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If you’re a skier, chances are you’ve seen crossed skis (or poles) on the piste when someone has gone down or had an accident and is getting assistance. If you’re a rider, and your friend has gone down on the trail in a vulnerable spot, what do you do? Have you ever seen upside down bikes on the trail?
Responsible Trail Use
Obviously, as with everything, there’s always an element of common sense but where do we stand with an overall, widely known set of standards or overall trail safety and etiquette? The Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland’s ‘Do the Ride Thing’ guide to responsible mountain biking in Scotland is a great starting point with a comprehensive breakdown of things to think about.
We’re not saying that there’s a need to be fully up on the latest guidance. After all, when you go out for a ride you want to get away from everything. However, there is definitely a need to open up the narrative to think about our individual and collective responsibility when it comes to each other, our trails, and where mountain biking is going. There are more of us out there than ever before so the chances of coming across a trail incident are increasing week by week..
If you want to do further reading, here are a few other resources on cycle codes and guidance:
- The Forest Cycle Code from Forestry England.
- British Cycling Trail Etiquette Guide.
- Mountain Bike Code of Conduct, Cycling UK.
So what should we do in this situation? What if it’s not possible to turn around or you’ve come across it on a section of blind trail? Most of us would likely see if there’s anything we could do, but the circumstances will differ depending on where you are, who you’re riding with and the situation itself.
Most of us would likely know what to do, but for new riders or those who haven’t been out in a while, they may not be aware. It’s a good idea for all of us to know what something means if we come across it. The picture above was taken last weekend at Leeds Urban Bike Park. The rider, Darren was on the ground for over an hour before the emergency services arrived. He suffered a broken hip and pelvis in the accident and couldn’t be moved from the trail.
His friends placed their bikes on the lip of the jump to warn other riders. Despite what many of us may think of as an obvious sign of caution or at least that something is amiss, there were riders who simply rode around the single bike that was placed on the trail at first. This lead to the group adding another bike to fully block the trail. One bike, or two – makes no difference. The signal and message is the same. Put the brakes on and prepare to either get out of the way or offer help.
See an upturned bike across the trail? Put the brakes on and be prepared to stop and help if you can.
Crossed skis = Red Triangle = Upturned bike = CAUTION, HAZARD.
Darren’s friend (and cycling guidebook writer), Hannah Collingridge is trying to raise awareness of what this upside down bike signal means if you see it out on the trails.
Crashes happen and sometimes the casualty is badly enough hurt that they can’t be moved until the professionals arrive. The last thing you need when you are dealing with one incident is more trouble landing on you, either literally or figuratively. So protect yourselves by setting up a warning further up the trail. The simplest and quickest tool for this is the one you have with you – your bike. Turn your bike upside down and place it across the trail in a place it can be seen by oncoming riders.Hannah Collingridge
Try to place things in such a way that it will give them adequate time to slow down where possible. Don’t inadvertently create a new hazard.
In future, if you see this on the trails you’ll know what to do. The main thing to take from this is to be aware and if you see this, slow down and go around.
Are there any other unwritten rules or trail etiquette points that you think not many people know? What have you seen out on the trails that people need to be more aware of?
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Upside Down Bikes, Know what it means?
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