Mountain Bikers Banned from Existing Trails
A brand-new development in the excess of contentious mountain bike access issues is the banning of mountain bikers from trails which are currently bike legal, based on the speed data stored in Strava. YES Strava speeds.
Strava data has been used to ban mountain bikers from a park trail after cyclists posted data showing them riding at speeds in excess of 32 km/hr.
Horse riders and hikers raised concerns over riders using Byrne Preserve trails in Los Alto Hills, California at “incredibly unacceptable” speeds.
The ban was unanimously passed by the local council in January, thanks in part to Strava data from the trails, with no opposition to the ban made by the local cycling community. Some feel a worrying precedent has now been set and are asking riders to consider their behaviour on local trails.
Ryan Dunfee, writing in Teton Gravity aid it is possible for a “vocal minority” to use Strava data to back up concerns raised to local councils and help ban bikers, and said cyclists need to be proactive in monitoring behaviour in their community.
From the original article:
“Blame it on Strava. The mobile app – and the cyclists who use it to brag about achieving top speeds on trails – weighed heavily in Los Altos Hills city councilmembers’ unanimous decision Jan. 27 to entertain an ordinance prohibiting bicycles from Byrne Preserve.
I’m done with this as far as I’m concerned,” Councilman John Radford said. “The speed numbers that were talked about tonight are just incredibly unacceptable. I can’t even believe. Sorry, whoever’s done those apps and whoever puts that together – that just put a hole in the whole argument.”
Although Radford and his fellow council members expressed considerable reluctance to deny an entire class of enthusiasts access to the popular open-space area, Strava-broadcasted boasts of trail speeds topping 20 mph and concerns about safety ultimately influenced their approval of a motion introducing the ordinance.”
Mountain bikers being banned because of the sheer fact that they are mountain bikers, even if they are not doing anything illegal, is a very real threat.
So what’s the takeaway? If you live or ride in an area where you know the access issues are contentious, again, it might be best to mark your ride as private. You might not gain any virtual kudos, but on the flip side, you won’t lose access to any of the very real and tangible mountain bike trails that you enjoy on a regular basis.