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National Park Service Teams with Mountain Bikers to Promote Safe Riding

The action is in response to a rise in visitor complaint regarding cyclists who are riding either too fast or in restricted areas.

In response to increased complaints and collisions on local trails, the National Park Service (NPS) has teamed with the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclist Association (CORBA) to promote safe and courteous riding in the Santa Monica Mountains.

“We’re thrilled that there is great demand for the public to enjoy the beauty and public health benefits of our extensive trail system,” said Melanie Turner, law enforcement ranger and mountain bike unit coordinator with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). “For the benefit and safety of all users, we ask people to follow proper trail etiquette and observe the 15 mph speed limit.”

Rangers report an uptick in visitor complaints regarding cyclists who are riding too fast or in restricted areas. Particularly on busy weekends, the effects can be dangerous. In the past year, accidents at Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyon resulted in several helicopter extractions, though the problem is not limited to that site.

Turner, who is an avid mountain biker herself, wonders if a new website that allows riders to publicly post their times on specific trails has led to an increase in violations. Strava (www.strava.com) shows speeds of up to 35 mph, with average speeds of 25 mph, on some trails within the recreation area. Made aware of the problem, Strava is working with Turner to prohibit users from posting times on certain trails, along with a message about trail regulations.

As part of its mission to promote safe riding, CORBA is working closely with SMMNRA, a unit of the National Park Service, to inform its members about these concerns and remind them about responsible riding tips.

“If you just slow down around other users (including other cyclists), you create a win-win for everyone,” said Mark Langton, president of CORBA. “Speed is subjective; what one person might think is slow might still be too fast. Even at 10 mph you can startle someone and disrupt their enjoyment of our open space. If you slow down, you literally solve the problem most people have with bicycles on the trail – that they go too fast and scare other users.”

Turner attended a recent CORBA meeting and is visiting local bike shops to let the community know that rangers will be stepping up patrols and issuing citations. Both organizations hope the efforts will result in a safe and enjoyable trail experience for all users.


Mike Vandeman November 02, 2012 at 05:00 AM
As the photo shows, mountain bikers are interested in speed and thrills, not nature. There are appropriate places for such activities. They are called "race tracks". That is not what the national parks are for. Fifteen MPH is way too fast for trails! I never even ride that fast on city streets! Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It's dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don't have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else -- ON FOOT! Why isn't that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking.... Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's NOT!). What's good about THAT? To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297. For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .
Mark E November 02, 2012 at 04:45 PM
The photo shows a mountain biker with a race number on his bike -- meaning he's competing in an event and not likely subject to speed restrictions. Plus, Mike V's rant (above) trots out the stock anti-bicycling rhetoric he's been using for years. Unfortunately he's also been convicted of physically attacking mountain bikers near his home in Calif. Hope he can someday move past his obsession and learn to accept other legitimate trail users.
Mike Vandeman November 03, 2012 at 12:52 AM
P.S. Just look at the photo attached to this article! The mountain biker is leaning far to the right, because he is going around a turn at HIGH SPEED! That's an excellent example of how mountain bikers treat nature: as a RACE TRACK!
Todd Margeson November 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Wow. Mike's still at it. Unbelievable.

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