This letter appeared in the Marin Independent Journal on May 10, 2007.
Bikers put horses at risk
This is my opinion after reading "This land is my land" (IJ, April 29): Mountain bikers really want the public to believe the myth that there are no conflicts on trails and narrow footpaths.
The accidents and deaths caused by mountain bikers to hikers and horses on trails are condescendingly dismissed as "anecdotal" or "same old voices saying the same old things."
Last July, two women riders were seriously injured on an open space preserve because of a speeding mountain biker. The incident was formally reported at the next Parks and Open Space Commission meeting. The same month, a jogger was injured by a mountain biker on Mount Tam. Neither event was reported in the IJ.
In October 2005, a horse was pushed off a trail to its death near Santa Barbara because of speeding mountan bikers. The tragedy made headlines in Santa Barbara.
Another myth is that mountain bikers will go slower on footpaths. Every "how to" article in bicycling magazines tells beginning riders that in order to negotiate rocks and roots on narrow trails, they must maintain their speed. Enough of these myths.
Mountain bicycles do not belong on footpaths and single-track trails because of the proven safety hazards they represent---a huge issue that will never lose importance to equestrians, hikers and families, young and old, now and in the future.
Yes, we all get together at work parties to maintain the trails. Yes, we can share, and are getting along, on our fire roads because there are good sightlines and room. Yes, new trails can be built wide to accommodate multiple use.
But, open up our footpaths to known problems? Uh-uh.
Labels: Cycling and Safety, Marin, Mountain Biking