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Editorial: Avoiding Mountain Bike Mishaps

Image by Joakim Honkasalo via Unsplash

The 13-year-old mountain-bike rider who was injured last week in a mishap at RossGlen bike skills park was taken to the hospital in Trail for treatment, according to a news release from our local RCMP detachment in Trail. 

To help riders stay safe, the RCMP will be hosting a bike safety rodeo in May; details will be posted later when they become available.

More skills training

Meanwhile, Kootenay Gateway provides mountain biking courses, workshops, and after-school programs to help young riders improve their skills; better skills lead to better safety while riding.  For more information, go to

https://www.kootenaymountainbiking.com/youth

RED wants everyone to know that they will be hosting a summer mountain bike camp for youth – “Switchback! is an epic, all-inclusive Youth (12-18 yr) Mountain Bike Camp with pro athletes Dane Tudor and Mike Hopkins as your personal coaches!”  Booking will be open on May 2.

Biking season is definitely on the way, but . . .

The squishy trail problem

Here’s a reminder to bikers – please help preserve the trails by refraining from riding them until they're become firm and dry – when there are still  soft and muddy areas, ruts result.  Those ruts from too-early riders are  not only inconvenient and uncomfortable later, but they also encourage erosion and break down the trail surface.

No hitting!

When you do start riding, please respect other trail users.  The trails are for hiking as well as biking.  Please keep your speed down so that you can stop to avoid on-coming riders, or hikers.  Some hikers (and riders!) may be very young – you should not expect a toddler to leap out of your way if you’re speeding wildly downhill.  Others may be recovering from an injury, or getting old and a bit creaky, and you should not expect someone stiff and sore, or of venerable age, to leap agilely out of your way, either.  Uphill riders also may not be able to get out of your way if you’re riding out-of-control.

Remember that hikers have the right-of-way over riders, so it’s the responsibility of bike riders to avoid hitting hikers – not the other way around.

The e-bike question

The Kootenay Columbia Trails Society (KCTS) maintains our hiking and biking trails, and has agreements in place with many people whose private property is traversed by a KCTS trail. It’s worth noting that, though e-bikes are becoming enormously popular, e-bikes are not permitted on any KCTS trails.   There are good reasons for that; KCTS trails are designated non-motorized, and e-bikes are deemed by BC regulations to be motorized.  The property owners whose land the trails use have required that trail use be strictly non-motorized.  And the insurance carried by KCTS is limited to non-motorized use.  All of these points add up to keeping KCTS trails safe for muscle-powered use, whether on foot or on human-powered bikes. 

Around our steep urban streets, though, e-bikes are just fine!