Monday, September 20, 2004

Since when is a bike an OHV?

Read this story in the Sacramento Bee this morning:

Off-road use drives trail plan for Tahoe

Since when is a bicycle considered an off-road vehicle? Does your mountain bike have a motor? Mine doesn't...

I forwarded this story to my good friend John who is an IMBA State Representative. He was all over it, and below are his emails to fellow advocates and letters to the Sacramento Bee.

This plan is the part of Truckee Ranger's district underhanded attempt to close trails. See the email I sent out to some advocates this morning. I also sent the following letter to the Bee
this AM:

Fellow Advocates:

I think I know what is going on in the Truckee district. Earlier this year,
I heard complaints from the Truckee RD that they were very concerned about
unsanctioned bike trail use in the district. I went back and forth with
them about meeting to see if we could work out a solution. They were
excited about meeting with me.

Abruptly, I hit a brick wall. My emails and phone calls were never returned
from the Truckee RD. Odd, I thought. Then all of a sudden the district
announces a plan where by they lump these bike trails in with an OHV plan.

I now strongly feel that the district plans to use this OHV mandate as a
convenient tool to close unofficial bike trails in the district. While IMBA
won't support the building and use of unofficial trails, we need to fight
this plan tooth and nail because it represents a great method to curtail
bike usage and access in general in the district. After all, we are now OHVs.

If they want to address illegal trails, they need to do it in a method that
is separate and distinct from OHV management.


Letter to the Bee:

Since when is a bicycle an OHV ("Off-road use drives trail plan for Tahoe",
September 20th)? The Tahoe National Forest is on the right track with its
intent to address and inventory off road vehicle usage, but does a complete
disservice to California's cycling community by lumping bicycles usage in
with heavy, motorized equipment. The impact on the backcounty of these two
separate user groups are so dissimilar, they should be managed separately.
Studies have concluded time and time again that bicycles have an impact on
trails similar to hikers, less than equestrians and much less than
motorized vehicles. The term "Off Highway Vehicles" has never included
bicycles, so I wonder why the Truckee ranger district seeks to redefine the
term as part of this management plan.

John J. Gardiner

California State Representative

International Mountain Bicycling Association

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