Date: Sun, 22 Oct 2000 11:24:17 -0700
From: Roger and Leslie Myers <>
Subject: Dangerous Close Encounter with Mountain Bikers

I wish to report for the record a highly dangerous and nearly injurious

encounter with two careless and inconsiderate mountain bike riders that

I and three fellow hikers experienced yesterday while hiking at Monte

Bello Open Space Preserve. This is, regrettably, just the latest in a

series of similar encounters I have personally experienced over my more

than 22 years hiking on District trails.

We were hiking north up the steep section of the Canyon Trail

immediately south of its junction with the Waterwheel Creek trail. Two

mountain bikers screaming down the Canyon Trail from the north came

hurtling around a bend right in front of us, forcing us to leap out of

their path and nearly off the trail entirely. Had the trail not

fortuitously been wide enough at that point to accommodate vehicles, we

would have been sent sprawling off the edge into the underbrush. They

made no observable attempt to either slow down or apologize for the

accident their recklessness had nearly caused. They didn't even look


Had we been with a group of small children, one or more of them would

have been seriously injured, possibly killed. If we had been with a

group of more elderly and frail hikers, one or more of them would have

been seriously injured, possibly killed.

It is my opinion that incidents like this demonstrate how inappropriate

and potentially deadly it is to allow mountain bikes on the same, often

narrow trails occupied by pedestrians, not to mention the slow moving or

basking wildlife that has no chance to avoid getting crushed beneath the

speeding wheels of this machinery that has no place on a wilderness

trail, especially in a natural preserve.

While the riders of this hi-tech, hi-speed machinery have just as much

right as the rest of us to enjoy the trails, they have no right to bring

their demonstrably dangerous, ecologically destructive, and

tranquility-shattering machinery with them. It degrades and endangers

the experience for all other trail users, results in deplorably

accelerated trail erosion, and poses and ecologically indefensible

threat to the wildlife and habitats the District has been mandated and

entrusted to restore, protect and preserve.

Roger Myers

Redwood City


P.S. Mountain bike organizations such as Responsible Organized Mountain

Peddlers (ROMP) will claim that they teach and encourage proper trail

etiquette for all their members and that banning mountain bikers from

Preserves is discriminatory and punishes the responsible majority for

the actions of a small rogue minority. They treat off-road cycling as an

inalienable right instead of a carefully considered and cautiously

applied privilege, contingent on and consistent with resource

protection. What they fail to recognize or admit is that it is their

bikes that are being considered to be banned from the Preserves, not

citizens who also ride mountain bikes. No discrimination is involved.

Also, I do not intend to imply that all mountain bikers are reckless and

inconsiderate. In my experience, only about 10% of the off-road cycling

community is misusing or abusing the current privilege to bring their

bikes onto some Preserve trails. But that 10%, for the most part, does

not belong to any mountain bike organization, does not care to answer to

any authority, and does not generally feel that they can be held

accountable to anybody for anything. As long as bikes continue to be

allowed on any unpaved trails, that rogue 10% will continue to abuse the

privilege and continue endangering wildlife, habitat, as well as the

remainder of the trail-using public. Only by banning all mountain bikes

from all unpaved trails will it be possible to better ensure resource

protection and make it easier for enforcement staff to recognize,

apprehend, and otherwise dissuade violators. The current policy,

unchecked and unregulated, will have long-reaching and severely

injurious effects upon the sensitive ecology, habitats, and wildlife of

the Preserves and will result in ever-accelerating damage to the trails

and ever-increasing danger and degradation of the wilderness experience

to other trail users.