My Turn

Opinion: Mountain bikers need better trail manners

By John Johnston
Posted 4/23/20

My wife is an avid trail runner who runs either the South Boundary, Ojitos, Carmelita, Talpa and Talpa Traverse trails every other day, and she covers 8-12 miles at a time.

Lately, the trails are becoming congested due to the fact that COVID-19 shutdowns are reducing recreational options, and people are not working. These trails are all multi-use, and mountain bikers are swarming them. Many are not being respectful of the runners, and hikers also using them.

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My Turn

Opinion: Mountain bikers need better trail manners

Posted

My wife is an avid trail runner who runs either the South Boundary, Ojitos, Carmelita, Talpa and Talpa Traverse trails every other day, and she covers 8-12 miles at a time.

Lately, the trails are becoming congested due to the fact that COVID-19 shutdowns are reducing recreational options, and people are not working. These trails are all multiuse, and mountain bikers are swarming them. Many are not being respectful of the runners, and hikers also using them.

There have been many close calls with bikers careening around blind corners, and narrowly missing people and their pets. My wife has had three close calls in the past week, and several of my friends have limited or changed their outdoor activity due to this issue.

Yesterday, my wife came upon an elderly lady with her pet who was nearly in shock, having been missed by a biker who seemed out of control coming around a blind curve. I emailed a friend in the Forest Service and to their credit, my complaint was immediately referred up the chain of command, and I received a call. They will look into it, but they acknowledge that it's tough to control the situation given the increased use for all types of trail recreation.

They have also had to close many backcountry trails that bikers typically use, pushing them onto multiuse trails. I think attitudes will change when a 200-250 pound bike/biker riding at 10-15 miles per hour hits an elderly hiker, and kills them, but I hope it doesn't come to that.

Not all bikers are a hazard, but the small percentage that do not care are destroying the outdoor experience for many, many people. Until all trails are opened again, and society regains a semblance of normalcy, I suggest that some trails be closed to mountain biking for the safety of all concerned.

Everyone who has had a bad experience should call the Forest Service at (575) 758-6200 and tell their story. One voice is a complaint, many become a basis for action.

John Johnston is a resident of Taos.

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