An etiquette question.

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Rhoades, Sep 13, 2018 at 6:09 AM.

  1. Rhoades

    Rhoades Been here awhile

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    If this isn’t the best forum for this I hope the mods let me know so I can move it.

    I just got my first real dirt bike, a KTM 350 EXC-F. I took it out last night for the first time just up and down a couple gravel roads I found.

    Along some of the roads you could see there were trails leading away from the road.

    My question is this. If the trails aren’t marked as private property, and there are no houses near by, is It accepted to explore the trails?

    Or would you try to locate the property owner online before you would ride down it?
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  2. Mouse

    Mouse I'm only smelly

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    Possibly help if you identify at least what state you are refering to.... here in at least three quarters of the country you'd possibly end up lost and maybe dead but I figure you are asking about the states.
    #2
  3. Rhoades

    Rhoades Been here awhile

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    Thanks to whatever mod moved the topic.

    I’m on the MN / WI border.
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  4. greg.279

    greg.279 Adventurer

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    I’d go till I saw a sign or ended up in someone’s front yard. You can always turn around and leave.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  5. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer

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    If you think you're venturing into someone's land, be respectful. No WOT runs and stay on the trail. If there's livestock, approach and pass s l o w l y. Don't spook them. Your life may depend on it. Also, when you do come to a dwelling, slow down and don't raise a bunch of dust.

    In a word (or two)... Tread Lightly.
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  6. Exurban

    Exurban Been here awhile

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    I’d say if you don’t know with any certainty that it is public land or public access, stay off it. Just because a property isn’t posted doesn’t mean you aren’t trespassing. Be respectful of someone’s private property by not going on it without the owner’s permission.
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  7. SRG

    SRG SRG

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    Are your roads not marked w/ state or county numbers? My general rule is if it has a number, it's OK.

    If you start going up unmarked trails you are going to find yourself in some awkward situations at best.
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  8. MapleRoad

    MapleRoad Been here awhile

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    If there are no signs nor fences, it is not legally trespass in California. I don't know the laws of your state, but here, it's pretty hard to get convicted of trespass unless you're actually Doing Bad (destroying the land which was fenced and signed).

    If you are being polite, as well-described above, chances are you may be asked to leave by an angry landowner, but you won't be going to court over it. Yes, there are crazies here and there, but generally you're not going to be fired upon. It is likely that you will eventually encounter someone who doesn't want you there. Are you mentally prepared for the conflict? If they escalate, are you prepared to flee or defend yourself? Have you decided what necessitates self-defense for yourself?
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  9. Mountainhound

    Mountainhound Long timer

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    In new England you are allowed to use private property unless posted every 100' around the property. Old law comes from colonial times when folks were fresh from Europe were property owners were dicks and folks here were like you want to be a dick you need to post that your a dick for everyone to see. Don't know rules there.
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  10. Exurban

    Exurban Been here awhile

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    Without quoting sections of code, in Pa where I am from and usually ride, if you knowingly step onto to someone’s property without permission, you are trespassing. If it is posted or if the owner tells you to leave and you don’t immediately, that’s defiant trespass and a more serious offense. True or not, another google blurb elsewhere said “most” states have the same language.
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  11. Newfiebullet

    Newfiebullet Been here awhile

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    I've had discussions very similar to this often over the years on the internet, and the attitude changes a lot based on where you're living.

    My impression is that people in the eastern US think that you should never go anywhere you're not 100% sure is public land. Basically, the idea is that if it's not posted you should assume it's private, and that you're not welcome.

    The further west you go (and again, it's just my impression) the more people seem to think that if it's private property it will be posted, and if it's not, you can go on it.

    In Canada it's a little different. We tend to assume that everything is public (because it usually is), and even if it's private, we assume the owner doesn't mind people crossing it unless there are "no trespassing" signs posted. Even if it's fenced, in which case the accepted etiquette is to make sure you close the gate behind you.
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  12. kbroderick

    kbroderick Long timer

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    While that's true in Vermont, at least, for non-motorized use (including hunting), it is very definitely not true for motorized use. I'm not sure about other states, but I think Vermont is more permissive than most when it comes to accessing private land; Maine only requires signs at vehicular access points and in a manner "reasonably likely to come to the attention of an intruder."

    To the original question, it really depends on the locale and the landowners involved. Vermont and New Hampshire have a lot of unsigned, unmaintained public right of ways, and poking up a trail that seems likely to be one of those is generally reasonable, but I wouldn't do the same if there were no such ways in the vicinity.
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  13. ydarg

    ydarg Miscreant

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    I personally wouldn't.

    Let your conscience be your guide.
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  14. Exurban

    Exurban Been here awhile

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    I think Newfie brings up an important point. Culture, custom, geography and various laws all enter into the equation. The answer to to OP would be best answered by the local riders and land owners where he rides. Maybe it is acceptable as others observe for their locales. For me, how and where I was raised, whether I was riding in Maine or Montana, I wouldn’t ride on someone’s property without knowing explicitly that it was permissible.
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  15. Mountainhound

    Mountainhound Long timer

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    I have been accessing private property for half a century if a road drive if a motorized trail use if no trail and no signs walk all you want and have never I repeat Never have I had a problem.
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  16. davenowherejones

    davenowherejones short guy

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    Sometimes I accidentally end up on someone's property. I get lost and am not where I thought I was.

    In Forestry school I thought I was on Crown Land doing a practice ribbon survey. I later found out it was someones back yard. I hope the flagging tape did not freak them out.

    I also get concerned on logging roads. Some are abandoned but some are still active. I fear meeting a fully loaded logging truck on a tight corner.
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  17. Tall Man

    Tall Man Priest, Temple of Syrinx

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    Are you sure this thread was moved?
    It should be in Tread Lightly.
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  18. AzB

    AzB Fattest thin man

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    These days, there are tools you can use to find out where property lines are and who owns what land. If it's public land, go for it. Otherwise, I would either ask permission or stay off.

    I use a phone app called OnX that's for hunting, but it provides details about borders, boundaries, and ownership.

    If someone came and asked permission, I would probably grant it to them as that act in itself indicates someone who tries to do the right thing. But I get really tired of people wandering onto my property because so many of them leave behind trash or destroy things.
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  19. Rhoades

    Rhoades Been here awhile

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    Yes it was moved. I initially posted in the trip planning section.
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  20. 14fg

    14fg Been here awhile

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    I ride a lot of dirt. I explore often, try to ride sensibly if I'm in uncharted territory, and stop immediately if I come across a person who motions to me when I'm on unfamiliar territory, I've ended up places I shouldn't have been, and had to beg forgiveness a few times.
    Everytime I make sure it's known that I won't come that way again (if I'm unwelcome). I've never been threatened or held at all,
    For the vast majority it's worked out favorably. I figure it's the woods, no harm, no foul.
    I also won't go if it's obvious that visitors aren't welcome (no treaspassing, blocked trail etc)
    #20