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Unread 08-01-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
RockyMnt1
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Colorado mountain driving rule

Since most of the mountain passes are finally opening up up here and the fact that this is the second weekend in a row that I have encountered this situation, I thought that I would post for the benefit of those that might be heading up to do some mountain wheeling.

UPHILL VEHICLES HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY in Colorado. If I am travelling up hill, the down hill vehicle needs to figure out a plan to get out of my way. You can:

1) find a pull out wide enough for both vehicles to safely pass
2) back up (even uphill)

As you travel a trail, note possible passing places or the distance to back up to one.

Now, having mentioned the right of way rule, some common sense needs to be applied. I was going uphill on a shelf road (with a 1000 ft drop off on one side) and met a group of 14 jeeps coming down hill. There certainly wasn't enough pullouts for all of that traffic. I backed down .1 miles to allow them to pass. No problem. If I am going uphill near a pullout and spot a downhill vehicle, I have no problem pulling over and allowing them to pass. If you pull over going downhill, and I don't think that it is safe to pass, I will be asking you to revise your plan and/or think of something else. If I am going uphill and stop to allow you to pass and you damage my vehicle trying to pass, your insurnace company will be getting a claim from me.

If you are going down hill, be aware of approaching uphill vehicles and start formulating a plan early. Don't wait until we meet face to face on a shelf road, unless you like backing up. This happened to me yesterday. I had a downhill guy tell me that he couldn't or shouldn't have to back up going up hill. WTF?

I pull over and/or stop for 4 wheelers/motorcycles. They generally go faster than I can, but the vehicle being overtaken has the right of way, so don't touch my vehicle if you pass me.

I stop for hikers/horses. Vehicles can sometimes spook horses.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's all have fun out there.

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Unread 08-01-2011, 05:18 PM   #2
Mobile_Homie
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I am sure your post will be greek to many here, but I remember hearing that rule years ago. I think it pertains to all one lane mountain roads.
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Unread 08-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #3
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those are all good rule and should be in play everywhere. especially when there is a dropoff that big!
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Unread 08-01-2011, 05:38 PM   #4
JimWilliamson
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I've yet to be on mountain trails and this rule is known to me already (before your post though I am interested in trail etiquette & rules).

I'm curious as to why the uphill vehicle has the right of way. Anyone know why?
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Unread 08-01-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
KingtheZJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilliamson View Post

I'm curious as to why the uphill vehicle has the right of way. Anyone know why?
harder to stop then get going again. this definitely applies to us east coasters when youre going up a muddy slope/trail. often you have to take multiple runs at it.
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Unread 08-01-2011, 05:47 PM   #6
Mobile_Homie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilliamson View Post
I've yet to be on mountain trails and this rule is known to me already (before your post though I am interested in trail etiquette & rules).

I'm curious as to why the uphill vehicle has the right of way. Anyone know why?

I am guessing because when these roads were built by the miners, for the miners, the truck going uphill loaded (with mining supplies) probably could not get going again, but the empty truck going down could always back up.

Just a guess...
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Unread 08-01-2011, 06:02 PM   #7
CaptainSlow001
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All those rules should apply to mountain biking as well. You know what I noticed? I see the other guy coming first 99% of the time. I'm the one to yield 90% of the time regardless of my direction of travel. People are idiots, even people who enjoy the outdoors like us.
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Unread 08-01-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
JimWilliamson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobile_Homie View Post
I am guessing because when these roads were built by the miners, for the miners, the truck going uphill loaded (with mining supplies) probably could not get going again, but the empty truck going down could always back up.
Just a guess...
LOL - sound's logical - but then my mind said "hey..." My guess would be the mining truck heading down would be loaded with ore and the up would be empty.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 09:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimWilliamson View Post
I've yet to be on mountain trails and this rule is known to me already (before your post though I am interested in trail etiquette & rules).

I'm curious as to why the uphill vehicle has the right of way. Anyone know why?
Backing uphill is safer than backing downhill.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 09:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainSlow001 View Post
All those rules should apply to mountain biking as well. You know what I noticed? I see the other guy coming first 99% of the time. I'm the one to yield 90% of the time regardless of my direction of travel. People are idiots, even people who enjoy the outdoors like us.
I don't know about the mountain biking thing. The other is due to them being tourists, pumpkin rollers from east river, or a combination of the two.
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Unread 10-09-2011, 01:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainSlow001 View Post
All those rules should apply to mountain biking as well. You know what I noticed? I see the other guy coming first 99% of the time. I'm the one to yield 90% of the time regardless of my direction of travel. People are idiots, even people who enjoy the outdoors like us.
This. I hate when I'm in that uphill groove or on a super tech section and some peckerhead comes flyin' down with no regard to me. Getting started again on those sections sucks as much on a bike as it does in a Jeep. Look ahead of you!
BTW yes I do yield to the uphill rider.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 12:23 AM   #12
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edit: re-reading the posts, "dbrunk's" post says the same thing.

Perhaps a logical thought on the topic...

It involves better road/trail visibility.

Seeing out of a rear window is often degraded (vs via the front window). As such, between the two vehicles, the downhill vehicle would have a hard time seeing the trail from their rear view window (the trail dips down) whereas the uphill vehicle would have a reasonable view of an uphill trail (trail rising up and into the view).

At least, for me, if I had to back up I'd rather be the uphill vehicle as then I'd be looking at trail extending "up" which is easier to see.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 06:22 AM   #13
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I know when I was in WA the log trucks basically had right of way either direction. They were working so they went first.
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Unread 11-08-2011, 12:01 PM   #14
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Any rules about wheeling at night in CO?
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Unread 11-15-2011, 03:34 AM   #15
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One explanation is that when they were mining back in the day, the trucks didn't have fuel pumps so they had to back up the trails in order to get gas to the engine. Maybe the rule was established then?
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