Trail Safety (The 3 S's : Stop, Stand, & Speak)

Share Trails Safely

Stock Encounters on the Trail
3 - S

Common Goals

  • Responsible trail users appreciate our public lands
  • Beauty and recreation
  • Successful sharing helps all users maintain the use of public lands

Share the Trail To foster safe cooperation

  • Respect each other
  • Work cooperatively
  • Understand another user’s challenges

Equine Behaviors

  • Equines have personalities and temperaments. Encounters on the trail require the rider to deal with both the equine and other user’s behavior.
  • Horses (and mules) are ‘prey animals’. Their natural instinct is ‘fright = flight’. Always Stop, Stand, and Speak to the rider in a calm, clear, reasonable tone of voice.
  • Move to the downhill side of the trail when encountering riders. Anything on the trail that is above a horse can be perceived as a predator.

Remember to Stop, Stand downhill, and Speak to the rider and horse.

Trail encounters can be an enjoyable social exchange. Listed below are some guidelines that will help all users share and enjoy the trails responsibly.

Common Courtesy For All Trail Users

  • Respect all trail restrictions – use approved mode only, pet restrictions, hazard alerts.
  • Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
  • Be watchful for other types of trail users on multi use trails.
  • Slow down when sight lines are poor.
  • Keep noise and dust down.
  • Keep your ears open - Listening to headphones or ear buds can make it difficult to hear and communicate.
  • Keep pets under control. Be familiar with local rules regarding pets on the trail.

Yielding on the Trail

  • Yield the right of way to those passing you from behind or traveling uphill.
  • Motorized vehicles yield to bicyclist, hikers (runners), and horses.
  • Bicyclist yield to hikers (runners), and horses.
  • Hikers (runners) and bicyclist yield to horses.

Hiker and Runner Guidelines

  • Always Stop, Stand Downhill, and Speak clearly when you encounter horses or other stock on the trail.
  • Speak in a calm and friendly tone of voice that they can hear.
  • If you are wearing a pack that extends above your head and the horse seems nervous consider removing it until they pass.
  • Some runners (and hikers) wear ear buds or headphones. This can result in a ‘head down’ focus and the user is unaware of others on the trail. Please be considerate of the safety of all users on a multi use trail and be  a ‘hearing’ participant as a trail user.
  • If you have a pet with you keep it under control. Follow leash regulations where required.

Bicyclists Guidelines

  • Keep an eye out and be alert for other users. Go slowly on short sight areas and be cautious. This is important
  • for encountering all users.
  • Pull to the side of the trail, preferably on the downhill side, as soon as you see horse.
  • You may have to remove your helmet if you are wearing one. The horse will more likely recognize you as a human.
  • Speak to the oncoming riders and horse in a friendly, relaxed tone.
  • If a horseback rider has pulled off to the side first please do not assume it is safe to pass. Stop and wait for
  • the rider to tell you what is safe to do.
  • Some bicyclists wear ear buds or headphones. This can result in a ‘head down’ focus and the user is unaware of
  • others on the trail. Please be considerate of the safety of all users on a multi use trail and be a ‘hearing’
  • participant as a trail user.

OHV Rider Guidelines

  • Keep an eye out and be alert for other users. Go slowly on short sight areas and be cautious. This is important for
  • encountering all users.
  • Pull to the side of the trail, preferably on the downhill side, as soon as you see horses.
  • Shut off your motor. You may need to remove your helmet if you are wearing one. The horse will more likely
  • recognize you as a human.
  • Speak to the oncoming rider and horse in a friendly, relaxed tone.
  • If a horseback rider has pulled off to the side first please do not assume it is safe to pass. Stop and wait for the
  • rider to tell you what is safe to do.

Equestrian Guidelines

  • Be sure your horse has been trained and seasoned for the trail. Be responsible and take the time to make sure your horse is familiar with being on a trail, trail obstacles, and encountering hikers and runners, bicyclist, OHVs, and other animals.
  • Safety First! Get off your horse if that is the safe thing to do.
  • Make sure your horse is comfortable with hikers wearing large packs that extend above their head.
  • Introduce your horse before you go to dogs and other animals you may encounter on the trail, such as llamas, alpacas, cows, and sheep.
  • Be alert for other trail enthusiasts. If possible pull to the side of the trail when you hear oncoming OHVs or bicyclists. Make your encounter with them a positive experience.
  • Allow the ‘trail wise’ horses and riders to lead those with less experience.
  • If you are ‘ponying’ additional stock, go slowly and never take a loose horse (even a colt) on the trail.
  • If you have a dog with you make sure your dog is under control at all times. Follow any leash laws or no pet laws that are required.
  • Speak politely and respectfully to all users. Ask them to speak up clearly back to you if they have not done so.
  • Help other users to understand what a ‘good’ encounter on the trail is all about.
  • Scoop the poop! at all staging areas and kick it off the trail. Other users will greatly appreciate your sensitivity to their ‘boots and wheels on the ground’ experience.
  • At trailheads or staging areas park your vehicle and secure your stock that provides a safe distance for passing traffic and people.

Summing It Up

Public lands offer all of us the joys of recreating in the great outdoors. Share the trails responsibly and respectfully.

Remember, when you encounter a rider STOP, STAND, and SPEAK … AND SMILE

See you on the trails!