Whether you’re a brand new cyclist or a veteran of the road and trails, knowing and observing these rules will help ensure your safety and make for a better ride. Respect for all who share the trail and road, including drivers, pedestrians, animals, and other cyclists, will create a friendly environment for all.
RULES OF THE TRAIL
The way we ride today shapes the mountain bike’s trail access of tomorrow. We must all do our part to preserve and enhance our sport’s access and image by observing the rules, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. IMBA’s mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible and their rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers.
Ride on Open Trails Only
Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain), avoid trespassing on private land, and obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state wilderness areas are closed to cycling. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.
Leave No Trace
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils and trail construction and practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
Control Your Bicycle
Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.
Always Yield the Trail
Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yield by slowing down, establishing communication, being prepared to stop if necessary, and passing safely.
Never Scare Animals
Animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if you are uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.
Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
RULES OF THE ROAD
Obey Traffic Laws
The same laws that apply to motorists also apply to cyclists. Always ride with traffic and never against it, unless specifically directed like in two-way bicycle lanes. Obey traffic signs and signals, and observe others’ right-of-way. Yield to pedestrians. Ride predictably and in a straight line and don’t swerve in the road or between stopped cars.
Be Safe and Make Sure You’re Seen
Use hand signals, like pointing to where you want to turn, to indicate stops and turns to others. Make eye contact with motorists at stops to determine if they've seen you, and don't expect them to do the right thing at all times. Wear a properly fitting helmet, no matter how short the trip. Be visible using lights and wearing brightly colored and reflective clothing that provides contrast. When riding at night, Texas law mandates a front white light visible from at least 500 feet and a red rear taillight be used.