Out of the 66 bikers clocked, 11 were speeding.

Radar guns are being used in Marin County to ensure mountain bikers do not exceed speeds of 15 miles per hour.

UPDATE 20/01/17: During a recent speedgun-toting session, out of 66 bikers clocked, 11 were found to be speeding.

“Four were above the 15 mile-per-hour limit, and seven were above 5 miles an hour when passing,” said the Marin County Open Space District, according to San Francisco CBS.

The offenders didn’t get tickets. But from here in on speeding bikers will be fined. The first offence results in a $50 fine and a $155 court costs fee too.

There are four rangers and two deputies currently policing the Open Space District and charged with ticketing any speeding MTBers.

Original story 04/04/16

Starting this month, Marin County rangers will be deploying radar guns in the open areas and on the shared trails of the Mount Tamalpais park to catch mountain bikers speeding around. There will be two deputies assigned to the role and they could be deployed in any of the 34 open spaces of the park – an area that encompasses 16,000 acres.

This is not the first time that radar guns have been used to curb speeding in American parks, with rangers in Denver targeting cyclists in February 2015.

The penalty for speeding on a bike is similar to a motor vehicle offence with riders paying a fine of several hundred dollars, having points put on their license and potentially facing higher insurance costs in the future.

The announcement has obviously caused controversy among the local biking community. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that local bike mechanic Matt Wheeler said: “It feels like crawling. People come from all over the world to ride mountain bikes on Mount Tam. We don’t want to discourage people from doing that, do we?”

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While Glenn Fielder, who had travelled all the way from Texas to ride the trails and had crashed at 30mph that day, said: “I’m always polite and say, ‘Howdy,’ but I also like the excitement of going fast. To keep it at 15 mph when you’re coming down from the top, you’re going to be squeezing your brakes the whole time. What fun is that?”

However, some trail users were in support of the idea. Beth Greer, who was interviewed while walking her poodle, said: “Oh, my God, they come whizzing up, out of nowhere, and they yell at you to move over, it’s scary.”

Pat O’Brien, Interim Director of Marin County Parks, said: “ For years we’ve had concerns expressed to us about safety on unpaved roads and trails, so we think it’s natural to use a proven program in our open spaces. I wish to emphasize that the great majority of bike riders respect safety when they ride on the Open Space trails.”

While this does not apply to any UK trail centres yet, we think it could set a worrying precedent if it is an idea that catches on. We fully advocate responsible trail use, especially if this policy is only applied to very high traffic areas, but if it means mountain bikers can’t enjoy any of the trails for fear of being caught out, then what’s the point of going for a ride?

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