Trail safety is a serious matter

Thank you very much for publishing the article on trail etiquette on June 25.

It seems that Mark Langton has taken the situation seriously, and I am thankful for his contribution to make the trails better for everyone.

As a hiker, road cyclist and equestrian, I know how to act on the trails. Unfortunately, most of the mountain bikers I have encountered either don’t know or don’t care about trail etiquette.

Many times, the mountain bikers have been rude, pushy and brazen, not to mention the high rate of speed and little-to-no warning when they come up from behind you.

I have heard similar complaints about mountain bikers from other outdoor enthusiasts. This by no means excuses any equestrian or hiker of bad behavior, which I’m sure happens as well.

I do take exception to a comment from Jack Rifenbark regarding horse temperament. A horse with a good temperament can just as easily get spooked and a rider get hurt when confronted with a cyclist going a high rate of speed.

One example: If I were to take my horse and charge at a mountain biker and he fell off, should my response be, “You shouldn’t be out here because you are obviously a weak rider?”

The trails are meant for everyone to use—young, old, runners, moms and babies, equestrians, hikers and mountain bikers.

A horse or a bike should never be used to compromise anyone’s safety or to invoke fear or harm, ever.

The week the article was published, a friend of mine, also an equestrian, was driving on Long Valley Road in Hidden Hills. She had a group of mountain bikers pass her at a very dangerous point and at a high rate of speed. It would appear that some cyclists are entering Ahmanson Ranch from Victory Boulevard and then entering Hidden Hills without permission.

Maybe the volunteers for the mountain bike association need to be at the trailheads explaining what is and what is not trail etiquette before the situation gets fully out of control.

Robin Targon

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