to stop, STFU. if it's multi-directional trail and you're going speeds that are "unsafe" to slow down from, go buy a lift access pass and ride DH-only trails. If there is ever the possibility of someone coming uphill, you MUST descent in control. If it's a super steep section where grabbing any brake will send you OTB, scope it first for climbers of any sort. We know you're not racing for a living in this situatin, because if you are you don't have to worry about multi-directional trails. You should be looking far enough ahead to see farther than your stopping distance anyway. What if there is a new windfall log, a wild animal, crashed buddy that went before you, etc.
  • 9 1
 According to IMBA - the climber has the right - the descender must yield. He has the momentum to do the greatest damage and therefore must keep his riding in check. I shout "bike" at every blind corner if it's not a designated downhill trail. XC bikes should not be going up predominantly known downhill runs, but the downhiller should maintain control at all times.
  • 7 0
 If it's a multi use trail, as in climb ind descending of hikers and bikers, I feel it should be the decender purely out of safety and politeness .... You can't bomb down a multi use trail with blind abandon...... It would go so,e way to keep things civil between different groups...and trails open to mountain biking...
  • 7 0
 When on a multi use trail, you shouldn't be going balls out fast down the hill. You need to be able to stop for a hiker or dog on trail, and not just assume they will quickly get out of your way. So assuming you are already riding in control, it shouldn't be a big deal for the down-hiller to yield.
The down is my reward for going up, but there is a purpose to my going up. I'm testing and pushing my fitness level that will allow me to take that mountain bike vacation and not be beat after the first day.
Did you have to slow down too much for that drop or jump because I was coming up? So sorry, but turn your bike around and go back up 100 yards and get back at it.
  • 11 3
 if its a two way trail then you both should slow down and be polite, no one has right of way.
  • 6 1
 RC is certainly bringing up a difficult and significant issue here, something that cannot be answered lightly. To be honest my very first thought was "hey, use your common sense", but after sleeping on it I, a mere mortal, find myself unable to give a suitable answer.
I'd say this should be dealt with internationally at a G8-style summit, you know, the ones which always take place in a beutiful snowy Swiss town. Gee, I would even say the right of way while riding down or uphill is a fundamental right that should be regulated in the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for sure.
I clicked the "undecided" option of course.
  • 6 1
 Ok, hers a case in point. Recently I was out riding and had come to one of the fastest flowiest descending sections of our local riding spot. (They are in fact designated as multi-use trails btw) I dropped my saddle, got back on the bike and dropped in. About midway down I came ripping around the high side of a berm and there was a dude on a HT climbing up right in my line! I was flying, my line having already been set up. I grabbed my Hopes, ( yeah they do modulate incredibly well) cut my wheel to go to the inside line to avoid the guy and then his little miniature poodle trail dog decided to stand his ground and bark at me! I managed (barely) to stop with my front wheel inches from the dogs nose. (Love those Hopes) as if my heart wasn't already going fast enough that incident raised it up another few beats! I apologized readily to the guy (I love dogs, even obnoxious ill mannered ones) and the spandex clad HT warrior proceeded to yell at me explaining tha climbers always have the right of way! I said sorry once again and continued on down the hill my flow completely busted. I ask our fellow riders here... Who the f*ck climbs a hill on the high side of a berm??!! The laws of physics dictate that the descender has greater inertia so generally the climber should yield. It's hard to switch lines once your setup and going Mach speed. IDK. What do you all think?
  • 3 0
 Completely feeling your frustration, unfortunately people in shock never EVER act reasonably, they always go defensive on you even when their clearly in the wrong! And who takes their rope rat on a hill climb!!!!
  • 1 0
 My brakes aren't from Hope but modulate just fine. Communication can be tricky indeed. Once I was riding a descending trail and saw walkers up front walking my direction. So I stopped just before the trail got steeper and kindly gestured them to move on and that I would ride on when they had moved past. But they just as kindly stepped aside and gestured me to ride on. Understandable maybe as it would be the much quicker solution. So I used the steeper bit to get back up to speed and rode past them as I would usually ride that section. Not dangerously close to them but well, past them. Would be a shame not riding it at speed. Apparently this is not what they were expecting and they yelled naughty stuff at me. So that got me thinking how to sort that in the future. Maybe I should insist they go first. Or actually leave the bike, walk down, inform them about my intentions and then walk back up to my bike. Yes it does kill flow that way.
  • 1 0
 Hey, such controversy. I'd like to give a bit more clarification. This section of trail that I'm describing is an S curve area so I really couldn't see the guy coming into the berm. I just set my self up to rail the berm coming out of the previous turn. There is simply no reason to climb on the high side of a berm. You're not going to be able to lean in and rail it while climbing. Not possible. I was in control of my bike as I did manage to swerve out of his way and I didn't hit anything, not even the dog. My point is that it was a much more technically demanding and dangerous maneuver for me to actually stop than it would have been for the climber to simply turn his bar and drop out of my line. He wouldn't even have had to stop pedaling! It's a safety issue honestly. The downhiller should have it in that instance that I described.
  • 2 0
 If it's that bermed, it's a descent only trail no? (Shouldn't have been climbing)
  • 2 1
 And one more thing... Near collisions are the best situation where you can show off how hard you can braaap! Railing a berm is good. But hitting both brakes hard, leaning WAY over, and two wheel drifting the high side to avoid the spandex is Awesome! (And once you've got your suspension preloaded ollie'ing over the dog on the inside is a piece of cake) You'll leave the stunned spandexer and dog in a cloud of dust, but they'll be inspired to trade the lycra for some knee pads soon enough.
  • 6 1
 The most agreed upon solution, and the one that's printed on more trail heads than any other, is that the uphill rider has right of way. For various reasons, but the main one being it's much harder to get back into a climb than it is to simply release the brakes and have at it. This is for sanctioned trails. For DH trails there shouldn't even be someone coming up, and for jumpline /technical downhill trails the uphill rider should move out of the way. This is common sense and seems only misunderstood by weekend warriors/kids. It's printed on trail heads the world over.
  • 6 1
 My experience to date is as follows:
XC : both are polite and yield
Trail: friendly nod and agree on the fly who yields
Enduro: rider with the least expensive bike yields
Downhill / Gravity: F*** everyone on the mountain, I'm a 2-wheeled God so move over or die.
  • 4 1
 Fuck everyone on the mountain... Thats my personal expierience with XC guys.
  • 12 4
 Who rides down uphills anyway?
  • 4 1
 Wouldn't it be "who rides up downhills"?
  • 4 0
 Coming from a truck driver background, you always give way to the heavier truck, if you're both equal then it is the one going up hill, unless of course there is about 4/5 trucks coming down the hill then you might let them go
  • 4 0
 I've always operated under the impression that the climbing rider technically has the right of way, but in practice I've found the climber is almost always happy to yield to the descender, while catching a break free of criticisms from their buddies.
  • 4 0
 10 years ago, this wasn't even a question. Climbers always had right of way. Partly because it is harder for them to resume momentum, and partly to remind descenders of their obligation to remain aware of other people's safety. The sport has indeed changed to more downhill oriented riding. But at the same time, society has become increasingly egocentric, thrill-oriented and selfish. Everyone acting entitled to the trail, as if they somehow "earned it" by reaching the top (even if they drove). FOR THE GOOD OF THE SPORT, downhill riders, unless on a DH specific track should always be prepared to yield for the sake of safety and sharing trails. Climbers can be polite and move when possible...that is nice. But when push comes to shove, it is up to the person with more kinetic energy (going downhill) to control that energy, and be prepared to yield to others.
  • 4 1
 I always thought the 'give way to people going up' principle based on 4wd etiquette - since it is (relatively) easy for a truck crawling downhill to stop and then get going, and sometimes downright impossible to get a truck going uphill if stopped mid slope. In 18 years of riding mountain bikes that 'rule' never really made sense for bikes.

I like that the most prevalent poll answer is 'decide on the fly'. It seems all the officialish MTB organisations need to pull a pole out...
  • 1 2
 crikey - seems I commented early, things have swung in favour of the 4wd rule. It's not just organisations that need to pull a pole out! After all, if you ain't hiking, you ain't mountain biking...
  • 4 1
 Whatever happens, at least smile and say hi to the other rider or hiker. My friends and I have noticed an increase in unfriendly trail users lately. Many people will not say anything, or even acknowledge that you're there. We don't understand how these people are grumpy while out "enjoying" their leisure time. Feeling the dirt beneath my tires instantly transforms my mood. Lets keep it friendly out there!
  • 3 0
 I just give everyone else the right of way no matter what. I would rather do that and be courteous than possibly cause a crash or make someone else upset. Its just not a big deal to me either way, so why not be safer and let others be happy if they believe that they should have the right of way.
  • 3 0
 The main “thing” is that there’s an “aggressive expansive” sub-culture, as a line of thinking by the DH loving riders. This may even expand to the point that creates problems over all the other mountain biking disciplines, under the thread of banning all bikes from some trails.
The descending rider should always have in mind, when ridding (sorry, descending) a public trail, that he / she, has no right to put in danger all the rest, riders, walker, runners, whatever…
So keeping the speed into “controllable” limits is an act of responsibility, unfortunately too rare to be seen here at Greece by the DHrs.
After all, why spoil the fun of the other users of the trail!?
  • 3 0
 There's an important distinction between etiquette and responsibility. Different riding areas seem to have different house rules for sharing trails. Most confrontations that I've witnessed seem to have more to do with people's personalities than whether they were riding up or downhill. Both parties have an obligation to abide by local etiquette. But at the end of the day it's the responsibility of the faster moving downhill rider to avoid accidents on a multi-directional or multi-use trail.
  • 3 0
 common courtesy has gotten worse in all aspects of cycling these days.... but i'll rant on that some other time

Personally, when i'm on the trail (insert your joke about me riding here), both climber and descender stop, or slow down. Despite which way i'm riding, i always try to smile, nod, say hi, or just express some kind of nice gesture. I appreciate whomever pulls over. A lot of the guys i ride with are dicks when riding, so i typically apologize for them if need be. Its nice to interaction with one another, even for a split second.

it's just so hard to say one party has the right... since it depends on the part of the trail, your speed, how technical, how safe, etc. so if you are able to... pull over. don't let "right of way" cause you to be a dick as well.
  • 4 1
 The climber has the right of way. There are plenty of steep sections where if you stop, you might not be able to get started again and end up having to walk your bike up. If I'm trying to clean a section on a climb, and I'm actually making it, I'm not going to stop on purpose. If your skills are so poor that you can't stop descending on a section that someone is riding UP, then respect the badass rider who's actually able to ride up that section, because he can probably smoke you on the way down too. On the other hand, if I'm just out riding and I see someone coming down a technical section, I'll pull over and let them by. When I was a beginner rider, I used to be bummed about having to stop and losing my flow, and trying to get going again descending steep sections, now I just stop, wave, say hi, and get back on and go. My skill now isn't dependent on maintaining flow. I know I can just get started again and make it through anything and get right back into flow. Most experienced riders I see don't seem to have a problem with letting other people by, their ego isn't riding on their flow.
  • 3 0
 I think if a descender does not let a climber climb, he is an arrogant insecure dude. I see many of pristine looking weekend warriors in immaculate gear that brandish their ego on the descent. Not too impressive. Descending is easy
  • 3 0
 Anybody that just assumes they have the right of way and refuses to slow down, move over, or stop is a jerk. Period. Both parties should at least attempt to slow down and move to the side. If it's too narrow for both, then the climber should have the right of way, because it is much more difficult to start on a technical trail. I can't believe this is an actual debate.
  • 4 0
 I was pushing thru a tough climb and my buddy ahead yelled "HORSE!", sure enough an unbridled horse with no rider was galloping right toward me......... a**hole didn't even pull over for me.....
  • 3 0
 Interesting topic. Here's my 2 (euro) cents (or 7 drachmas):

I see right of way both as a practical arrangement but also as a way to determine who has the biggest responsibility when it comes to avoiding collisions. From a safety perspective the downhill rider should ALWAYS take care not to crash into uphill riders and to be safe and in control. I forgot it once and it almost lead to an accident and me feeling really stupid!

As far as practical arrangements go I don't know what's better. Personally I always slow down and yield (unless the other rider/ trail user) tells me to go ahead. The main reasons for this are:
- I don't know if the other person knows about right of way and I don't want to cause an accident or confrontation
- I'm not very competitive. If I'm able to get out and ride that day I'm happy so the minor inconvenience of yielding won't hurt me.

In general I believe common sense should be applied. If it's a large group vs a single rider it would be easier for the single rider to yield. Either way it's best to be courteous and don't demand the other person to yield. What everyone should demand is that all riders (especially downhill riders) ride safely.

Btw if you're ever in Greece and trying to nail a KOM you can always shout "referendum" or "IMF" to the rider coming the other way. It usually scares them and makes them bail in the bushes. Razz
  • 1 0
 Agree. Number one priority is to avoid getting yourself and/or others hurt.
  • 5 1
 Climber right of way if two way, unless unsafe to do so. The best descents and climbs are all on unidirectional trails anyway.
  • 2 0
 Just because it isn't completely clear (so we're not discussing a designated DH trail here where it is clear) you just can't expect the other on a two way track to agree with your right of way and to act accordingly. Forcing it or worse, "causing" a (near) accident will other trail users feel unsafe or uncomfortable. And as we as mountainbikers are still a minority those in power won't see much against just banning mtb trail access altogether.

In the case of the top picture in the article, the descenders don't appear to carry much speed so I don't see much against making way for a rider climbing this loose gravely climb.

In case of the bottom picture, it seems wide enough for riders to pass though there is a single smooth line. Descending is easier on rough ground than it is to climb so in this case again I'd say the descender maintains velocity and takes the rougher path.

In cases where there is a quick more straight line down and the alternative has more twists impossible to do at speed, I recommend the climber takes that and the descender blasts down the straight bit.

So it depends on the situation but most important is to maintain contact (visual/sound, not physical) and be clear about your intentions.
  • 3 0
 How about the first person to see the other, had some near collision incidents because one or both of us unaware of the other. Also, on marked unidirectional trails the person going the wrong way should always yield.
  • 2 0
 Work it out at the time and always try to avoid a crash. That's why it's better to have an up and down trail separate to each other, you don't see anyone cycling up "Barry know's Best" at Leith Hill...

That said, its Interesting how many people are responding on the basis of what suits them best without regard for the other dude. I don't want to stop and have to start again on a steep climb any more than I do on a cracking descent, but I try not to only think of myself...
  • 1 0
 No its only the dog walkers that walk up BKB!!!
  • 1 0
 Luckily I've never met one trying it!!!
  • 4 0
 If I can find a way to keep us both from becoming static. Then that will be my method. Otherwise, its a conditional thing...Like most of reality.
  • 2 0
 Another reason to build more trails. Directional only trails would be safer for both to go as fast as possible without worrying if someone is about to come around the corner.
Although, I do agree with some of you folks who criticize the dweebs who have ear buds in and are all about there KOM. WTF! Say hello, socialize and do some trail karma Smile
  • 2 0
 Depends on the trail and section, I firmly believe that even if the climber is getting out of the way the downhiller should slow down significantly as a courtesy, I liken it to passing a vehicle on the side of the highway. Funny though in my experience two bikers meeting on a two way trail everything goes smooth. The only confrontations I've had or seen come from hikers climbing up a dh only trail and expecting the dh'r to get out of their way.
  • 3 0
 Most important rule. Don't be a dick. Slow down either way. Figure it out. I usually stop either way. But I usually ride alone so it's easier. Worst case your descending a sweet section.. hike back up a bit and go again.
  • 2 0
 I get out of the way when im climbing because I know how much of a bummer it is to have your decent interrupted. I don't run peeps off the trail when descending, if they get out of the way I keep cruising (appreciatively), if they don't, I move over knowing they don't understand the gravity addiction. We cant give the darkside ammunition to use against us because we blast others off the trail...don't be the one to give mountain bikers a bad name
  • 2 0
 Think about who is looking where... The rider going downhill should be looking well in front, where the climbers is probably looking only a few feet in front. The downhiller knows what's coming far ahead. If they come up on someone or something so fast they can't stop, that's simply wrong on multi-use/multi-direction trails.

That said, if I'm climbing and I happen to see someone descending, I'll take a break and give a wave. If I'm descending, I'll slow and then stop if the climber doesn't notice, and says thanks if they notice first and give way.

What gets my goat the most is when I'm climbing hard, head down, heart-rate up, and I hear some lunatic yelling for me to get out of their way, as if they've got no brakes and are going to crash. Except they're really just going for a KOM and don't care about anyone else. They expect the climber to pull off even if it's into a pricker bush or hopping over a log to clear the trail.

Only good thing is it usually pisses me off so much I usually smoke the rest of the climb.
  • 2 0
 I was taught climbers have RoW but typically I will pull over unless I am in a tech section as it is easier (going slower) and I know how much fun descending is when uninterrupted. I do expect the descender to be prepared to yield though. Recently at Heil Ranch in CO trail patrol descending stopped to let me know I have RoW as I was climbing - my response was "thank you but in this case it was easier for me to pull over ". So, IMO, a descender should not expect RoW but when possible, as a courtesy, it should be given. This is how it seems to work with hikers, yes they have RoW but a lot of the time they see it is easier for them to move over for a few seconds than have a rider dismount and have to restart.
  • 6 0
 Employ common sense and exercise common courtesy. Solves most problems.
  • 4 2
 We are not pedaling up DH runs, we are on bidirectional XC trails. If i am climbing, I am not yielding. Plain and simple. You have gravity to start your momentum again. If you are bombing down two way trails, especially on the weekends, then...

d3fhkv6xpescls.cloudfront.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/CommonSense.jpg
  • 2 0
 I didn't read all the comments but uphill riders on single track should normally have the right. But if there's a group or riders coming down and it's just you? Pull over when you can and let them have their fun vs having all of them pull over just for one of you. Common sense right? Not if your an egotistic impatient douche snoozle. They're out there...
  • 2 0
 It is a code not a law; the climber has always had the right of way as they are using the most energy and it takes more effort to start again climbing than it does descending. Common sense dictates that individual circumstances might lead to adjusting that when two riders meet on a trail.
  • 4 0
 if you are climbing a down trail im gonna be a dick and make sure you get out of the way. any other trail climber has the right of way.
  • 2 0
 I will often yell "roll on through dudes" to let downhill riders keep their flow, but I always plan on yielding to climbing riders when descending unless they extend to me the same courtesy. Just be cool and friendly out there, it isn't hard.
  • 2 0
 I think this was a terrific idea for a poll. I'd love to see some follow-up analysis of poll answers.

One thought is that the opinions are strongly regional.

Or is that the division is age based with those favoring downhill not yet old enough to drive a real car?

A correlation to the size of the hills being ridden. Maybe if a big hill on the ride is 100-300 feet vertical the continuous downhill is more precious than if your climb is a continuous 2-4k feet. A single 60 foot swoop would be much more important than having an uninterrupted 25 minutes of descent.

I'm honestly surprised so many people weight downhilling so high. Where I ride just stopping in some places can mean a 40-50 foot walk before I can resume the climb, where descent I can just track stand while the climber goes by, not such a big deal when descending. To stop while climbing can ruin a workout, drops heartrate, etc. Also descenders usually have much larger choice of line so easier to just go around.

But that's just from my own experience and I'd really like to hear the other side of it.
  • 3 1
 So funny... the "climbing rider has right of way" poll option has literally twice as many votes. Yet, literally every single time I've come across descending riders basically anywhere I've ridden (California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New York) they DO NOT stop and yield the right of way.

I'm not exaggerating here. I've literally never come across a descending rider in the last 3 years that has ever yielded. So not sure how accurate (in a real life situation) this poll really is. And pretty sure that old bylaw is now just something people like to believe they WOULD do, and not something they ACTUALLY do.

Personally, I ALWAYS yield to ascending riders when I myself am descending, cause I know how hard that rider is working, an I know how no one has ever stopped for me and what that feels like. I also ALWAYS dismount (whether ascending or descending) when I come across hikers and equestrians. A minor inconvenience but hopefully it's earning a bit of goodwill here and there.
  • 2 0
 Give right of way to whomever will take up the least amount of the other's time.

If someone is bombing, and I'll have to step off for 3 seconds for them to pass, vs them getting off for 15 seconds for me to pass, I'll get to the side. We all need to maximize riding time, not sitting time.

This practice moves into real life. Know how if you have 40 items at the store and the dude behind you has 2? Know how you let them go first? Exact same idea. They're out of the way before you would have even started.
  • 2 0
 Climber has the right of way. But, with our sport exploding (and roadies trying to turn our trails into a way to avoid the dangers of road traffic), I often have to tell riders when they are climbing and I'm descending that they have the right of way. And, I'd rather attack a descent without someone standing there. Restarting a climb SUCKS way more than restarting down. A loss of climbing momentum is so much harder to recover. I see so many tools treating regular trails like a race course. Go all out when you've got the trail to yourself. I've competed in many sports and the rule was always compete in the ring, on the playing field or track and not in the practice arena. "Beating" someone on your local trail just makes you look like someone who needs to get a life.
  • 1 0
 I usually stop if I'm going uphill. I like to think that the person coming downhill appreciates it. On the other side when I am descending and I come across anything besides a horse I will try and take an alternative line. One it might make you look cool and two it makes me think on my toes about the trail. I will slow down a little though outbof courtesy and say hello or thank you.
  • 1 0
 It's much easier to hear someone coming down the trail than it is to hear someone coming up. Unless of course you are wearing headphones then it's a free for all I guess, so maybe loose the headphones unless it's one way only.
  • 5 0
 Uphill rider has the right of way (assuming it is a 2-way trail).
  • 1 0
 Pull over while climbing if it is easy to do so just to be a nice guy, but if it the descender had that actual right of way they would then have less keeping them from being cautious of others, just assuming that they would get out of the way instead. Make no mistake, when I'm coming down and a climber pulls off for me I am DELIGHTED!
  • 1 0
 It's already been said I'm sure but I think the climber should make an effort to allow the descender to get by without losing all of his speed but they both should be watching out and the guy going down should at least slow up a bit to keep things safe for all so basically I'm saying it kind of depends on the situation. Common sense and curtesy should rule. I mean, for example, if either rider is on a short super steep part and the other is approaching...
  • 2 1
 Who has better opportunity to see what's going on around them and take action to avoid?...The downhiller.
Who has their heart and lungs at optimum/maximal, and who would have to drop and pick that stone up again? The uphiller.
Who probably took the ski lift to the top of the mt? The downhiller.
Give way to the uphiller.
  • 1 0
 I Would SAY Hike where you want to but watch out for traffic, Because it isn't always possible to stop!
But actually If It's a Hiking Trail Usually let the Hiker Go buy, But when It's a Climber on a bike get out of the way don't stop the flow!! He/She want the same when They are Riding down.
Bud Best Of ALL RIDE ON A ONE-WAY TRACK LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE DO!!! With out the possibility of Oncoming traffic
O YEAH put a Sign up for Hiker's That They Are not Wanted!! on the Trail and when they do visit "Stay of the Track" Buy all Means don't watch the wild life!!! on a Trail "That's Seriously Dangerous"

Bud Go OUT and Ride People!!
  • 6 5
 Rights? It's a trail not a road. I ride mountain bikes to be free not to have more rules. Who's going to enforce this?

Both? (There's always room if you both pull your elbows in or get creative with your line). Or if there's absolutely no optional line, it's the one who looks like he's really 'on it' and going to get the most out if it.

It's only one section of a ride on one day - relax.
  • 2 0
 the one who will see the other one first stops - it'a as easy as that. when one does ride - you stop, when one did already stop - you keep going. At the worst scenario you will both stop, smile, high five and go Smile
  • 1 0
 Yes the descender can start again easily, but stopping involves braking whereas the climber has just to go from 1 kph to 0. Also the passing happens very quickly when the climber stops. So I wanted to answer that the climber has the right to pass, yet here I am saying that... It depends.
  • 2 0
 If the climber is only going 1kph, then it's probably a really hard slope to get started on again.
  • 2 0
 It depends... if you are climbing and the guy coming down is Cam Zink for instance, you don't need to get out of the way... he will front flip you on the way down! No problem!!!
  • 2 0
 I guess it all depends on the lines available. It's way difficult to ride uphill over rock zones. In that situation, if I find an smoother line on the left of the trail I'll definitely use it!
  • 4 0
 I don't know, if I ever see another rider in my local forest I'll let you know what happens
  • 4 0
 horse back peeps follow the same general rule --- climber has the right of way.
  • 2 0
 What about numbers? should 3 stop for 1?
  • 2 0
 ever try to walk through a doorway or stairway in a public area where you were trying to enter the place at the same time someone else was? that brief moment where you sorta play chicken.. not knowing who should go first...

if everyone follows the same approach, you won't get those moments when someone is unsure of who's going first and who's not.
  • 5 1
 Climber always... I guess the anglos are really that far behind in the sport.. WTH... this is the abc
  • 1 0
 I look at the rider coming towards me . Is his line more difficult?
Going up or down. If the rider has a technical section i pull over and watch and cheer if he or she cleans the section.
I always stop for people hiking on the trail.
  • 2 1
 So I have a lot to say on this topic and I wish that we could get some changes to happen in this area but will never really happen. I believe that this "RULE" was adopted from hiking where it makes logical sense with backpacks and everybody is going at a relatively slow speed.

As shown in the pole nobody agrees on the topic which makes for an interesting situation on the trail. There are the very strong believers of CLIMBERS get the right of way because that is what is written in the IMBA code and what is passed down from the old boys club. Justified by its "safer." Most (not all) of these people who believe this and are strong advocates of this are either part of the old boys club or are the slightly lower then average fitness and lower then average bike handlers so for them it is easy to stop on the downhills because they are not pushing it as fast.

There is the Descending is a lot of fun so they should have the right of way. Justified by it's harder for the downhill rider to stop and safely pull over (see a theme here). But in actuality they just want to have fun and shred down the hill. These are typically the people who have higher then average skill and a little less fitness that they like the rest up the hill when a downhill rider passes them the other way. Again not talking in absolutes.

And then there is the well I respect everybody and am out for fun so I will yield to everybody. Which this approach makes complete sense to me. Every rider should have the consideration for other trail users safety and enjoyment. A lot of the time when I meet others on the trail I never have to completely stop and get off the trail I can simply slow down chose a line where we can both pass at a pace slower then we would usually ride that trail and continue on our way with a smile and nod.

There needs to be a paradigm shift starting with IMBA and trail centres to have both parties responsible for safe passing, both same direction and opposing directions.

Oh and for the people on her that think that KOM's are only downhills coming from a guy who has a bunch of KOM climbs in my area ya I push the climbs. But again I am considerate about when I go for KOM's and push myself when I know the trails are less busy.
  • 6 1
 If you're descending on a climbing trail, you are doing it wrong.
  • 1 0
 Climber. If there is space, Ill almost always open my line and wave them through because I like to rip down too. On the other hand. When I catch another climber I have the 3 strikes rule. I ask politely to pass. People without earbuds let me by. People with earbuds often dont. I ask louder, then once more louder. Then I pass and elbow them off the trail.
  • 1 0
 I voted to figure it out when it happens. If I'm descending and I see a guy trying to keep his momentum on the way up I will give him the right of way. And would appreciate the same. Either way if I feel like I got robbed of a good climb or descent I just spin around, wait for the way to be clear and try it again. No sense in beefing with a fellow rider. One of us might need the other's help half a second later.
  • 2 1
 Here on the North Shore its is messed up. The official Etiquette rules here is that the climber always has right of way. I don't agree with this. I think the downhill have right of way.
1) if you are coming downhill you have earned your right to have fun coming downhill at speed.
2) It is easier to stop going uphill
3) I could always use a rest when climbing
5) I like watching people ride dh
  • 1 0
 Downhill rider ragged edge, uphill rider crawling wishing for a break. In a car or a truck the law says uphill driver has right of way you can't compare this though we aren't the same some common sense a little courtesy is there a cliff involved please think and keep a finger on your brakes. Fastfish
  • 3 0
 Why does everyone assume an uphill rider is wishing for a break? Is everyone on here out of shape? I don't mean you specifically, a bunch of comments say the same thing. I'm not saying climbing is more fun, but climbing is a challenge, and some people like the challenge of cleaning a big climb in addition to the fun of riding a fast descent.

Personally, I'd like to see more trails designated as uphill or downhill only. As we have more trail users these conflicts are only going to increase, and head-on crashes in blind corners aren't fun.
  • 1 0
 I going to say depends. If one is in the company of a dog or a child rider. Their setup may overrule the climbing vs descending rule. (e.g. foot traffic + youth + biker, beats just biker). Or some times one direction has an easily accessible notch to pull right into so flow is not disturbed.
  • 5 0
 the rule:

Don't be a jerk.
  • 1 0
 I feel like even an in control downhill rider can sometimes come up on a climber around a blind corner, & that a climber should have the common sense to realize that & let him by, but I'll take any option, as long as if someone bails yielding, you make sure they're OK instead of ignoring them lying in the bushes on your way by(not that this happened to me & I'm still a little bitter about it, or anything.)
  • 1 0
 Depends on the situation on the trail and how many people are riding too. On a steep hill, it's easier and safer pulling off while climbing than descending. But If you have a group of 25 riders climbing and you re the only one going down, maybe you should stop and let the group go up first. Use you head and don't be a jerk.
  • 1 0
 Just yell strava at the top of your lungs, whenever you want the right of way, going up or down...lol...this seems to be a growing trend. But honestly, I pull over when climbing all but the technical sections where traction would be difficult to restart, common courtesy for fun factor of the approaching descender. And I will stop as a descender whenever the climber doesn't. The rule is to stop when descending, but I think trail karma applies, and most descenders appreciate getting to keep ripping...
  • 1 0
 Questions like this are the reason why I always carry a copy of the Human rights declaration, the constitution of the world bicycling league, the book of ethics on the mountains, and the biblee and the sutras of patanjali... when I go trail riding, because rules and laws is all that really matters, ah! and fun. Not me having fun, but me arguing my fun over other people fun, actually, this seems to be way more fun for some.
  • 1 0
 To be honest someone is not going to have any problems stopping or moving over on a descent that a person is able to climb up. I could see the argument if it was a steep technical section, rock roll, etc.... you wouldn't want to stop, but nobody is clearing those climbing on two wheels.
  • 4 0
 All moot. Dog walkers take the right of way with pure ignorance, stubbornness and a remarkably bovine lack of awareness.
  • 2 0
 I'm a NMBP member and the IMBA training is clear. The rider going up hill has the right away and the descending rider has to yield. I'm not sure why this is a poll because IMBA is clear here
  • 1 0
 It's a poll because I've never actually had a descending rider yield to me while climbing... EVER. Despite the results of said poll indicating that most think what you say is true. I think PB is trying to educate the community a little bit.
  • 1 0
 Well you can thank strava for making people Jerks out there.

I'm lazzzzzzzzzy! My favorite words are Chair Lift, and Shuttle! Any time I can get off on a ball busting climb, I'm game. Now here's a question...wether you're going up or down, and you come across a group of fine ladies or sexy dudes (whatever your flavor is) do you stop and chat it up?
  • 1 0
 I never ride uphill, But I would say it does depend on the situation and area. If I notice another way around the climber, I will go that route. Its not hard for us to pedal to gain our speed again. Either way I don't expect it to be a huge deal to stop.
  • 1 0
 Been riding mt bikes since they first came out and same goes for the DH segment, and the climber has always had the right of way. Not to say we all haven't been ripping down a section and have accidentally blew by a climber....
  • 2 0
 Is a downed tree across a trail considered climbing or descending? From some of the comments it appears quite a few ride full-tilt on public trails. Not fully aware what may lay ahead.
  • 1 0
 Trails here tend to be steep and pretty much down only. The climbs are less steep and often old logging roads. But trails at LostLake are all two way but usually wide enough that if both riders slow down you fit. In XC skiing the downhill skier has ROW because you have little control. Steeper DH bike trails are similar I think and the DH rider should have ROW. But if the trail is rideable up, it ain't much of a DH trail by our. Local standards so then I think uphill has ROW.
  • 1 0
 Here are my rules. Hikers (up and down) and climbers always have the right away. Now if I am climbing and see some guy(s) that appear to be ripping and having fun coming down then I will pull off/yield and let them pass. If they appear to suck and/or are wearing spandex then I will hold my line and make them yield and pull off. When descending I am always courteous to hikers and other climbers and will yield to them, but if I can I will safely pass them with good judgement and always thank them if they yield.
  • 1 0
 on narrow trails..comin' down, i will slow down for a climber.,but not stop.
just finesse the brakes and go into slow mo. find/create a line that poses no danger.
it's just more technique.
on a narrow trail..going up, i will totally claim my line and descenders seem to always
see that. they decide whether to stop or find/create a line around me.
on wide trails in either direction i slow down somewhat to be in total control
  • 1 0
 I just pull over when I see someone better to err on the side of caution since I can usually ride for hours before running into someone. A little courtesy with a fellow biker or hiker or whatever is more important than my run as im just riding for fun like 99% of us
  • 1 0
 I hate that speed-dating instant negotiation to figure out who should yield; nods, eye contact, talking.. what a waste of time! I voted for "descender yields" but I'd be fine with the opposite as long as everyone used the same rule all the time. Did I mention all the time, cause that's key. "Neither has the right. You have to figure it out when it happens." is the worst possible answer by 1000% imo.
  • 1 0
 fuck these arbitrary rules made to make horse people happy. if its safe i don't yield when going downhill. the laws of physics and flow override the IMBA rules. i almost ALWAYS yield going uphill. i xc more than i dh so don't bring up that shit.
  • 1 0
 The "official" guidelines for trail etiquette are older than many trail users and were created in a time when bikes were barely capable of safely going downhill with their cantilever rim brakes, little or no suspension, hard compound tires, and 130 mm stems. Mountain biking scarcely resembles the sport of that era, so it may be reasonable to reevaluate these guidelines.

Bikes and riders are capable of far greater downhill speeds, trails are designed to be fast and fun on the descents, and riders expect to have fun on the descents, so we're long past the point of branding all fast descenders as hooligans. If I expect the right to descend quickly, though, I also accept the responsibility to be ready to stop on a dime and/or take evasive action; when climbing, I accept the responsibility to stay VERY alert and all but dive out of the way.

I propose a guideline of "all riders have equal rights, so be nice and play safe".
  • 2 1
 Wow, this actually motivated me to log in. Pretty standard that the climber has right of way. I've taken to yelling, swearing, and being pretty ready to kick some ass when some sh1thead comes down a trail I am climbing.

Really, I don't descend trails that I can climb, that's lame. You want to rail some lame down then go ahead, but stay the f@ck out of my way or go f@ck yourself. That's like the F@cking lame ass chumps buzzing and knocking people on green runs on the ski hill. Want a rush? Learn to ride some proper terrain you f@cking doofus. Really, get some f@cking balls, get some f@cking skills, and then you'll look at those sh1theads the same way.
  • 1 0
 I always yield to hikers and horses on multi-use trails regardless of who is going up or down. So much land access is dependent on other user groups being on the same side as bikers, and losing flow on a short section of trail is always better than losing access to a trail entirely. On mountain bike specific trails I figure anything mellow enough to be climbed the climbers should have the right of way. Don't like stopping for climbing cyclists? Try actually riding something steep.
  • 1 0
 I'm old enough breaking stride to avoid an excercise in momentum / physics experiment is just my norm.

I don't need to find out the maximum co-pay for the doc just because I didn't either break climb or tap the brakes.

You can play chicken 30 times, all it takes is losing once. Anymore coming home safe is enjoyable, esp since local trails see more users every year.
  • 1 0
 Here is what I did the other day while climbing. I noticed the other rider first and he was descending. Even though I had the right of way according to IMBA (multi-directional trail), I pulled over because I saw him first. The result was we both had an awesome time on the trail.
  • 1 0
 There are many gray areas regarding this rule. I'll yield to the climber in steep and or technical uphill sections, but taking the black and white approach to this rule just makes you look like a whinny douche on the trail. I've been scolded before for not yielding in sections that have a very small incline even if there was plenty of room for both riders to ride past each other without no one needing to stop to yield, but nevertheless I still get lip service by some dork reminding me of this rule and the black and white aspect of the rule is to blame! Some people love to feel entitled and this rule gives them that feeling of entitlement and the need to teach someone a lesson, common sense goes out the window and the box all these sign and rules put you in take away any common sense that may have existed.
  • 1 1
 It sucks for both parties to have to stop. The rule should change as it shouldn't be seen as whats harder or easier to restart, it should be seen as whats safer. To me, its much safer for a rider going uphill to stop than a rider going downhill to stop, especially on a steep technical terrain.
  • 3 3
 Look everyone, OPINIONS, POINTS OF VIEW, FLOW, STRAVA, WHATEVER YOU LIKE, AND POLITENESS, have nothing to do with this issue.
Physics is king in this matter.
Question: what is easier, takes less energy, and less time to achive?
a) having A rider coming down the hill which on average, weighs over 180 pounds with bike and gear and is riding down at easily over 25km/hr, and with all that kinetic energy, come to a full stop and avoid a person in a matter of 1-4 seconds?
Or
b) having a rider riding up at 3km/hr instantly put a foot down and move to the side to let the downward riding rider pass by?

Granted once the rider going down sees a rider coming up, he is able to slowdown, to increase the time that the climber has to move out of the way, but physics tells you with facts that the right thing to do, the safe thing to do, is for the upward riding rider to use their low rate of motion as an advantage to move out of the way, in the quickest and esiest manner, to avoid a collition. And hence it is ALWAYS the responsibility of the climber to be paying attention and use their sense of hearing to listen for riders coming down ahead, who are loud because of their speed, unlike climbing riders which are basically silent.

In addition, it is imperative for the climber to know and understand that the trail they are riding, could be a two way trail and thus should pay extra care to identify downhill riding riders coming their way.

So yes, no brainer, climber moves, while downward riders slow a bit to avoid collition.
  • 3 0
 I always stop for the climber. I figure it is easier for the descender to get going again.
  • 5 1
 I predict a shitstorm in the comment section...
  • 7 3
 the hot chick with the yoga pants, you know what i mean.
  • 5 3
 As an ICP guide, climbers have right of way over decenders. Hikers have right of way over bikers. And equestrians have right of way over both.
  • 5 1
 If it's a flat or small incline. ICP and IMBA recommend the smaller party having right of way.
  • 2 1
 This! Pinkbike shouldn't have a poll but rather an informational article on the rules. This is like arguing the alpine skiing code... I'ts pretty much law everywhere and the opinions of a few keyboard warriors on the internet are almost completely irrelevant
  • 4 3
 Trail etiquette says the climber should have right of way, but physics disagrees with this. What's easier faster and safer? To stop while climbing or stop while descending....hmmm
  • 8 3
 We all know descending is more fun than climbing. And we all bike for fun. Which is why i'll always pull over for someone descending towards me so as to not interrupt their fun - i'd hope they do the same for me.
  • 7 2
 Whoever yells STRAVA!!!
  • 4 1
 A horse on the track gets right of way, regardless of climbing or descending
  • 1 0
 I know the rule is that uphill riders have the right of way, but as a climber I usually let the descender go if I'm able to. I could care less if I have to walk a short section on the way up.
  • 1 0
 I would say in most cases it should be the climber, but use common sense and judge the situation. Whichever solution is safest for both descender and climber should be the preferred option.
  • 4 1
 This is the stupidest conversation ever! its always the CLIMBER!!!! ALWAYS!!! they cant prepare for the speed of the DHers
  • 9 5
 Both pull off and smoke a bowl.
  • 1 1
 I will always pull over when climbing for descending riders as i feel that after earning the downs by climbing that last thing ya want is some tool ruining ya flow, but depends what floats ya boat more climbing or descending, i get more mad if i cant clean a tech dh section than if i cant clean a tech uphill section so act accordingly but never really thought people saw it in reverse
  • 1 0
 I try to stay aware of descending riders and if I can, pull over so they can enjoy the decent. Also aware of the trail if it's a primary decent trail or climb trail and the time of day.
  • 1 1
 Trail networks with dedicated up routes are a good thing. Our local club spent a good chunk of change and man power building a climb trail up to access all the existing down routes. Money and time well spent. Technically the trail can be used both ways but if you know anything about where you are riding it's common knowledge it's primarily an up route. That said if someone is coming down it I just pull over and let them rip. No need to be a Strava douche. Top of the mountain will still be there a minute later.
As far as people pushing up DH trails. Maybe every sick ride edit shouldn't start with getting your bike out of the shed/garage/truck followed be footage of people pushing up DH trail. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.
  • 1 0
 here in Missouri where the downhills are not so extensive, I feel climbing has the right of way. But out west and elsewhere that extended descents exist, I will happily give right of way to the descender.
  • 3 0
 I pull off no matter what. I'd rather interrupt both my flow and climb rather than risking a collison
  • 2 0
 Some riders need to be given the right of way because they lack bike handling skills. On multi use trails the cowboy packing a 45-70 lever action has the right of way.
  • 3 0
 Whoever is running strava and chasing a KOM. If both, then whoever yells strava louder wins right of way
  • 3 0
 Under the stated rules, climbers always have the right a way, unless they are hiking their bike.
  • 1 1
 I think it is situational. As in, if I am climbing and some squid tip toeing down is in my way- they should move. If I am descending and there's somebody floundering or pushing their bike up the trail- they should move. I respect all riders and all that, but there is a hierarchy. And I'm near the top.
  • 1 1
 If you meet me when I'm climbing a two way trail in New Zealand, you better know that I think I have the right of way and I'm not going to give it up. If it doesn't look like you're making an effort to give way to me, I'll just stop in the middle of the trail so I can say "hi" to you and smile. If you're riding in a manner that doesn't acknowledge there are other trail users who have a right to be there, chances are your momentum and lack of control is going to hurt you more than me. A two way shared trail is not your private race track. Just sayin' :-)
  • 1 0
 I've always believed the downhiller yielded to the climber, and still do in most circumstances, then I came head-to-head with some fat bikers riding up our purpose-built DH track and quickly changed my mind...
  • 1 1
 @flyr Why should you have to pull over when descending after all the effort you have put in on the climb to the top. Would you be happy if you had to pull over just so someone can slowly chug past you up a hill? it ruins the entire flow of the trail.
  • 5 4
 We all put the effort onto the climbs for the grin factor descents,every rider going up should knowt that and let them smash past,they've earnt the right
  • 5 5
 It should just like in a public bus,you have to wait for others to step out .
So for the mountain, I think that the one that leaves the mountain(descending) should have priority...
  • 1 1
 What if it's, uh, a canyon. You ride downhill in and climb out? Smile
  • 2 1
 The climber has the theoretical right of way, but if someone's coming at me fast downhill I jump out of the way as quickly as I can!
  • 9 10
 This is surely obvious. The Downhiller! There's only one reason to ride up a hill, and that is to come back down. Therefore, the uphill is an evil necessity and the Downhill is the reward. If the Downhiller stopped you would stop the fun for the work. Pointless, don't be a jerk, your going slow up a hill, you get out the way, simple. If it's a horse you slowdown so that mindless huge killing machine doesn't get scared and kill you, if it's a walker, you seed up and take aim. Simples!
  • 4 0
 the best Fighter Wink
  • 3 3
 Personally i think it's better for the person climbing to move aside but that's probably because most of the riding i do involves descending and it's annoying having to stop when you are flying down a hill.
  • 3 0
 How about "Just use common sense" ?
  • 1 0
 You would assume it is easier and safer for the climbing rider to stop and move out the way. It would also be good commence sense for the descending to slow down.
  • 1 1
 Ultimately it's the climbing riders right of way. But since I know how much fun/enjoyment people get on the downhills I yield if I'm climbing. Don't wanna mess up anyone's Strava run!
  • 3 0
 How about this? Be good to each other out there.
  • 1 2
 The majority of people voting for the climber are whacked. To say its the descender who must maintain control is forgetting the laws of physics:
1. Gravity says that the descender will take way more distance to come to a stop, if even possible (in steep loose conditiona, it's not).
2. Usimg the btakes removes control, so whoever is going slowest would be able to come to a stop more quickly and safely.
3. Trails are winding and filled with trees and bushes, ao you many times can't see or hear a climber, but the climbers alnost always hear the descender.
IMBA needs to change their suggested rules. The flow of a climber is irrelevant when compared with the safety of all parties involved.
  • 2 0
 easier 2 stop if ya climbing, simples. but a bit of common sense never goes a miss!
  • 1 0
 If buddy is coming down at mock 1 speed and I'm climbing up I really don't want to stop him or crash into him, just pull over sip some water and get back at it!
  • 1 2
 IMO it all has to do with the safety of the rider. I've seen a couple of riders crashing trying to stop for hikers. And in that logic it's a lot easier for a climbing rider that's going slower to pull off trail than a descending rider.
  • 2 3
 The climbing rider should always pull over. Of course it's nice if both stop and you have a little chat but if you're having a smooth flowing run you shouldn't be forced to interrupt that just because the climbing rider is a douche ...
  • 2 0
 I like how almost everyone commenting is saying dh but the polls say differently. Speak up climbers.
  • 1 0
 Really depends on the trail,..ie, was it made to be a dh trail?, and/or the specific section, ie, may be too difficult for climber to unclip/tripod/pull over.
  • 2 3
 This is a holdover from the Age of Automobiles. It's harder for a 21 speed 1961 Land Rover to get going again on an incline than it is for a 1959 21-window VW bus to get going again when pointed downhill. With bikes, i think it needs to be reversed: DH takes precedence. Excuse to rest is an added bonus - this is PB not TypeA-Aggro-XCclimber-bike.com
  • 3 0
 I always pull over, both up and down. I'm an asshole.. To myself.
  • 2 1
 Generally the climber has the right of way. That being said it may be wiser to get out of the way when a decender is coming in hot.
  • 2 3
 Descender! The person who has the most momentum has the right of way. This is the safest way. If some oldschool ascender thinks he has the right of way when a downhill rider comes around at corner at 15-20 mph, he better get off the trail or risk serious injury to both riders. The downhiller might not be able to react fast enough or have the braking power to stop in time.
  • 2 0
 If Im climbing and I here someone or plural coming down , I will let them fly by me and cheer them on !!!
  • 2 0
 Obviously, the climber. That said, when I'm climbing I MOST OFTEN mooovoutdaway and let the descender have all the fun!!!
  • 1 2
 wow a lot of responses about this,, its always said stop for the climbers they need to keep the flow and keep the right pressure and focus to get up that hill, its the truth and the right thing to do ,,,,,,,,,,,BUT then we realize these fuckers wearing spandex..
  • 2 3
 It's early, haven't finished my coffee, but my 2 cents says the climber should give way. I ride XC and I'm pretty strong uphill, but I'm damn fast downhill, and as much as hate to have my climbing effort ruined by pulling over, I can hear that DH'er coming way before he can see me... I think it's all about avoiding a major crash.
  • 2 0
 I run codes on my dh bike so people can hear me for miles on the way down. ????
  • 1 2
 I chose the desender has right away. Here is why as a climber you hear more and can see more, and can easily stop and move. Where as a desender may be in mid feature and can't stop or see due to focusing on line control, or stopping in mid-air isn't possible.
  • 2 1
 The official rule is the climber has ROW but it makes way more sense for everyone involved to just quickly pull over and let the downhill rider pass.
  • 2 1
 yeah but if you got your go pro on and decending then its pretty rude if climber doesnt move out of the way. my douchebag thoughts.
  • 4 1
 The one with more inertia.
  • 2 2
 I don't understand the harder to regain your momentum going uphill idea. Going uphill you stop pedaling for a second and you're stopped, start pedaling again and 2-3 cranks later you're going the exact same speed as before.
  • 3 1
 I don't think anyone is talking about a smooth low angle trail. There are places where the climber is at his limit of traction. Loose gravel, slippery roots, steps, etc. They are able to maintain a climb only with body english and momentum. They can be having an epic moment at their aerobic and bike control limits. If stopped it is very difficult to start again, you need to push the bike the rest of the way.

As has been said many times in this discussion, if someone is climbing a trail then its no great loss for descender to yield as descender is in an easy/boring section.
  • 2 2
 A smooth low angle trail is exactly what we're talking about. The situation you are describing the laws of physics will trump IMBA because the descender can't physically stop in that situation. Having a rule that says he has to is just going to lead to accidents and arguements on the trail.
  • 3 1
 Thank you for raising that point again. I'm trying to understand how what you propose can work. Perhaps we have two different sorts of trails in mind? Can you describe the perfect example where downhill rights works well?

In my (actual, local) case theres 2k of climbing up and over a ridge, down the other side, repeat back to car. Bikers come from either direction. There are also infrequent hikers, runners 1-4 met in 2.5 hours, and very occasional horses (only ever seen sign). Typically meet 5-25 bikers depending on time of day. Trail is up to 15% grade, single track, rainy and in many places there is nowhere to pull off, trail is 10-18" wide. The steepest areas have linked blind corners (switchbacks through tall bushes). On this trail everywhere you can't see you must assume there is a hiker so speed on descent must be checked. One must always be ready to stop or avoid. Imagine how your climb would go if descender had rights? You would need to conservatively cower around every blind corner? Moving up the trail would be impossible. Like trying to walk up an xc race course.

I think, if there is truly a safety issue and you can't stop or safely avoid (laws of physics) then you're not in control and are endangering others. Can you reasonably expect a hiker to avoid a 40mph bike that blasts down out of nowhere? The climber is less agile than the hiker (but not than kids or dogs on leashes).

It is certainly more enjoyable and convenient to bomb down a hill claiming rights but if safety is your argument you are going too fast to be safe.
  • 3 1
 I would rather be stopped going up hill because when you are descending you are having more fun.
  • 2 0
 Climbing sucks, and we all do it just to descend. Why make it worse for the climber?
  • 1 0
 The descender has the right of way at Bootleg Canyon, but the descender also has the responsibility to ensure there is no collision.
  • 5 6
 When driving in the UK the person driving up hill has the right of way but in biking I think it's easier for the person riding up hill to move over because they're going slower so it's easier to move out of the way.
  • 3 2
 bro, nobody cares about the UK. wrong side of the highway
  • 3 1
 we discussed it before, why again?
  • 2 0
 Whoever has the biggest smile on their face gets the right of way.
  • 1 0
 Often times when I'm "climbing", I'm really just hiking my bike on the side of the trail... So I don't mind yielding Smile
  • 2 0
 Anyway, always say: Hi and thank you!
  • 1 0
 So many comments, what should I do. I know, pull over if I'm mobbing downhill for the climbers.. Smile Smile
  • 2 0
 depends on what the section look like.
  • 2 2
 Climbing rider V's descending rider = potential accident.
Who has the easiest option to avoid this potential accident = Climbing rider due to less speed.
  • 4 2
 Horses should be banned! It is not 1859 any more.
  • 3 1
 I give the climber the right way. No biggy
  • 7 7
 Yu climb to the top to get the desent ! Why would yu climb to the top then stop 10 times on way back down
  • 3 3
 I totally agree I've allready done the lug myself up there you ride up hill to go back downhill dont stop the fun bit
  • 1 1
 I always expect to pass on my left or stop if the trail demands, its just plain common sense either way
  • 3 4
 the descender is going faster so it would be harder for them to stop, so out of a safety point of view the climber should have to stop
  • 4 0
 I usually go with that. If a guy is booking it at 20, 25 mph, I'm not going to force him to stop for me to keep spinning on at 3 miles an hour. I can just put a foot down and let him fly by
  • 4 5
 Is this for XC? or are there places with DH trails that don't have climb trails? Then i'd say DH has right of way, especially if its steep.
  • 4 7
 Whoever is having the most fun which is obviously the descender should have the right of way it's why you climb at the end of the day. Why ruin their buzz when your just busting your hump to the top in no rush. Just my opinion on it. It wouldn't bother me to get out of someones way when they're having a time on the way down just heckle them to enhance it yeeeeew.
  • 2 2
 Depends if you're on a mad Strava KOM hunting session, in which case you find a new line around any obstacle!
  • 2 2
 Coming in hot Crested Butte and the brakes don't work. Not gonna smash brakes for road biking.
  • 2 2
 they make 2 way trails?

you mean if someone really, really wanted to they could ride UP a trail?
  • 2 4
 I don't understand the idea that it's harder to regain your momentum going uphill. Going uphill if you stop pedaling you will stop immediately, start pedaling again and you will have the same momentum in 2-3 pedal strokes.
  • 1 3
 The only way I'm giving someone the right of way is if they are on a motorbike, or a horse. Other than that, you better get out of my way cause I was a middle linebacker and I was descent at it.
  • 1 0
 What trails aren't directional is the real question?
  • 1 2
 Work it out as you go along! It's the wild aint it...rules dont apply in the wild Wink
  • 3 3
 is all about the flow, the descend, the fun... so yield to the descender
  • 2 4
 I think the climber pulls over, because the climber can (at most times) hear the DH rider aproaching. Good luck hearing a climber, especially with a full face helmet on.
  • 1 1
 Who ever yells KOM first gets the right o way!!!!
  • 1 1
 I have right of way always STRAAAAAAAAAAAVAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
  • 2 4
 If I get slowed on a downhill section I become aggravated, unlike when I am climbing, then I don't care.
  • 3 6
 Whoever is having the most fun has the right of way....I'd say this favours right of way to the decender
  • 3 6
 XC the climber has the right away, IN DH just get the F@ck out of my way.
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