Onewheel Trail Etiquette

The number-one way to avoid getting stopped or banned on your Onewheel is to ride with respect—respect for other trail users, respect for the trail itself, and respect for authorities if/when they interact with you. IOWA has assembled these trail etiquette best practices, which we encourage all Onewheel riders to practice no matter where you like to ride.

Ride Responsibly

Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you are coming. A friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners.

Horseback Riders – Yield to No One: Equestrians need space! Due to a horse potentially getting spooked by a Onewheel, bike, or hiker, it is usually considered respectful to stop and wait on the side for horse riders to pass. If a horse gets spooked it can cause physical harm or death to a rider. Walk past and continue to talk, sing or whistle as to not spook the horse. Be especially safe around horses. 

Hikers – Yield to Horses Only: Hikers are expected to yield to horses. Onewheel riders and Mountain bikers should slow down and be careful when letting hikers pass. Be thoughtful and avoid blasting into or dusting a hiker. 

Mountain BikersYield to Horses and Hikers: Mountain bikers must yield to horses and hikers due to the danger present when speeding around trails. Because Mountain bikers have invested so much effort into making these trails rideable, it is a sign of respect to give bikers the right of way. Bikers should yield to other non-motorized trail users unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bikers traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one. 

Onewheel Riders – Yield to Horses, Hikers, and Bikers: Call out when passing and pass with a wide berth at a controlled speed and hop off the board if the trail is too narrow to fit you and the other user at the same time. Your board is silent, and it is easy to sneak up on people from behind and startle them. Use your voice or do your best to alert those you are approaching from behind. People going slow or walking will disrupt other trail users flow or cause dangerous situations. Those going downhill yield to others coming uphill. Follow the correct trail direction if posted.

Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures. Ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that Onewheels are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal wilderness. If asked to leave an area, do not fight it, comply with all local and federal laws.

Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Do not cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in. Do not ride wet or muddy trails. It will damage the trail. If your tire slides at all, it is too wet to be riding. Leave a trail better than you found it. Avoid spinning your tire, especially when trying hills too steep for you. Fix any divots created and pack it down tightly with your heel.  Be aware of current wildfire hazard levels and remember smoking in the forest is never a good idea. Be mindful one small mistake could cause massive damage. Volunteer to help build or maintain trails whenever possible.

Control Your Onewheel: Lack of attention for even a moment could put you and others at risk. Obey all speed regulations and recommendations and ride within your limits. Be aware of where your board may go if you bail, especially if there are people below you. Without a rider, a moving onewheel is a 30lb weapon. If your board gets away from you be prepared to try to grab it or alert anyone using a trail system below you. A leash system may be a good idea for extreme slopes or conditions.

Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

Do not be a noise polluter: Do not blast music for everyone to hear. Remember people are trying to enjoy nature and it disturbs wildlife. Be respectful of all around you and the environment.

Plan Ahead: Look up the trail difficulty before riding and ensure you can handle it. Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear. Pick up litter, even if it’s not yours and offer to help anyone who is stopped.

In summary, the Onewheel community are new users of parks and trail systems equestrians, hikers, bikers, and park rangers have long been maintaining for many years. It is every Onewheel rider’s responsibility to follow proper trail etiquette and help prove our community deserves the same rights of use. Riding responsibly and following proper trail etiquette will help the Onewheel community further gain these rights enjoyed by so many around the world.

Credits and Sources: Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA), IOWA Trailmasters Committee, and Onewheel Arizona .

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