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Mountain biking damage

From Ruth F

Sunday, 8 October 2017

I live in Heptonstall and walk the woodland paths a lot, and I'm seeing increasing amounts of damage to paths from excessive mountain biking use, especially in the last two years.  Some places the bikers have dismantled sections of wall and made new paths that are solely steep mountain bike runs.  Then a group of men on bikes will meet there and descend the path over and over in a morning or afternoon, carrying their bikes back up and taking another run.  The damage this does is awful.

Today I was on a path at Slack which was fine a few days ago but looks like at least a dozen bikers went over it today, and half of it is now 2 to 3 ins deep in mud with only bike tracks going through it.

Several paths are taking a lot of damage, rocks that help hold them together are being knocked out by bikers using them as jump points, and deep mud pits have appeared below rocks and steep sections.  And a lot of the paths simply aren't safe for biking, with steep drops to one side, slippery and rocky, and no room for bikers and walkers to pass each other.

Add to this that somewhat over half the bikers are rude to walkers, expect you to jump out of the way so they can pass, get abusive if you don't ... and this by far isn't just the young ones.  (I will add that maybe 30 - 40% are actually very nice and considerate.)

I've been told that it is actually illegal to mountain bike on a lot of these paths, but I don't know how to find out if this is the case or how to get something done, like at least some signage saying where it's dangerous and where it's not allowed, and perhaps reminders to be polite to walkers where it is allowed.  Does anyone know who to contact?

I'm actually often feeling tearful about the damage to some of these paths.  It's vulnerable ground and takes damage very easily, and it makes me really sad to see possibly irreparable damage being done.

From Tim B

Sunday, 8 October 2017

This is a concern that seems to get raised every now and then, particularly when the weather gets wetter and the paths get muddier.  It seems to me that most paths recover when drier weather comes and the paths are beaten flat again.  Shame about the rudeness, there is usually no need, most bikers I know try to 'share with care'.

It isn't illegal to cycle on a footpath, but it is a civil offence for which the landowner can sue if they wish (I don't think this ever happens though)

From Julie C

Monday, 9 October 2017

This doesn't seem like a small seasonal problem, it feels like it is a, maybe thoughtless, part of the over exploitation of the area. The bikers not only destroy paths that the admirable volunteers from CROWS spend days fixing up, but in cutting new ones down the hillsides they have a huge impact on the run off from stormy weather. It doesn't take long to gouge out the thin topsoil and cover that helps keep vegetation on the hillsides. I think this is a problem to take seriously. 

From Rachel Z

Monday, 9 October 2017

I agree that this is an upsetting and frustrating problem, especially for people that care about the local environment. 

Everyone should be able to use the public footpaths, but not in a way that causes thoughtless damage or hinders other people's enjoyment of them.

I am not sure if mountain biking is illegal on some of the paths or not, but it might be useful to report the problem on the CROWS (Community Rights of Way Service) website. The address is: crows-coop.co.uk, and if you go to 'contact us' you can report a problem with a footpath or bridle path.

I think that people could be encouraged to behave more responsibly.

Previously

HebWeb Forum: Mountain bikes on footpaths (March 2016)

HebWeb Forum: Mountain bikes on public footpaths (Feb-Aug 2014)