Use of bikes in parks is not black and white

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It is with increasing anxiety that I have been watching the developments between the mountain bike and national park community groups. (“Police investigate tyre spikes on national park trail, Peninsula News 500, 10 August 2020)

I fear that views on how we use the park are becoming more divisive and arguments, on each side, are very black and white.

I understand points on both sides and hope I can contribute some compromise and clarity.

I can’t see exactly how the coronavirus situation has directly contributed to polarising the debate but I do sense the huge influx of people at this time has also increased the tensions.

It is precisely at times like this we need to be kind to each other and understand we all have to find ways to ease the growing stress.

There are many shades of grey within the riding community and some of us have been riding in this area for many years without issues.

We ride the trails as a passive way to be in nature and appreciate our beautiful environment.

On the road we are not safe from the aggression and abuse of drivers and when we cycle the trails we are respectful and careful of the indigenous sites, flora, fauna and other users.

I have noticed recently an increase in the creation of extreme side trails with jumps and turns.

I have been increasingly concerned that some of the people creating these adrenaline-inducing trails are doing it without thought to the damage caused to the fragile flora.

I support the requests from this group to have an area created for this style of mountain biking and I can understand the appeal (if only I was younger).

With proper planning and development by qualified specialists, the sport can be a drawcard for Central Coast tourism.

Promoting collaboration between National Parks and Wildlife Service and trail designers we could have a valuable addition to our area while at the same time preserving the integrity of the park.

However, I am alarmed and saddened when I read comments by some locals, and others, wanting all biking banned from all areas of the park or banished to a concentrated section for the “hardcore” cyclists.

As a long term hiking and cycling resident of Killcare, I am seeking a guarantee that I will be able to access the park trails adjacent to our property for local commuting, exercise, riding with grandchildren and friends.

This would enable myself and many others I know to sustain positive mental and physical health.

Fear creates friction, so if we all want to keep using the trails, together we must observe proper etiquette, be aware and courteous.

Riders should call out and be vigilant so as to not scare hikers.

The natural bushland fragile areas should be respected.

I appeal to all sides to be understanding and communicate with each other.

Let’s make our interactions congenial and respectful and, when passing on the trails, greet each other with a smile.

SOURCE:
Email, 8 Sep 2020
Janelle Coleman, Killcare

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