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Archive for the ‘Etiquette’ Category

How is COVID-19 Affecting Your Riding?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020


We all wish things were back to the way they were before the novel coronavirus changed all our lives so drastically.  With LA County’s Covid numbers are still at disturbingly high levels, nobody is predicting a return to normal any time soon.

As we adjust to this new normal, we’d like to find out how COVID-19 has changed or otherwise impacted your riding, and what you’re seeing on trails.

We’ve compiled a quick survey that should take just a few minutes to complete. The survey asks for the top three most significant changes to your riding habits, face coverings, and where you ride.

No personally identifiable information is being requested or collected and your answers will only be reported in aggregate. The survey will help us figure out where we’re at, and what mountain biking is going to look like over the next year.

The survey is at

We really appreciate your input.

Caution: SoCalGas Working in Sullivan Canyon through May

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Sullivan Canyon, Photo by Bryan Gordon

Please use caution riding or hiking Sullivan Canyon through the end of May. 

Since 1960, Southern California Gas Company (“SoCaIGas”) has owned much of the land that comprises Sullivan Canyon (more than 4 miles in length).  It’s a popular area for mountain bikers, runners and hikers, and we all appreciate being able to use the area for recreation.

SoCalGas is planning to conduct yearly maintenance activities trimming overgrown vegetation in Sullivan Canyon, starting next Wednesday, May 23rd.  The work should not take longer than 8 days. Work hours are 7 AM to 2 PM.

There will be Bio-monitors on site with the workers. A “Bird Survey” assessment will be performed prior to starting the work.  SoCalGas has a current programmatic permit in place to cover this environmental work.

All trails will remain open to pedestrians and bikers, but please use caution. Watch for changed conditions, workers and equipment. They will have 2 people dedicated to trail user safety. They are there to help keep the area open for the week the work is conducted, so please follow their direction.


Bright Night Riding Lights Blind Other Trail Users

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

By Tony Hoffman, Resident of Thousand Oaks and frequent trail user

Fellow Trail Users, mountain bicyclists who are out for exercise and to enjoy nature are riding at night in greater numbers than ever before, likely due to improved lighting technology. The newer LED lighting systems are brighter and run longer than the previous generations of  bicycle lights.  But do you ever think of their impact on other trail users or wildlife?

I frequently hike at night and become momentarily blinded by the LED lights from oncoming mountain bicyclists. Often times it is group of night riders who also leave me seeing spots for 15-30 minutes after they passed me. I’ve noticed that most of the time it is two lights per bicycle, one on the helmet and one on the handlebars, so 5 bikes equals 10 extremely bright lights blinding me.

I’ve politely requested the approaching bicyclists “dim” their lights but have been ignored or told the lights will not dim. We all know that cars should dim their brights when approaching other cars to keep the driver from being blinded. Shouldn’t bicycle lights also be dimmed when approaching other trail users for the same reason? If the lights cannot be dimmed, what is wrong with turning off the lights and riding or walking past other trail users and turning your lights back on after you are past us?

Technology always outpaces the law but courtesy never goes out of style. Please consider the impact of your lighting systems on us hikers who enjoy a walk in the park in the dark.

E-MTBs Prohibited from Malibu Creek, Point Mugu and Will Rogers State Parks

Friday, September 15th, 2017

On September 13, 2017, California State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap issued order 915-17-02, closing all trails in the Angeles District to electric bicycles. This includes multi-use trails in Malibu Creek State Park, Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Park, and Point Mugu State Park.

E-MTB’s such as this Specialized Turbo Levo are prohibited from Santa Monica Mountains trails

Electric mountain bikes are already prohibited from Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and National Park Service trails.

Some trails and many popular bike routes in the Santa Monicas cross more than one of these jurisdictions. This had led to confusion as to where e-MTBs were allowed. Sap’s order states that consistency with neighboring jurisdictions is part of the justification used.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation current policy regarding e-MTBs leaves the decision at the District level, until such time as a formal state-wide policy is adopted. The order goes into effect on October 1st, 2017.

Enforcement is expected to begin then too, but we do not yet have information on how it will be enforced. As one can see in photo above, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish some e-MTbs from their non-electric brethren.

Sap’s order does appear to allow for exemptions. Law enforcement and emergency personnel may still use e-MTBs in the performance of their official duties without a prior written exemption.

Currently, Conejo Open Space trails are generally open to e-MTBs, as well as roads and trails appearing on the Angeles National Forest MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map).  Check the People for Bikes e-MTB Map for more information on where to legally ride electric mountain bikes.

2017-09-15 – Angeles District State Parks E-Bike Order


Physician convicted in bicycle crash case

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

November 3, 2009
from the Los Angeles Times

A physician accused of deliberately injuring two cyclists by slamming on his car’s brakes on a narrow Brentwood road was convicted Monday of mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and other serious criminal charges.

Dr. Christopher Thompson is handcuffed by L.A. County Sheriffs after being found guilty on all 7 counts. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / November 2, 2009)

Dr. Christopher Thompson, 60, slumped forward and held his face in his hands after the verdicts were announced in a courtroom packed mostly with supporters and cyclists.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Mary Stone, who prosecuted the case, asked for Thompson to be jailed immediately, calling him a flight risk and a safety threat to cyclists.

“There’s not a cyclist in Los Angeles who would feel comfortable with this defendant out on the road after this verdict,” Stone told the court.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Scott T. Millington ordered that Thompson be taken into custody. Thompson, wearing a dark blue suit, grimaced and shook his head as a bailiff cuffed his hands behind his back.

The veteran emergency room doctor, who spent more than two decades working at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, was also convicted of battery with serious injury and reckless driving causing injury. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 3.

The three-week trial in the Superior Court’s airport branch was watched closely by bicycle riders around the country, many of whom viewed the case as a test of the justice system’s commitment to protecting cyclists. The July 4, 2008, crash also highlighted simmering tensions between cyclists and motorists on Mandeville Canyon Road, the winding five-mile residential street where the crash took place.

Prosecutors alleged that Thompson stopped his car after passing the two cyclists and shouting at them to ride single file. The cyclists testified that they began maneuvering to ride one after the other when they noticed Thompson’s car approaching fast behind them but that the driver passed dangerously close before abruptly stopping.

Ron Peterson, a coach for USC’s and UCLA’s cycling team, was flung face-first into the rear windshield of the doctor’s red Infiniti, breaking his front teeth and nose and lacerating his face. Christian Stoehr, the other cyclist, hurtled to the sidewalk and suffered a separated shoulder.

A police officer testified that Thompson told him soon after the accident that the cyclists had cursed at him and flipped him off, so he slammed on his brakes “to teach them a lesson.”

Thompson testified that he never meant to hurt the riders. He said he and other residents were upset at unsafe cycling along the road, which has become an increasingly popular route for bicycle riders in recent years. But they had struggled to identify problem cyclists.

Thompson told jurors that the riders cursed at him and flipped him off when he yelled at them to ride single file. He stopped his car so that he could take a photo of the cyclists and believed he had left enough room for them.

But prosecutors alleged Thompson had a history of run-ins with bike riders, including a similar episode four months before the 2008 incident, when two cyclists told police that the doctor tried to run them off the road and braked hard in front of them. Neither of the riders was injured.

Outside court, the cyclists in the case said they were relieved at the outcome.

“Our hope is that this brings to light how vulnerable cyclists are out there,” Peterson, 41, told reporters. His face was permanently scarred from the crash and he underwent reconstructive surgery on his nose, which he said remains numb.

Stoehr, 30, said the crash left him unable to work for months and that he rarely rides his bike anymore. Nevertheless, Stoehr said he felt some sympathy for Thompson as he watched the physician being led away in handcuffs.

“It’s sad for both sides,” Stoehr said. “I lost a lot of my time and my life, and he’s losing a lot of his.”

Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club works to keep mountain bikes off trails in Los Angeles

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Chapter activists working to keep city parks hiker-friendly and mountain-bike free

By Carol Henning, Co-Chair, Southern Sierran Editorial Board. The following article appears in the June 2009 edition of the Southern Sierran, Vol 65 No6.

You’re hiking down a steep trail, enjoying the view, trying to remember the name of a trailside wildflower when, whoosh! Inches from your left arm a mountain bike comes careening down the trail. Most close encounters with mountain bikes leave all parties unharmed – most, but not all.

“We have seen conflicts,” reports Kevin Regan of the Department of Recreation and Parks. There have been “close calls and accidents.” A Los Angeles City Ordinance prohibits bicycles on unpaved trails in all City parks. This ordinance was reaffirmed unanimously by the City Council in 2000. Moreover, this April, the Angeles Chapter passed a resolution supporting efforts to uphold the existing ordinance.

The backstory has been documented by Sierra Club hike leader, AI Moggia. 1995 saw the Concerned Off Road Bicycle Association (CORBA) requesting access to dirt trails in city parks from the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRAP), whereupon a Mountain Bike Task Force was formed including CORBA, DRAP, the L.A. Department of Transportation (LADOT and the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC). The L.A. City Planning Department spooned up this alphabet soup and other entities to formulate a Bicycle Plan Element. In 1996, the DRAP Commission denied requests for a mountain bike event in Griffith Park, citing the municipal ordinance and an opinion by the City Attorney. Also in 1996, the City Council adopted the Bicycle Master Plan as part of the Transportation Plan Element of the General Plan of L.A. City.

DRAP, CORBA, DOT and BAC studied the feasibility of opening City parks to mountain biking.

In 1998, LADOT City Bicycle Coordinator Michelle Mowery and BAC member Alex Baum made a special presentation to DRAP. There was minimal public notice of three community meetings in 1999, but over 400 residents attended. 95 percent of the attendees expressed their opposition to biking on city parks’ dirt trails. Despite the apparent dearth of public support, Elysian Park was selected in January 2000 for a mountain bike pilot program. Word of mouth and work by the Citizens’ Committee to Save Elysian Park brought out more members of the public to a meeting at Grace Simons Lodge, where they opposed the mountain bike pilot program. A subsequent meeting brought out more community members, a vast majority of whom opposed the program. Elysian Park was spared, and the City Council passed the motion rejecting changes to the ordinance prohibiting mechanized use of City park trails.

Mountain bike advocates tightened the straps on their helmets and soldiered on. Perhaps feeling jilted by Recreation and Parks, they decided to hop onto the handlebars of the Department of Transportation. But is this not an issue of recreation rather than transportation? The DOT’s Bicycle Master Plan is about cycling in the City. The focus is presumably on the transportation aspects of the bicycle plan, not on the thrills of jouncing down a narrow dirt trail, dodging (one hopes) hikers, runners and equestrians.

A September, 2008, memo by Jordann Turner, Bike Plan Project Manager, wondered “why and how the meetings in the past between cyclists/equestrians/etc. have been contentious.” Might it have been those accounts of clobbered hikers, frightened horses and thrown riders? To avoid this sort of testimony, DOT decided to use a consultant who has experience with this subject matter to conduct small mediated working-group meetings. Attendance at these meetings was by invitation only, with no notice to the public. The Los Angeles Bike Plan Stakeholder Advisory Group consists of nine invited participants – three hikers, three mountain bikers and three equestrians. Where are the runners? Where are the dog-walkers? Where are the homeowners associations’ representatives? They were not invited to the table.

It seems clear that the question is not whether mountain bikes should be permitted in City parks but which parks should allow them and how should access be designed. Two Sierra Club members represented hikers’ interests at the first meeting. Neither was an official representative of the Angeles Chapter. After the show, the distinction between being a Sierra Club member and a designated Sierra Club spokesperson was explained to the facilitators. supposedly neutral consultants with ties to to the Osprey Group of Boulder, Colorado, whose website documents its experience securing trail access for mountain biking.)

Webmaster’s note: Michelle Mowery, Bicycle Coordinator for the LA City Dept of Transportation (LADOT) testified recently that “The Needs Assessment … identified bicycling and walking trails as the number one need. … It identifies equestrian use as last on that list. So it’s clear that there is a need and a desire for bicycle facilities within the parks.”

For more on this issue, including video clips of outrageous claims during testimony, visit our LA City Parks web page.

Club policy on mountain bikes opposes their use in officially designated wilderness areas unless determined to be appropriate by analysis, review and implementation. The Park City Agreement (1994) between the Sierra Club and the International Mountain Bicycling Association called for site-specific analyses and stated that not all non-wilderness trails should be opened to bicycle use. Of concern are the effects of off-road biking on soil erosion, the impacts on plants and animals, and the displacement of other trail users. When considering the introduction of off-pavement bikes to a park, Sierra Club guidelines mandate consideration of these issues: whether the safety and enjoyment of all users can be protected, and whether there has been a public review and comment procedure for all interested parties. In this case, the response is no.

A late 2008 DRAP Citywide Parks Needs Assessment demonstrated virtually no demand for mountain biking [Webmaster’s note: See the inset at right to evaluate the accuracy of this claim]; yet, a small advocacy group seems to be trying to sneak its agenda past an unsuspecting public. Most of us have not been invited to join the discussion, but we can make our voices heard. Send letters and e-mails to LADOT, to DRAP and to your city councilmember.

COSCA Seeks Volunteers for Trailhead Outreach

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

March 2, 2009

The Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee (COSTAC) of the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) needs two volunteers for any of the Trails Outreach events. These events are scheduled for Saturday or Sundays from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. at various COSCA trailheads (see below). The volunteers will provide information to hikers, mountain bikers and runners about the Conejo Open Space, such as

  • trail maps
  • hike and event schedules
  • environmental education
  • COSCA volunteer opportunities

Training is provided on site on the day of the event.

Please email Steve Forman (Outreach Coordinator) if you would like to help out on any of these dates

March 7th: Los Robles (south end of Moorpark Rd.)
May 16; Lang Ranch
June 27: Los Robles
October 3rd: Wildwood

Bicyclist in trouble again over illegal trail at China Camp

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

May 1, 2008

by Gary Klien, Marin Independent Journal

A San Rafael man who built an illegal bike trial on federal land in 2001 is in legal trouble again – this time for carving a trail in China Camp State Park, authorities said.Michael Philip More, 54, was charged Thursday in Marin Superior Court with willful or negligent destruction or removal of plants and dead wood, diverting or obstructing the natural flow of a stream, resisting a peace officer and allowing a dog to roam off-leash in a restricted area, prosecutors said.

More is accused of digging an illegal bike trail into a hillside, hacking down tree limbs and constructing rock paths through two drainage ditches, authorities said. The quarter-mile trail is at the end of Robinhood Drive in San Rafael’s Glenwood neighborhood, which borders the state park.

The cost of repairing the damage is estimated at $20,000, said Kathryn Mitchell, a senior county prosecutor.

Dave Gould, the superintendent overseeing state parks in Marin, said the damage to the natural resources was “significant.”

“It looks like chainsaws were used and trail-building tools to carve out the hillside,” he said. “This isn’t where 15 people walked up and down the hillside and you can see their path – this is an attempt to construct an illegal trail.”

More, who could not be reached for comment, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Patrick Ciocca, said More would be “loathe to engage in a public discussion” about the allegations while preparing his defense.

“It would not be beneficial for him to enter into a public dialogue,” Ciocca said.

Park rangers received a tip about the trail in March, when a resident noticed unusual activity in the area. A ranger investigating the trail found More at the scene, and More allegedly tried to flee.

More was cited, but not arrested, while prosecutors reviewed the case. He is scheduled to be appear in court on May 9.

Alex Burnham, president of the San Rafael-based Access4Bikes advocacy group, said he is concerned that the case will tarnish the entire bicycling community and inflame tensions between cyclists and noncyclists. The issue of trail use has fueled years of acidic conflict among hikers, bikers, equestrians and dog owners, with the county sometimes resorting to barbed wire to block cyclists from trails.

“We do not condone this behavior,” Burnham said. “We advocate for legal trails. In Marin County, the trail user community is so polarized that anything that occurs is a blight that gets thrown on the community of mountain bikers.”

More was once a prominent bicycling activist, serving on the Marin County Open Space District Trails Committee. But he resigned the position in 2001 when federal authorities accused him and two other men of carving a four-mile illegal bike trail into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Bolinas Ridge.

All three men were indicted by a federal grand jury and eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanors. They were ordered to pay more than $34,000 in restitution for the destruction to federal property, placed on probation for three years and banned from the federal park system during probation.

They apologized in court.

Man Allegedly Dug 50 Holes On Trails

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Jan 5, 2008

Revenge was not sweet for a man who allegedly admitted digging holes on bike trails in a Fullerton park as payback for nearly being run down by a mountain biker. He has been charged with felony vandalism, police said Friday. Warren John Wilson, 52, faces a single felony count of vandalism, said Fullerton police Sgt. Linda King. Wilson, who could not be reached for comment, remains free on his own recognizance pending a court date that has not yet been set, according to King. Holes began appearing in mid-June on a trail popular with mountain bike riders that runs parallel to the city’s Bud Turner Trail at Laguna Lake Park at Euclid Street and Laguna Road. About 50 of the holes have been found since June, all dug across the path so that they would pose an obstacle to bicyclists. The holes measured about 1 foot by 2 feet, King said. Tree branches and brush were often placed along the trail, as well as across the trenches in what seemed an attempt to hide them, King said. Some riders reported that they were thrown over the handlebars after hitting the holes, but no major injuries have been reported, she said. A park ranger reported the holes to police, who periodically did surveillance in the area. Detectives checked the trail after a man walking a dog was spotted, and vandalism was found, King said. On Dec. 11, the same man with his dog was seen entering the trail and leaving it 15 minutes later, and a later check showed holes covered with a large piece of concrete and a branch, King said. When questioned by police, Wilson allegedly said that he had “almost been run over” by a bike rider once and, in retaliation, began digging the holes and placing obstacles on the trail, King said.

2016: A Busy, Productive Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

2016 is behind us, and what a year it was for CORBA and mountain bikers! We were extremely busy last year, cutting trails, cutting trees, and working on behalf of the mountain bike community to ensure continued and improved access to mountain biking in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura County areas.

Jim Burton cuts the ceremonial ribbon, as Steve Messer, Matt Lay and Jenny Johnson of MWBA, and Ken's daughters Heather and Tania look on.

Opening of Ken Burton Trail

In 2016, the Gabrielino Trail Restoration project, with REI, Bellfree Contractors, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, was completed.  Ken Burton Trail restoration with MWBA was completed, opening the Ken Burton trail and a popular loop after seven years of closure, thousands of volunteer hours, and nearly three years of planning.







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