Anonymous on 11/22/2011 2:36:18 PM:
Several years back, Ralph asked why bikers should yield to horses, and hikers should yield to bikers...I did not see anyone leave an answer to his question.
First, thanks for asking it. And second, I am not condoning or or agreeing with the system...I am just explaning the logic behind it.
And that is, those with the most control yield to those with less control. A hiker is on his feet, and is pretty surely entirely in control of his body. In other words, it is easier to maneuver YOUR BODY than it is a 4ft long frame of metal. Since it is easier for the body to maneuver, it makes sense, from a "safety for all" standpoint, for that body to yield to all other traffic.
A bicycle, while more difficult to maneuver than just your own body, is still a bike, under your control. As a hiker, you expect the biker to know enough to steer around you...but if he doesn't, can more quickly jump out of the way than the biker can divert his bike.
And the horse, while it *should* be trained to handle everything it encounters on the trail, is still a horse - a living being with a mind of its own. And while 99.9% of them are under their riders control, if the rider loses that control, they can do no more than the biker who plummeted off the river bank...
Of the 3, the horse is the one with the biggest possibilty of incident. The walker with the least. If everyone hits the trail abiding by a known standard of who yields to who, regardless of what that is - everyone will have a better, and safer, time.
And for Ralph, from a personal perspective, horses are fight or flight animals, and if they are not familiar with a bicycle, they may see it as an angry bear wanting to eat them. They have to be taught that bicycles are harmless. All horses on the trail should be taught that, but the catch 22 is that it requires exposure to teach the horse...no bike - no lesson. So you may encounter a horse who still isn't sure about bicycles.
Personally, I al