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COVID-19 and Outdoor Recreation

7 Apr 2020 10:47 AM | Anonymous

“Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected!” SDMB’s Recommendations for Trail Use Amid COVID-19

In light of Governor Ducey’s Stay-at-Home executive order for Arizonans to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” (which goes into effect today at 5pm and will last until at least April 30), SDMB would like to remind members and the greater Tucson mountain biking community of proper behavior and trail etiquette in these uncertain times. With many individuals having extra free time or working from home in recent weeks, many local trails have become more popular than usual. We understand that many are already going stir crazy, but now is the time to prioritize safe trail use and interactions above challenging yourself with technical riding or riding in social groups. We want you all (and all other trail users) to be able to stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times.

While all local trail network remain open (for now), SDMB has already been notified about negative trail interactions and trailhead resource damage within the last month. With stay-at-home orders in place, please consider not riding for the time being; however, if you arrive at a trailhead and it is busy, please consider going somewhere less popular. With social distancing guidelines in place, please keep rides short and mellow (no trips to the ER!), ride by yourself or with people you live with, and make sure remain a safe distance from other users while out on the trails. It’s more important than ever to follow SDMB’s Be Cool guidelines: 1) "Slow your Roll" - control your speed, especially on trails with short sight-lines, 2) "Respect Others" - yielding to all other trail users and uphill riders, and 3) "Pay Attention" - watch out for other trail users at all times and don't ride up on someone at Mach 5, always use a bell to let other users know you are approaching. It is up to us to set a good example of proper trail etiquette for other trail users, especially where time on the trail may be the only outlet for the next month. Let’s all do our part and keep ourselves safe while still getting out and responsibly using the trails.

 Take a peek at our below recommendations for trail use to learn about how you can help keep the outdoors safe and enjoyable for all users (borrowed from Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz).

SDMB Recommendations:

Stay home as much as possible!

Exercise and sanity are absolutely important, however, we recommend that everyone stay at home as much as possible until this situation passes. Countries that have figured out how to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 have all enacted much stricter social distancing measures than we are experiencing here in Arizona.

If you do go out, act as if everyone you encounter out on the trails has the virus (even if they don’t!)

Give plenty of room (at least 6 feet), wash your hands frequently, and bring hand sanitizer with you on rides just in case you need it.

Do not drive to a riding location

Following Arizona guidelines, only drive across town for the absolute essentials! Car crashes are no joke, and driving to the trailhead is unacceptable right now, as automotive transport facilitates virus spread between communities. Get to know your local park, or explore new areas nearby home.

Please, do not ride/hike/do anything in large groups, aim for solo activities as much as possible!

Gathering in a large group and hitting the trails increases the chance of virus transmission between members of your group as well as transmission to other trail users. As a large group, you create a bigger obstacle for other users and set a bad example for the outdoor community.

Tell your housemates your route, share your location with them on your phone and provide them with an expected return time if you are concerned for your safety when heading out for a solo ride.

Building on the previous warning, do not shuttle under any circumstances!

Gathering together in a car, driving to a new area, and riding in a group is a dangerous and unnecessary risk to put on yourself and the community you are visiting. Maintaining the recommended 6’ between yourself and others is not possible in a car with all your buds.

In the event that parks shut down, please respect closures

If closures do occur, they are for the best of our community’s health. Respect the experts here, and avoid closed areas at all times.

Pick off-hours to ride, and avoid times of heavy traffic

If you do choose to enjoy the outdoors, pick a time when you believe there will be low traffic on the trails.

For example, riding at 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday is likely better than riding at 10:00 a.m.

 Keep rides short and conservative if you do choose to enjoy the trails

We know that injuring yourself is never the goal when enjoying the outdoors. That said, stay in your comfort zone and do not put unnecessary pressure on emergency services or our trails.

Our health system cannot support additional emergencies right now, and no one wants to be the one to distract medical resources from an ongoing pandemic.

Keep your rides short and sweet for the time being. Give others ample opportunity to enjoy the trails!

 Use the bathroom before your ride, and avoid snot rockets while on the trail

Many public restrooms are closed (they’re a huge vector for disease!), so do your business before hitting the trail.

No one wants to encounter your snot during their park visit, especially if it could cause transmission.

Do not share food or tools

This isn’t the time to swap snacks or share gear. Keep your tools to yourself, and if you absolutely must help someone out, sanitize tools before and after use.

 Give people the space and time they need to use the trail safely

Slow down more than usual, and give fellow trail users more room than you may normally give should you need to pass.

Now is a time to prioritize the experience of others. Keep trail interactions safe, kind and respectful.

Speak up if others are not following these recommendations! Share this knowledge.

If you encounter a group of folks shuttling or disrespecting social distances, say something to them in a respectful and informative way.

We’re in this together and need to hold one another accountable.


Please remember - your choices have consequences! Any of the choices in the above could easily apply to going out for a group ride on our trails.

We know that times are hard right now, but please take the time to slow down and think through the way you use trails and interact with others during this time.

Stay safe,

SDMB Board

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