Colorado weather is notoriously indecisive this time of year, but warm and sunny weather is coming. Really — we mean it! Even with the spring rain, many Coloradoans have started hitting the trails for hiking and biking adventures. And who could blame them? Our state is well-known for gorgeous locales that just beg to be traveled upon.

Before you venture outdoors for your next big hike, there are some things you might not realize about the regulations of hiking and biking in Colorado. We’re probably not going to blow your mind right now, but what we’d like to do is clue you in on some key factors to keep in mind before you hit the trails.

Yield While on the Trail, As Needed

Several areas in Colorado can get quite busy as everyone heads outside to enjoy the weather and get some exercise. In order to remain safe, it is important that you learn the appropriate times to yield to others. Here are the basic guidelines to follow:

  • Bikers yield to pedestrians and skaters
  • Faster hikers/bikers yield to slower persons
  • Downhill bikers/hikers yield to uphill bikers/hikers
  • Bikers/hikers/pedestrians yield to equestrians

Leave No Trace of Your Visit

The landscape of Colorado is breathtaking, and keeping it that way for generations to come is all of our responsibility. Whether you’re hiking or biking on a trail, be sure that you leave no trace of your visit. This means not to trample any vegetation, throw trash on the ground, or disturb the wildlife that you may come across.

Even innocent-seeming items like apple cores and banana peels can disrupt the natural ecosystem. Yes, animals can eat them — but that doesn’t mean they won’t cause any damage. Best to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace.

Bike-Only Pilot Program

Last year, Jefferson County, Colorado initiated an experiment reserving two trails solely for bikers — no hikers allowed. If this proves to be successful in terms of overall flow and citizen appreciation, then it is likely to be expanded to other similar areas. As a hiker or a biker, you’ll likely encounter trails that allow for biking some days and hiking on the others. Just make sure to check ahead of time and read all signage to avoid what could be a steep fine for using the trail on the “wrong” day!

“On Your Left” Really Is a Thing

“On your left!” may seem jarring to hear, but we’re here to tell you that it’s an important piece of etiquette whether you are biking, hiking, or running. Just like traffic flow, you always want to stay to the right if you’re going a bit slower, and if you pass someone, do it on the left side and feel free to use the common phrase.

What to Do If You’re Injured on the Trail

Millions of people hike and bike every day without any kind of incident, but it’s important to know what to do if you are injured on the trail. First off, you should either be hiking or biking on a well-traveled trail or have someone with you (preferably both). Either way, assess your injuries and call for help. If the injury is serious, be sure not to move if you think anything is broken or sprained. Next, if someone else was involved in the accident, get that person’s information and report the accident to the police. And, in that particular type of situation, contact a personal injury attorney right away to protect your rights.

Follow the Leash Laws

We love our dogs in Colorado, and we love to take them hiking with us. Just remember that it’s essential, both in a legal sense and for safety, to obey the leash laws. Unless an area has been specifically designated as a place where your dog is free to be off its leash, don’t risk violating this regulation or you will face hefty fines.

Since so many Coloradans love the outdoors, hiking and biking safety is a huge concern. Chances are, you’ll be perfectly safe during your adventures in the great outdoors, but if you have any accidents on the trail, contact the experienced attorneys of Mintz Law Firm for a free consultation.