Mountain Biking Safety - Alpine Activity

Mountain Biking Safety: 18 Tips to Keep You Safe on the Trails

The prospect of cruising down a winding trail, surrounded by gorgeous scenery, is an adrenaline rush like no other. But before you hit the trails, it’s important to know how to stay safe while mountain biking. Here are some mountain biking safety tips to help you stay safe on the trails.

Always wear a helmet

Always wear a helmet - Alpine Activity
Put on a helmet when mountain biking. Image by Projekt_Kaffeebart from Pixabay

A helmet is your best defense against head injuries in the event of a crash. At one point or another, every mountain biker would fall off their bike on a trail. That is why it is important to be prepared for such occurrences by always wearing a helmet.

It is not just about wearing a helmet. It must be worn correctly in order for it to do its job. Make sure the helmet is positioned squarely on your head and that the straps are snugly fastened.

In addition, wear other safety gear if necessary. Depending on the trail you are biking on, you may need to wear knee and elbow pads.

Check your equipment before you ride

Check your equipment before you ride
Professional MTB bike and helmet with protective goggles for downhill cycling in mountains

It’s important to make sure your bike is in good working order before hitting the trails. Be sure to check the brakes, tires, and gears to make sure they are all functioning properly. If you’re not familiar with how to fix a bike, take it to a local shop for a tune-up.

You don’t want something as simple as a flat tire ruining your day on the trails.

Ride with the right bike

Ride with the right bike
Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

Not all bikes are created equal when it comes to mountain biking. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to invest in a bike that is specifically designed for mountain biking. These bikes have thicker tires and suspensions that make them better suited for off-road riding.

If you’re renting a bike, be sure to ask the rental shop about the type of bike they have available.

Know your limits

Know your limits - Alpine Activity
Image by Reinhard Thrainer from Pixabay

Just because you’re on a mountain bike doesn’t mean you can take on any trail you come across. Be aware of your own limitations and don’t try to tackle trails that are too difficult for you.

If you’re not sure whether a trail is within your skill level, ask a local biker or check out online resources like mountain biking forums.

Be aware of your surroundings

This cannot be stressed enough. It is important to always be aware of your surroundings while mountain biking. This means staying alert to obstacles on the trail and other riders around you.

One way to stay aware of your surroundings is to use verbal cues with other riders. This lets them know when you’re going to pass them or when they need to get out of the way.

Stay on the trail

Stay on the trail - Alpine Activity
Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels

It can be tempting to take a shortcut or explore off the beaten path, but it’s important for safety reasons to stay on the trails. There are all sorts of hazards waiting for you off the beaten path such as cliffs, creeks, and rockslides.

If you do find yourself lost, stay calm and find your way back to the trail.

Don’t rush into corners

Don't rush into corners - Alpine Activity
Photo by Nur Andi Ravsanjani Gusma from Pexels

One of the biggest dangers while mountain biking is losing control on a turn. To avoid this, take it easy when entering a corner and don’t rush in. gradually increase your speed as you approach the turn.

Then, when you’re actually in the turn, use your brakes and weight to keep yourself under control.

Don’t drink and ride.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Alcohol impairs your judgment and coordination and will also slow down your reflexes, making it a dangerous combination while riding a bike.

Save the drinking for after your ride.

Don’t ride on wet or icy trails

Don't ride on wet or icy trails - Alpine Activity
Image by McCloudy from Pixabay

It’s tempting to ride when the weather is nice, but you should avoid riding on wet or icy trails. These conditions make it difficult to maintain traction and can lead to a nasty fall.

If you must ride in these conditions, take it slow and be extra cautious. Read our mountain biking seasonal guide for tips and tricks while mountain biking in different climates and conditions.

Respect trail closures and signage

Respect trail closures and signage - Alpine Activity
Photo by Jens Johnsson from Pexels

If a trail is closed, it’s closed for a reason. Respect the closure and don’t ride on the trail.

Similarly, obey all signage while riding. This includes speed limit signs, stop signs, and warnings about dangerous conditions.

When descending, use your brakes

Use your brakes when descending, especially on wet or icy trails. This will help you to maintain control of your bike and avoid a nasty fall.

Don’t overdo it

It’s important to remember that mountain biking is a sport and should be enjoyed in a safe and responsible manner. Don’t try to take on trails that are too difficult for you or ride beyond your abilities.

Remember, the goal is to have fun while staying safe.

Take breaks often and Stay Hydrated

Mountain biking is a strenuous activity and it’s important to take breaks often to give your body a chance to recover.

In addition, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This will help you stay alert and avoid fatigue.

Don’t Ride Alone

Credit: Pixabay

It’s always a good idea to ride with someone else, especially if you’re new to mountain biking. This will help you to stay safe and make sure you don’t get lost.

If you do find yourself in a precarious situation, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of other riders out there who would be happy to lend a hand.

Ride on the right side of the trail

When riding on a trail, always stay on the right side. This will allow oncoming riders to pass you safely.

Don’t ride too close to other riders

When passing other riders, be sure to give them plenty of room. You don’t want to run into them or cause them to fall.

Be prepared for emergencies

Mountain biker injured after a serious accident

Pack a small first-aid kit and carry a cell phone with you while mountain biking. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to have everything you need close at hand.

If you’re injured, don’t try to continue riding. Get off your bike and seek help from a friend or passerby.

Use common sense

This one is probably the most important of all the tips listed here. Use common sense when mountain biking and you’ll be less likely to find yourself in danger. If something doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t.

Mountain biking is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the scenery. Just make sure you follow these safety tips to avoid any accidents. Wearing a helmet is essential, as is staying aware of your surroundings. Be careful on wet or icy trails and don’t drink and ride. Use common sense and you’ll be fine! Have fun out there!


Alpine Activity provides informational guides for all kinds of mountain and mountaineering activities. Our content is written and reviewed by an experienced team of outdoor enthusiasts; making us your most reliable source of information, advice, resources, and recommendations to improve your overall mountain/ outdoor experience.