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Rules for Paths & Trails

A handy guide for trail etiquette and safety.

Guidelines for Multi-Use Trails and Paths

Paths and trails are often shared by users of all ages and abilities, including bicyclists, walkers, joggers, parents pushing strollers, roller-bladers, and pets. The great variety of users and their varying speeds and mobility can make such riding more unpredictable than riding in the roadway.

  • Always wear a helmet and use safety gear.
  • Ride to the right.
  • Ride single-file when other users are present.
  • Always yield to slower path users.
  • When stopping for a rest or emergency, move completely off the trail.
  • Avoid wearing or using headphones, ear buds, cell phones, radios, or other listening devices while riding so you are not distracted and can be aware of your surroundings.
  • Control your speed, slow down, and use caution when approaching or overtaking other path users.
  • Before passing others, watch your speed and courteously announce your intentions by saying “on your left” or ringing your bike bell.
  • Don’t “spook” children or animals; always yield to them. If passing a horse, use your voice so the horse associates the bicycle with a human.
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals at road crossings.
  • Use proper lights if riding before daylight or after dusk.
  • Point to trail hazards and call out to riders behind you: “Gravel,” “Glass,” etc.
  • Use traffic hand signals when appropriate.

For more information on Minnesota trails, visit

Guidelines for Mountain Biking Trails

Know your equipment and abilities. Carry food, water, and gear for changing weather conditions.

  • Ride only on open trails – respect closures, don’t trespass, and obtain authorization if required.
  • Don’t ride trails when they are wet, this damages the trail tread and leads to ruts and erosion – and more work for trail volunteers.
  • Leave no trace – be sensitive to the environment; stay on existing trails and pack out what you take in.
  • Control your bicycle – pay attention! Anticipate problems and keep your speed under control.
  • Bicyclists always yield – make your approach known and be courteous. Always yield to uphill users. When stopping for a rest or emergency, move completely off the trail.
  • Never spook animals – animals startle easily and can create danger for you and others. Always yield when approaching a horse and ask the rider how to proceed.

For more information on mountain biking in Minnesota, visit