09 Apr Safety First on the Copper Harbor Bike Trails!
Bike Trail Safety Tips
- No brainer (if you have one) – wear a helmet. And if you’re the dare-devil type riding the serious gravity stuff, best to be wearing a full-face helmet. In fact, it is a good idea to armor up your whole body if you’re going to be riding the heavy-duty, extreme jumps and features – elbow, knee and shin pads, along with protective gear for your chest and back, too.
- Be honest with yourself – know your riding level and ride the appropriate trails. All the trails are designated as beginner (green), intermediate (blue), advanced (black diamond) and experts only (double black diamond). A collision or crash can easily be avoided by not being on a trail you don’t belong. Sure you can always, “walk-it-out-when-in-doubt,” however if you find yourself walking down a double black diamond gravity trail, you’re endangering yourself and other riders.
- Know your location and get a map. If you seriously don’t know all 35+ miles of trails here like the back-of-your-hand, always carry a trail map. It’s a critical tool for learning the nearest access points. REMEMBER, NO CELL SERVICE in Copper Harbor and rescues can be distant and time-consuming! Additionally, keep track of where you’re at by observing the clearly-marked intersection numbers. (Note: Emergency 911 Phones are located at the Copper Harbor Visitor Center and the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge)
- Be aware of the weather. Boardwalks and rock faces can be extremely slippery when wet!
- Read and reread the rules of the trails! And if you haven’t done so already, we’ve included IMBA’s “Rules of the Trail” below for you to read…. happy trails and safe riding all!
These guidelines for behavior are recognized around the world. IMBA developed the “Rules of the Trail” to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails. Keep in mind that conventions for yielding and passing may vary, depending on regional traditions, traffic conditions and the intended use of the trail.
- Ride on Open Trails Only. Respect trail and road closures – ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail.
- Leave No Trace. Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on the trail 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 moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and ride within your limits.
- Yield To Others. Do your utmost to let your fellow 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 yield to all other trail users unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. Strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one (ie “On your left” and “Thank You”.
- Never Scare Animals. Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions for horseback riders. Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.
- Plan ahead. Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding–and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: 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.
- Last, but not least, help to keep trails open be setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling!
Related Blog Post: Top Five Views from Copper Harbor Trails
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