Mountain bikes shouldn’t be allowed on hiking trails

Regarding the trails for mountain bikes in Lord Hill Park, mountain biking and trail-building destroy wildlife habitat. Mountain biking is environmentally, socially, and medically destructive (“Cyclists, equestrians, others at Lord Hill Park getting along,” letters to the editor, Dec. 13, The Herald) ! There is no good reason to allow bicycles on any unpaved trail.

Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have exactly the same access as everyone else: on foot!

A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. Mountain bikers also love to build new trails, legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat, not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail!

Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is OK.

The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are wildlife habitat, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

Mike Vandeman

San Ramon, Calif.

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