NY Times, October 8, 2019:
Conservationists worry that the popularity of recreational mountain biking and e-bikes in public lands leads to unsafe conditions for humans, as well as for bears and other wildlife.
The article begins with an account of a mtn. biker killed by a grizzly:
Mr. Treat, an avid mountain biker, was zipping along at about 25 miles an hour through dense forest near Glacier National Park in the middle of a summer afternoon when he collided with a large male grizzly bear.
And mentions efforts to stop two ultramarathons in the Flathead National Forest.
Vast tracts of public land in the West have become favorite haunts of a growing number of mountain bikers, exploring wild areas for recreation. The Trump administration recently allowed e-bikes, or electric bikes, to be used on some trails under the jurisdiction of the Interior Department where bicycles are allowed.
The increasing popularity of trail biking has brought to the fore some of the inherent conflicts in the uses of public land — natural regions or playgrounds. And while the growth of tourism may help local businesses, the forays into deeper parts of the forests by more and more people are encroaching on wildlife.
Mechanized mountain bikes and e-bikes, especially at higher speeds, are incompatible with hiking, hunting, and bird and wildlife watching, some argue. Safety is also a concern. Some mountain bikers revel at bombing down trails at 20 or 30 miles per hour on single-track trails that hikers also frequent.
And biologists like Dr. Servheen who have spent decades studying grizzlies offer reminders about protecting the bears and other wildlife that unwittingly share their territory with more people and more mechanized vehicles.
In its report on Mr. Treat’s fatal accident, the interagency committee concluded: “The bear apparently had no time to move to avoid the collision. At a speed of 20-25 miles per hour, there were only one-to-two seconds between rounding the curve, the victim seeing the bear in the trail and impacting the bear.”