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Rider Responsibility

How to Calculate a Safe Speed

In order to determine a safe speed, you should consider in the following factors, including:

  • Your reaction time and distance
  • The type of terrain
  • Your sight distance

What is sight distance?

 Sight distance is the distance at which you can spot an obstacle on the trail and identify it as a hazard.

Reaction Time and Distance

Your ‘reaction time’ is the amount of time it takes you to:

  • Spot an obstacle on the trail
  • Identify if that obstacle is a hazard or not
  • Determine if you should brake, or travel around the hazard
  • React to the hazard

Reaction Distance

Your ‘reaction distance’ is the distance traveled during your reaction time. This distance is calculated based on your reaction time (in seconds) and your speed (in feet per second) - (reaction time x speed = reaction distance).

 

To determine feet per second (fps), multiple miles per hour (mph) by 1.46667.

15 mph = 22 fps

20 mph = 29 fps

25 mph = 37 fps

30 mph = 44 fps

 

At 20 mph, using a reaction time of 3 seconds, the reaction distance is:

3 seconds x 29 fps = 87 feet.

3 seconds x 29 fps = 87 feet.

This is actually a huge amount of distance traveled. Always take into consideration your reaction distance when determining your speed.

 

Take a course

Boat in the water with people sitting aboard
Hunter with a bow in tall grass at dusk
Man on yellow ATV riding through dirt tracks
Person on snowmobile riding through snowy trail
Person paddling in white water rapids
Three individuals backpacking across a yellow, grassy plain
Boat in the water with people sitting aboard
Hunter with a bow in tall grass at dusk
Man on yellow ATV riding through dirt tracks
Person on snowmobile riding through snowy trail
Person paddling in white water rapids
Three individuals backpacking across a yellow, grassy plain

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LET'S WORK TOGETHER

 

Go boldly, tell your story. Campfire is building a collective of ambassadors who share a passion for the wild. If you’re an influencer, publisher or sport expert drop us a line. Let’s hook up and inspire others.

CAMPFIRE STORIES

Stay in the loop. Sign up for our newsletter
to get the latest stories from around the fire.