Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Be nice out there!

I just got an earful from an angry hiker who read the Good Times article. She saw that the article mentioned "jittery horses" but she wanted to know if we were doing something about 'jittery hikers".

She then went on a rant about how all the mountain bikers she has encountered while hiking race by her at high speed. I tried to get her to talk about a specific incident and location but she just vented. I can sympathize at how frustrated she was needed an outlet.

I can't claim to represent all mountain bikers who ride in Santa Cruz but I think her assessment is unfair. Most mountain bikers are conscientious trail users and respect other trail users. However, I recognize that there are minority of cyclists on the trails who do not yield to other trail users. These riders spoil it for the rest of us.

She wanted to know what I was doing to solve this and didn't come up with anything practical other than that we emphasize the multiple use trail guidelines: mountain bikes should yield to hikers and equestrians. User education is the one avenue that we have been pursuing. Biker only trails is another novel solution. What else could be done? The IMBA book Managing Mountain Biking has a lot of practical solutions which include strategies for education and trail system design.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to be good trail citizens. We should all get along with other trail users and ride responsibly. Trail user conflict and the perception of conflict is our biggest issue in gaining access to trails.

Please be nice out there.


ark said...

"Most mountain bikers are contentious trail users" Contentious or Courteous?

Mark Davidson said...

Er, neither. "Conscientious" is what I was trying to say. My spelling sucks and the spell check didn't pick it up.

lindsey said...

sadly, in my experience, i feel that at least 60% of mountain bikers i encounter are a)clueless about trail etiquette or b) just don't care about it. i get blasted off the trail while riding uphill at least twice a week, though the folks heading down see me and should yield. they usually just act annoyed that anyone would have the nerve to be riding up the hill they're trying to bomb down. i always think, wow, if they treat a fellow mountain biker like that, how do they treat hikers & equestrians?