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Mountain Bike Safety and COVID-19

Stay Home.

“Right now, protecting each other is more important than mountain biking. Staying home is essential to safeguard our communities and slow the spread of COVID-19. Our trails will be waiting for us. IMBA wants to make sure we will all be there for our trails.”
—Dave Wiens, IMBA Executive Director

For Mountain Bikers

The safest possible choice is to enjoy fresh air and sunshine in your own neighborhood. Depending on where you live, this may mean foregoing time on trails in order to protect communities. Check with your state and local governments for information about stay-at-home orders and facility closures, and with your nearest IMBA Local partner for the most relevant riding information in your community. Refer to the CDC for best practices on preventing the spread of COVID-19.
 

Are trails open? Are trails closed?

Check with the park, land manager and/or local government regularly for updates. This information is changing rapidly. Some governments have identified parks and trails as essential facilities, others have closed parks and trails due to overcrowding. When in doubt: stay home.


Is it safe to ride trails?

Do you live in a densely populated area? If so, it will likely be hard to consistently practice safe social distancing on local trails. You may hate this, but consider riding roads, gravel, paths, or even riding indoors as safer alternatives for social distancing. Remember, it's only temporary! If you are considering going to a local trail, try off-peak hours and take cues from the trailhead to assess whether the trail is crowded. Always be ready to abandon your plans for safety. When in doubt: stay home.


What if I don’t have trails close to home? 

Get fresh air and stay healthy through other recreation options in your neighborhood. The trails aren't going anywhere and the most important thing to do today is slow the spread of COVID-19.


Please, ride cautiously. No crashing allowed!

If you do choose to ride, it is imperative to ride within your skill level. This will minimize the strain on healthcare facilities and avoid exposure risks for yourself and for medical staff.


What if I had a trip planned?

Postpone any trips for now, and wait to reschedule until the safe timeline to do so becomes clear. We know this is difficult and disappointing. But to protect small towns and gateway communities, mountain bikers and all recreationists have a responsibility to stay home. In fact, your favorite destination might be requesting it. When in doubt: stay home.


Should mountain bikers host group rides or trail work days?

Please cancel, postpone or reschedule upcoming events including races, trail work, and group rides until there are new government directives.


How can trail users pass responsibly with social distance?

Stay alert, slow down, and communicate with each other from a distance about how to proceed. Better yet, take the initiative to yield and offer space. With gyms and rec centers closing, there may be new users on the trails. It’s a great time for community education on responsible riding and for being patient, exemplary stewards.


Do I need to practice social distance with my family?

On local trails and at traiIheads, model social distance with everyone, at all times, in order to set the example for other trail users. Social distance is at least two bike lengths.
 

For IMBA Local Partners

If you are currently working through your own recommendations, please err on the side of caution, encourage social distancing, and first and foremost, keep all communities safe. We will continue to provide guidance in your weekly resource newsletters.


Communicate with local land agencies

Let your land agencies know if you are providing guidance to your members and supporters. Work together to reschedule projects and events once a safe timeline to do so becomes clear. Work with the land manager to post trailhead safety guidance, if possible.


Communicate with members and supporters

Keep your network of riders informed of local government information, trail updates and any facility closures as best you can. Quick emails with a link or a social media post will help.


Communicate with IMBA

Let us know what challenges you are facing locally and how we can help.


Continue work for more trails close to home

Virtual meetings: limiting your events doesn’t mean you have to limit your organizational meetings. Online resources like Google Meet and Free Conference Call allow you to have virtual meetings or conferences.

Planning: Use your virtual meeting time to put together plans and strategies. As your events are postponed or cancelled, it could free up time for you and your board to put together plans and strategies you may have been holding off on.

Survey your membership: With many companies requiring their employees work from home or limiting the hours they’re able to work, it’s a good time to send out surveys to get feedback and have two-way communications with your community.
 

Stay up-to-date

Our partners at PeopleforBikes are tracking relevant mandates and riding guidelines state-by-state. Some cities or counties may have guidance that conflicts with state mandates, and in those instances turn to the local government for clarification on which guidance to follow.


Last updated: April 1, 2020

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