Trail Etiquette

Two cyclists on a flat gravel trail

Nova Scotia’s extensive rails to trails networks offer some of the best and most approachable bicycling experiences available for riders of all ages and abilities. Nova Scotia’s three destination trails: The South Shore’s Rum Runners Trail, Inverness County’s Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, and the Annapolis Valley’s Harvest Moon Trailway are among the most popular and well-known sections of the rails to trails system. Each trail offers a distinct regional Nova Scotia experience that riders of all levels can enjoy.

As more Nova Scotians and visitors explore the trails it is important to raise awareness about etiquette. Nova Scotia’s rails-to-trails are shared trails. Bicycling, walking and jogging are the most popular activities in most places, but many segments are open to and enjoyed by people on off-highway vehicles and horseback as well. No matter who you are, we all need to expect and respect other trail users, pass with class, leave no trace, and value volunteers.

Wheels Yield to Heels

Bicycles travel more quickly than pedestrians and make little noise. This can be surprising and uncomfortable for other trail users. It is important to pass appropriately, to ensure other users have an enjoyable trail experience.


Basic Trail Etiquette:

  • Know and obey posted trail rules
  • Stay to the right of the trail
  • Follow the posted speed limit (most trails are 20km/h)
  • Slow down at corners
  • Stay on the trail
  • Clean up after yourself

When approaching someone on foot:

  • Signal your approach, using your bell or your voice
  • Give adequate room when passing, and slow down if necessary

When you see the distinctive harness and handle of a seeing eye dog:

When you see the harness and handle distinctive of seeing eye dogs:

  • Slow down
  • Signal your approach using your bell
  • When approaching from the front, move to the other side of the trail, passing them on the left

Dogs are trained to follow the grass or curbside on the left, and will not assess and react to an oncoming bicycle the way a human would.

Guide dogs will often be wearing vests, and will also behave differently than humans. When in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to always slow down, and don’t be afraid to ask trail other trail users how to proceed. Especially when you are often seeing the same people on your trails!

Cartoon image of a seeing eye dog in a harness
Cartoon icon of someone riding a horse

When approaching someone on horseback:

  • Approach slowly and ask the rider how to proceed
  • Don’t use your bell- it could spook the horse!

Route Inspiration and Ideas…

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