Famed Bay Area bike trails under new controversial speed limit

bike trails san francisco
A mountain biker descends one of the many popular bike trails in Marin County. Photo: Courtesy of TrailSource/Flickr

While it might be the technology hub of the United States, mountain bikers in the San Francisco area aren’t happy about a new technology that will soon appear on some of its most famed bike trails: radar guns.

Mountain bikers in the Bay Area have long enjoyed the bike trails that traverse the slopes of scenic Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, where it is believed by many that modern-day mountain biking was born.

But according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, starting this month rangers for the Marin County Parks agency will be staking out trails with radar guns at the ready, looking to enforce a 15 mile per hour speed limit. If a mountain biker is found to be speeding, they will be issued a citation which will carry with it a fine and the possibility of an increase in the cost of vehicular insurance.

Officials with Marin County said that while the speed limit has always been in place, it has rarely been regarded or obeyed, and that enforcing it via citations is the best way to make the trails safer for everyone and get people to slow down.

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“We noted a decrease in speed [after issuing tickets],” Max Korten, assistant director of Marin County Parks, told the Chronicle about a previous trial run with citations on trails in the town of Sausalito. “The number of problems went down.”

But many cyclists are claiming that the restrictions on speed are silly and unnecessary, noting that the county admits it doesn’t have any data regarding how often speeding incidents occur, and that experienced mountain bikers can regularly travel at speeds closer to 30 miles per hour while under control.

“Marin County Parks has deemed radar necessary to show concerned parties, mainly the 'foot people' that safety on the trails is priority,” Vernon Huffman, president of Access4Bikes, a Marin County nonprofit bike advocacy group told Fox News. “But Marin County Parks can't name one single past incident that radar would have prevented.”

“They're going to ruin the sport if they make people go 15 miles an hour,” one longtime mountain biker told the San Francisco Chronicle after riding Mount Tamalpais.

“15 miles an hour is a drag,” another biker told the newspaper. “I believe in sharing the trail. But these bikes are meant to go a lot faster than that.”

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