From: [a Marin County resident]
Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2008 15:40:54 -0700
Subject: Mt.bikes on trails
I have lived in Marin County for 50 years, seeing firsthand the rise of, and impact from, mountain bicycling. I am an equestrian and hiker. I am sorry to tell you that, by allowing mt.bikes on inappropriate trails in the first place, you let the camel's nose into the tent and the rest of it is half-way in.
Despite the written "rules" of IMBA for mt.bikers, we have seen to our dismay that there are NO controls on bicycles out in the preserves, parks, or other public lands. Speed limits? Don't make me laugh! Signs? Regularly stolen or defaced. After almost being skidded into, I had the mt.biker tell me he was going too fast to read the signs (3 of them!) saying "no bicycles." Alternate days usage, or "bikes uphill only" rules?? Forget that -- you need 24x7 enforcement to make it work. Education? Ha! We had one prominent mt.biker, Michael More, recently caught for the SECOND time, building illegal bike trail on public land -- this time, in China Camp State Park; the first time, federal (GGNRA) land.
If mt.bikes are allowed, you are heading for accidents and perhaps a fatality on these steep, narrow trails -- as has happened elsewhere in California and as the mt.bikers desperately want people to ignore and forget about. When mt.bikers are on narrow trails, foot traffic and equestrians go elsewhere -- they are displaced.
Bicycles should not be allowed on footpaths, also called singletrack trails, because of the overwhelming safety hazards they present to other users -- the elderly, the hard-of-hearing, young families, equestrians. We can share wide (8 ft. and wider) trails where there is room to jump aside and where sight-lines are generally longer. Note that the bike rider is not disenfrancised -- s/he can always hike these footpaths. It's only the vehicle that is restricted.
What can be done for those who still want to shred the trails in pursuit of their personal best, is to help them locate private property where they can sign a lease agreement that will allow them to build whatever hazards, jumps, etc., they want -- and disregard the damage to the environment.
I urge you to immediately ban mountain bicycle use of your steep footpaths.
Sincerely, [a Marin County resident]