The following are some basic rules and etiquette guidelines to follow for safe and fun riding both for road and MTB rides.
While safety is the top priority for all riders, it is a particular concern for road cyclists who contend with motorised traffic. These simple tips will help you to enjoy your ride, and arrive home safely.
- Wear a helmet at all times – police can and do enforce this law in our area.
- Follow the road rules – you must obey all traffic laws as if you were driving a car. This includes stop signs, giving way and overtaking.
- Radio devices (including headphones) are not permitted while riding.
- Be predictable – give plenty of notice of your intentions (eg use hand/voice signals), ride smoothly and consistently.
- Know your limitations – plan your ride to allow adequate time for breaks, especially if pushing yourself or a beginner.
- If riding in a bunch, call out any changes you are making – “slowing”, “on your left”, “on your right”, “car up”, “car back”. Also call out any approaching hazards “pothole”, “tree limb” etc.
- Do not overlap wheels – your front wheel should not overlap with another’s back wheel.
- Riding single file (two abreast only where safe) in small groups allows motorists and other riders to safely navigate around you and avoids nasty accidents. Use bicycle lanes where available.
- Stay to the left – where no bike lane is available, ride as near as practicable to the left side of your lane. This allows others to pass you safely, and hopefully avoid any unpleasant altercations with motorists.
- Stay together as a group – it is common courtesy if your group is separated (eg at intersections) to soft-pedal until the last riders rejoin the group. This is practicable from a safety point of view as well – watch out for your mates.
- Use caution on descents – watch for signage indicating descents ahead and be prepared to slowly apply your brakes.
- Follow and obey signs to stay true to your course – if in doubt, stop and ask a local – we are a very friendly bunch!
- Please be aware of local conditions – for example, early morning and evening fog can be problematic for riders in the southern tableland, and sudden wet weather on summer afternoons has caught many a cyclist unawares. Ask us for things to be aware of during your trip.
- Always carry snacks and water to keep energy levels up.
- Always carry ID.
The above is adapted from the Amy Gillett Foundation
Rules of the Trail (see also IMBA Australia website)
IMBA developed the “Rules of the Trail” to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails. Keep in mind that conventions for giving way and passing may vary in different locations, or with traffic conditions.
Ride open trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land, and always leave gates as you find them. Obtain permits or other authorization as required.
Leave no trace: Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but tyre-prints. Consider the impact of your ride on wet and/or muddy trails – they are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. Stay on existing trails and do not create new ones. Don’t cut corners including switchbacks.
Safety first: Pay attention to what you are doing and where you are going. Obey all normal road rules, including speed limits, and ride within your ability.
Give way: Let other trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should give way to non-motorized trail users. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill. Apply common sense to ensure a good ride for all! Most of the trails at the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park go in one direction, so this is not usually a problem on this particular ride.
Never scare animals: Animals are easily startled by riders and can pose a danger if they run across the track. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). If you see someone on horseback on the trails, speak out loud, or start talking, so the horse recognises you as a person and is less likely to become startled.
Beware of cattle on or near the roads and native wildlife crossing your path (such as snakes, wallabies, tree kangaroos, possums and even echidnas).
Forward planning: Bike riders love to scheme up new rides, but also make sure you take care of the details. Carry water, food, spares and tools to deal with easy repairs. Helmets are mandatory in Queensland – consider any other safety gear you may need. A first aid kit (including for snake bites) is recommended for MTB rides. Carry necessary supplies for changes in weather and other conditions, and a mobile phone and GPS. Tell a mate where you are going and when you expect to be back, or better yet, take your mate with you and tell someone else (such as the motel receptionist).