Ride Safely: Your Access to Trails Depends On It

The below press release was issued today by the National Park Service (NPS) in conjunction with CORBA.

CORBA has learned that NPS administrators were ready and willing to temporarily close trails in reaction to the issues of increased complaints and collisions listed in the press release. However, due to the trust and reputation that has been fostered and maintained through CORBA’s advocacy efforts with NPS, trail closures were not implemented at this time. Let’s show that we are a responsible user group by slowing down and showing courtesy to our fellow trail users. It’s simple: Slow down, solve the problem.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kate Kuykendall (NPS), 805-370-2343 or Mark Langton (CORBA), 805-558-1606

National Park Service Teams with Mountain Bikers to Promote Safe Riding
New technology may play role in increased complaints and collisions

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In response to increased complaints and collisions on local trails, the National Park Service (NPS) has teamed with the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclist Association (CORBA) to promote safe and courteous riding in the Santa Monica Mountains.

“We’re thrilled that there is great demand for the public to enjoy the beauty and public health benefits of our extensive trail system,” said Melanie Turner, law enforcement ranger and mountain bike unit coordinator with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). “For the benefit and safety of all users, we ask people to follow proper trail etiquette and observe the 15 mph speed limit.”

Rangers report an uptick in visitor complaints regarding cyclists who are riding too fast or in restricted areas. Particularly on busy weekends, the effects can be dangerous. In the past year, accidents at Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyon resulted in several helicopter extractions, though the problem is not limited to that site.

Turner, who is an avid mountain biker herself, wonders if a new website that allows riders to publicly post their times on specific trails has led to an increase in violations. Strava (www.strava.com) shows speeds of up to 35 mph, with average speeds of 25 mph, on some trails within the recreation area. Made aware of the problem, Strava is working with Turner to prohibit users from posting times on certain trails, along with a message about trail regulations.

As part of its mission to promote safe riding, CORBA is working closely with SMMNRA, a unit of the National Park Service, to inform its members about these concerns and remind them about responsible riding tips.

“If you just slow down around other users (including other cyclists), you create a win-win for everyone,” said Mark Langton, president of CORBA. “Speed is subjective; what one person might think is slow might still be too fast. Even at 10 mph you can startle someone and disrupt their enjoyment of our open space. If you slow down, you literally solve the problem most people have with bicycles on the trail – that they go too fast and scare other users.”

Turner attended a recent CORBA meeting and is visiting local bike shops to let the community know that rangers will be stepping up patrols and issuing citations. Both organizations hope the efforts will result in a safe and enjoyable trail experience for all users.

About Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area:
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state, and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.

About Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association:
Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association was founded in 1987 to serve the mountain bicycling community of Los Angeles and surrounding areas including southern Ventura County. CORBA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to gaining and maintaining public trail access for mountain cyclists and the public at-large. CORBA encourages and promotes the safe and environmentally responsible use of unpaved roads and trails for bicycling and to educate the public about all aspects of off-road cycling and trails. www.corbamtb.com.

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One Response to “Ride Safely: Your Access to Trails Depends On It”

  1. Douglas Kubler says:

    Punishing the innocent will do nothing. If someone rides in “restricted areas” (quoted from above) he will not obey a “Trail Closed” sign. The best deterrent is ranger presence and enforcement of rules.
    I was a witness to someone who needed extraction. She was climbing at 3 mph and slowed to 0 mph. Every accident is unique and can’t be broad-brushed as unsafe speed. I just remembered another accident. A woman was entering Sycamore Canyon and her handlebar clipped the pipe that narrows the entrance to dirt. That was the end of her outing.
    Closing trails has a side effect of increasing the concentration of trail users. Problems of person to person interaction are bound to increase. The solution is to open more trails.

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