The way we ride today shapes mountain bike trail access tomorrow. Do your part to preserve and enhance our sport's access and image by observing the following rules of the trail, formulated by IMBA, the International Mountain Bicycling Association. These rules are recognized around the world as the standard code of conduct for mountain bikers. IMBA's mission is to promote mountain bicycling that is environmentally sound and socially responsible.
1. Ride On Open Trails Only and follow Rules and Guidelines set by the Landowners.
Follow all trail signage. Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.
In the Elk Valley, there are two areas which have special rules:
- The Mount Proctor cattle gated area (Swine Flu, Mad Cow, TLC) has a NO DOG policy. If you are planning to ride in this area, please leave the dog at home.
- The Wig Wam Flats is a special access management area. Dogs must be on leash at all times. Only non motorized use is allowed beyond the yellow gate in Elko. Bikers are not permitted along the Wigwam River Rim roads and trail from March 1 - June 14 as this is Bighorn sheep lambing season. Bikers are asked to stick to establisehd roads. Do not disturb the animals and the grasslands.
- See also #7 below for special rules during the winter in groomed areas.
2. Leave No Trace.
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognize different types of soils, drainage and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage, so avoid them and choose better draining trails or chill from riding until it dries out. When the trailbed is soft, consider other riding options. This also applies during the winter time in groomed areas.
This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. If there is a puddle, try riding through it instead of around, which widens the trail over time. Do some trail maintenance while you are out there if you can by draining puddles and cutting out deadfall. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
3. Control Your Bicycle!
Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.
4. Always Yield Trail.
Bikers should yield to those on foot. In most cases, the downhill bike rider should yield to the uphill rider.
Let your fellow trail users know you're coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establishing communication, being prepared to stop if necessary and passing safely.
5. Never Scare Animals.
All animals are startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. This includes keeping your dog on a leash so that it does not chase animals. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.
6. Plan Ahead.
Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding -- and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
Keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling.
7. Winter Biking on groomed multi-use trails:
- ONLY ride in areas that allow biking. The Elk Valley Nordic Centre and the Golf Course groomed trails DO NOT allow biking; these are for nordic skiing only. Ridgemont, the Island Lake Lodge road, Lazy Lizard, Montane and the groomed cross country ski trails at Fernie Alpine Resort are multi-use, but follow the signage. At Montane there are signs which explain where you can go with tires (multi-use) and where you can't (NORDIC ONLY). It's a privilege not a right to be able to use this land for recreating, so take the time to read and follow the signs. At Montane, please remember, BLUE = Multi-Use, GREEN = NORDIC ONLY.
- YIELD to all other users when riding and ride in control; you've got brakes, but other's don't. Also yield to motorized vehicles.
- WAIT until it firms up; only ride when you are not leaving a groove deeper than one inch (IMBA standards). If there is a firmer part of the trail, ride there. Try to ride to the outermost part of the trail, not down the middle. Be respectful of the cost and volunteer effort that goes into the grooming.
- DO NOT ride on, over or in the classic set tracks.
- LEAVE room for other users and motorized vehicles to pass (don't ride side-by-side blocking the full trail).
BE POLITE and follow all of the other rules of the trail area:
- Obey all trail access and vehicle signs;
- Be respectful and be cautious of wildlife;
- Keep your dogs on leash and under control at all times.