Fact checking plea
The Access 4 Bikes (A4B) ad (Pacific Sun, April 3) from our local bike lobby needs some serious fact checking. They describe Marin as the only place where there is a hiker-biker conflict. Just a quick look at Google: “Hiker-biker conflicts” turns up scores of credible articles addressing this issue all around the world.
Access 4 Bikes feels that all bikers are being falsely characterized as dangerous thrill-seekers without regard for other users of the trails. Most of my hiking friends have seen notable improvement in their biking interactions but have focused on those bikers who don’t respect the current guidelines and thereby endanger others on the trails. In the last few years there have been multiple documented biker, hiker or equestrian interactions that led to serious injuries. For A4B to say that “none of these charges are based in fact” is simply not true. A recent Open Space public workshop demonstrated that the A4B bikers will not be happy until they have access to all trails that hikers can currently use.
The A4B attitude reeks of entitlement. Their goal of having a “more inclusive trail network” is not always compatible with safer and more enjoyable trail use for non-bikers. I hope the public and managers of open space will be mindful of the inherent tendency to bike at speeds that are unsafe and disrespectful to others on the trail. A4B needs to acknowledge that most single track trails are not appropriate for biking. Until they do, conflicts will undoubtedly continue.
Gerald Freedman, MD, Mill Valley