Last Monday, 60 members of MTB Eugene returned to the Eugene City Council to continue lobbying for mountain bike access to the newly-built Ribbon Trail. This was MTB Eugene‘s second time testifying before city council. This time, they came armed with more reasons why there should be more mountain biking trails in Eugene–including specific rebuttals to Neil BjÃ¶rklund’s letter in which he listed his reasons for closing the trail.
Unfortunately, this particular city council meeting was sort of ridiculous. The public testimony portion of the meeting ran for over an hour and a half: 42 different people testified on diverse topics like the West 11th EMX route, downtown homelessness, the new “no loitering” paint by the downtown bus station, and the two chicken limit in Eugene. The testimonies included aggressive poetry, a few hard-to-follow rants, and a live chicken. I rather enjoyed the entire thing, being a fan of circuses in general, but it was hard for the eight people testifying for MTB Eugene to stand out amongst the craziness.
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.
Members of the newly formed mountain bike advocacy group, MTB Eugene, and the Disciples of Dirt (DoD) mountain bike social and trail maintenance club attended the Eugene City Council meeting on Monday, April 26th to protest the recent closing of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists. Over 50 people met in front of the city council chambers before the meeting to plan and make pro-mountain bike trail-use signs. The goal of the gathering was to show the city council that mountain bikers are a large constituency, and to explain to them that mountain bikers and hikers can live together in harmony on Eugene’s trails. Even though the signs were not allowed inside the chambers, the sheer number of attendees and convincing testimony from several MTB Eugene and DoD members definitely got the attention of the city council.