April 24, 2018

NPS Teams with Mountain Bikers, SMMNRA to Promote Safe Riding



NPS Teams with Mountain Bikers, SMMNRA to Promote Safe Riding

Members of the Mountain Bike Unit patrol team ride local trails to ensure a safe trail experience and the protection of the park’s natural resources.

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.

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.

“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.”

Turner, 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.

Strava is working with Turner to prohibit users from posting times on certain trails, along with a message about trail regulations.

CORBA is also working closely with Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), a unit of NPS, to inform its members and remind them about responsible riding tips.

“If you just slow down around other users (including other cyclists), you literally solve the problem,” said Mark Langton, president of CORBA. “Speed is subjective. Even at 10 mph you can startle someone and disrupt their enjoyment of our open space.”

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.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country. For more information: www.nps.gov/samo.

Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) was founded in 1987 to serve the mountain bicycling community of Los Angeles and surrounding areas including southern Ventura County. CORBA, a 501(c)(3) , is committed to gaining and maintaining public trail access for mountain cyclists and the public at large. (www.corbamtb.com).