Bike Trail Etiquette

When out on the trails it’s easy to get wrapped up in the ride, your thoughts, and the beautiful scenery.  Along with having fun, respecting other trail users and the quality of their experience is an important component of an enjoyable ride.  Here are a few ways to demonstrate trail etiquette while riding your bike on the trail:

Photo Source:  Jefferson County Trails

Photo Source:  Jefferson County Trails

  • Obey posted rules, hours of the trail, and pay trail fees when required.

  • Iowa’s trails often travel alongside private property.  Stay on the trail and don’t trespass.

  • Leave it like you found it.  As tempting as it may be to pick the wildflowers or stash that cool looking rock in your bag, opt for a photograph instead.

  • If you come across a fellow cyclist in need of a tube, patch, directions, or a quick phone call, lend a helping hand.  

  • When stopping for a break or to take a photo be sure to move your bike off the trail.  

  • There are many historic structures, plaques, and markers along Iowa trails.  Be respectful and help preserve their significance.

  • Provide a heads up to those you're going to pass.  Call out a friendly hello, ring your bell or the call of the cyclist...“on your left”.

  • Don’t litter.  Keep the trails beautiful by packing out what you packed in.  If you had room in your pocket or bike bag for that energy gel pack or candy bar, there’s still room for the wrapper.

Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure riding Iowa’s bike trails is a positive experience.


Life is short, but there is always time enough for courtesy.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson