How to Minimize Your Environmental Impact When Biking: 6 Trail Etiquette Rules to Observe

Each year, motor vehicles emit over 80% of carbon monoxide and 30% of carbon dioxide in America. This makes biking a more environment-friendly option than driving a car. If you bike more often than you drive, then you’re taking the first few steps to save the environment.

On the other hand, riding a bicycle can have a negative environmental impact as well in the form of soil erosion and damage to vegetation. But fortunately, there are ways to minimize the potential harm that biking can cause. The International Mountain Bike Association developed trail etiquette rules to promote environmental and social responsibility among bikers.

  1. Don’t leave any trace. Stay on existing trails—they’re made for a good reason: to protect vulnerable muddy, wet, and vegetated trails against damage. This also means you shouldn’t create new trails.
  2. Don’t scare animals. Wild animals can easily be frightenedby a loud noise and a sudden motion. So be conscious of your movements and be careful when passing by horses so that you don’t disturb their peace.
  3. Don’t litter. Keep the trail clean by not throwing your trash anywhere. If you have trash, better take it home.
  4. Don’t go biking when it’s raining. During bad weather, the trail can get wet and muddy. Tires can damage tracks by eroding the soil, so it’s best to cancel your plan in such a condition.
  5. Respect the plants and wildlife. Bike carefully so that you won’t hit and cause damage to anything on the trail.
  6. Keep your bike clean. Before you take out your bike for a ride on a trail, make sure that it’s free of dirt, especially the tires. In doing so, you’ll avoid spreading plant diseases and weeds.

It doesn’t take much effort to help minimize the negative effects of biking on the environment—all it takes to be eco-friendly is to have discipline, mindfulness, and genuine care for nature.