Encountering bicyclists on the trails/rds
In my neck of the woods bicycling is hugely popular ~ not only on the roads but most of the parks in the area have bike/horse trails. I am all about sharing the roads etc, but lately the majority of bicyclists are starting to irk me. For starters I often don't hear them approaching until they are right on us! They don't call out a warning, don't talk amongst themselves - nothing. They come up behind, quickly, and whizz past without moving over or even acknowledging our presence. Most of my horses are accustomed to them by now but I had a new horse become very scared once - you would think they would at least slow down when they saw we were having a problem, but they did not. This is becoming a serious issue as the weather warms up and there are larger groups of bicyclists out and about, and for some reason they seem to favor "my" roads. Even my sister (who is typically the most easy going person in the world) is getting really fed up. We had to stop and basically plow into the ditch the other day to allow a group of 25+ to pass...simply because they wouldn't move over enough to let us continue on the narrow shoulder. Has anyone else ever had problems with bicyclists and how should I go about solving this? Like I said, I don't mind sharing the roads, but they act as if they OWN them! If I get thrown one of these days I am really going to lose it... :-(
It might be worth it to put notices about sharing the roads with horses up onto trail bulletin boards (something about horses are easily frightened and when scared pose a significant safety risk to cyclists) and buying yourself an obnoxious coloured safety vest that says "CAUTION".
I tend to just yell at people, and if I need to catch up to them to yell at them profusely my horse runs faster than most cyclists can ride. Most people stop when you yell "HEY! YOU!" and then I give them heck about being dangerous around horses.
I also hate it when you are riding on the side of the road and some idiot decides to honk when they get right up behind you.
Oh yeah.....like I didn't know you were there! Now I have to try to keep my horse from running out in front of you because you scared the crap out of her!! Some people just don't have any common sense.
I think posting about bikes and horses is a great idea. If there is any way you could put up signs every so often on your favorite trails, that would be good too (in case the bikers don't read the bulletin board).
The American Tobacco Trail down here, which is shared hiking/bicycling/horses has very nice signs and leaflets for bicycle riders, text below....
Any of you know to say a quick hello when meeting or passing fellow trail users, a lot of you may not have been on greenways or trails used by horses. The key thing to remember is that "Wheels Yield to Heels". Bicyclists and other wheeled users yield to those on either two or four feet! Hikers should yield to equestrians. If you aren't sure what to do, stop, and let the other trail user pass. Feel free to ask the horse rider what you should do. Most folks riding horses will gladly chat with you about their mount.
If you overtake a horse, cyclist or hiker from behind, make verbal contact with the trail user."On your left" will generally do it. A quick "thanks" after passing is always a good idea.
If while riding your bike, you overtake or meet a horse and rider on a bridge, or in a tunnel, please stop and let the equestrian exit the confined space of the bridge or tunnel. While many horses are OK with other trail users, there may be a few who have never seen a cyclist, or many other people, other than their riders. Help make it as easy on them as possible by stopping and letting them get out of the confined space.
If in doubt with what to do when encountering a horse and rider, particularly in a confined space like a bridge or tunnel, STOP. Let the horse and rider pass. Remember, Wheels Yield to Heels.
wow just a short way up the road at Petersburg VA battlefield the bikers are pretty courteous, most of them overly so , like my horse is made of glass. Stopping and getting off. I tell them speaking is generally all they need to do, at least for the horses I have ridden. Bikes and the jogger baby carriages can be freaky until the person speaks. But bikes are suppossed to yield, and I wouldnt endanger myself or my horse to let them pass. I guess every where I have ridden the trails were wide enough.
Mountain biking is a growing sport. It will continue to be an issue. Most of the ones I run into (hah, figure of speech) are courteous unless they are training for a bike endurance race. I myself do both sports. When I'm on my bike, I wouldn't think of passing a horse on a single trail since I know the danger involved.
Maybe a few bikers need to get hurt to get the point.
Have you taught your horse to kick on command?
I've sometimes thought if I could tach my horse to kick his heels about 5 feet in the air on command, I could intimidate a cycler as he approached.
In reality, Most bikers ar very courteous around here. There are signs along the trail that have a triangle showing who yields to who, Bikers to every body, hikers to equestrians.
It wouldn't take much to print some flyers up on your computer and post them at the trail heads you use.
I generally yell "HEY! HORSES!" and then proceed to educate the bicyclists that horses can be scared of bikes, and they should make themselves known to any horseback rider they encounter so as not to cause a wreck that will usually injure the bicyclist more than the horse or rider. Most bicyclists truly do not realize that a horse cannot tell that the bicyclist is a human on a bike, and just think it is a predator.
When riding on the road or on the trails (both of which we do quite frequently) I pay very close attention to my horse's ears, and can usually tell when there is something coming up in front of us or behind and thus avert the problem.
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