The recently-formed mountain bike advocacy group MTB Eugene is returning to the Eugene City Council on Monday, May 24th to lobby for the re-opening of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists. MTB Eugene, which was formed in response to the city’s decision to ban cyclists from the Ribbon Trail, has a goal to eventually open the entire Ridgeline trail system to bicyclists.
The closing of the Ribbon Trail has proven to be the most popular subject on WeBikeEugene by far; this seems to indicate that mountain bikers in Eugene are a silent and suppressed majority. Indeed, Eugene (like Portland) has ridiculously little mountain bike trail access in relationship to its size and large bicycling populace. Much of this is due to a perceived conflict between mountain bikers and hikers, and the belief that mountain bikes damage trails more than hikers. Both of these beliefs have been shown in study after study after study after study to be false. Some studies have indicated that the real issue is the fear that hikers have of conflict with mountain bikers – a fear that for the most part exists only in hikers not exposed to mountain bikers.
MTB Eugene’s testimony before city council on Monday will address a few of these issues, as well as other specific reasons that The Ribbon Trail should be re-opened to bikes.
Go here for previous coverage of the closing of the Ribbon Trail and here for coverage and video of MTB Eugene’s previous testimony before City Council.
Take the jump to read MTB Eugene’s full press release for the upcoming May 24th City Council Meeting.
This will be our second visit to the Council Chambers to request more trails for Mountain bikes. Our first meeting with Council went well, and we introduced the issue of the Ribbon trail and MTB access to the councilors. See the recap here: [WeBikeEugene's Recap] This time, we want to give them specific reasons why the Ribbon trail decision was flawed, and emphasize our belief that more trails should be opened to bikes. We really need to get a large crowd to attend this Rally. We set a high bar in April with 45 attendees, so let’s try to double the numbers and show Council that we are serious, and that we will continue to pursue this issue.
We hope to get the City Council to realize that there is strong support for building more trails that are open to bikes. We also want them to understand that concerns about safety, trail damage, and other issues have been successfully resolved in dozens of towns across the US. There are so many examples of success that it will be hard for people to ignore the facts.
Our long term goal would be to see the entire Ridgeline trail system have access to MTB use. We also hope to ensure that all future trail expansions will have a MTB component unless unique circumstances prevent the possibility.
We are asking people to show up in front of the City Council Chambers (On Pearl Street between 7th and 8th) at 7pm on Monday May 24th. We will gather and go over some info, and then as a group we will enter the Council Chamber a few minutes before the 7:30 meeting start.
We will be putting out a petition for people to print out and sign, and it would be great is people could try to get friends, family and colleagues to sign the petition. We will also distribute the petition to local bike shops, and trail friendly businesses in hopes that they will support our efforts. Watch the MTB Eugene page for the Petition (it should be available by May 6). if anyone would like to get more involved with planning and promoting this event, feel free to contact Steve Mertz or me. Also, feel free to ask any questions or make suggestions regarding strategy and other ideas.