Rider Responsibility Code

Grant Wieler

VMBA has developed rider responsibility code to promote responsible and courteous use of shared-use trails throughout the state. All riders are strongly encouraged to learn the unique cultural expectations surrounding each trail network. The best source of this knowledge is gained through involvement with VMBA Chapters.


1. Ride On Open Trails Only

Respect trail and road closures. If in question contact the local VMBA Chapter if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Regardless if a landowner has legally posted land – do not ride where mountain biking is not explicitly invited. Bicycles are not permitted in areas designated as Federal Wilderness and in many Fish & Wildlife Wildlife Management Areas. Please do a little research if you plan to ride in a new area.

2. Leave No Trace

Be sensitive to the trail resource others have worked very hard to provide for you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than are dry trails. When the trail 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. Trailhead behavior is an important factor in riding access in Vermont. Try to keep the noise down, change out of riding clothes discretely (neighbors are closer than you think) and leave nothing behind. Those folks bordering our networks are impacted by our riding as well – keep them in mind too!

3. Control Your Bicycle

Inattention even for a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits. The best means for accomplishing this important is to look into trails for yourself. If you need more beta, contact the local VMBA Chapter.

4. Yield to Others

Do your utmost to work with your fellow trail users. A friendly greeting goes a long ways in calmly establishing a connection with others. 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 safe and courteous.

5. Never Scare Animals

Animals are easily startled by 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 from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

6. 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 and/or mechanical issues. Always wear a helmet and other appropriate safety gear. Ideally, riders will enjoy the trails in groups of three or more not to exceed 10 riders. Three riders ensures one rider can stay with an injured person while another can go for help if it’s required. It is also recommended you share where you’re riding and an estimated return time to someone at home. In the event there is an issue, help knows where to go, which significantly decreasing response time.
Want to learn more about Winter Fatbike Etiquette? Check out our blog post.

VMBA is committed to promoting our Rider Responsibility Code across the state. In doing so, we have partnered with the following organizations and their mission to encourage responsible and courteous use of our multi-use trails both in Vermont and across the country.

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