In Tuesday’s edition of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, a letter to the editor was printed that didn’t sit too well with me…
Pedestrians and cyclists a bad mix
On March 24, I took a hike on the Quaker Pond Trail at Mendon Ponds Park, a trail on which bicycles are not allowed, according to the signs. I was unpleasantly surprised to be forced off the trail by two men on off-road bikes who barreled past at high speed. In addition to biking on a trail where they shouldn’t have been, they were quite rude. When I politely pointed out that bikes aren’t allowed on that trail, one of them cursed at me. The wet parts of the trail are being heavily rutted by mountain bikes. The Monroe County Parks Department needs to do a much better job of enforcing its rules on bikes.
I am aware that the county has plans for shared-use pedestrian and bike trails in some parks as a result of intense lobbying by Genesee Regional Off-Road Cyclists. In my opinion, pedestrians and cyclists are not a happy mix. They get in each other’s way, and someone is bound to get hurt.
So, I decided to write a response. In case they decide not to publish it, I figured I’d post it here as well:
I was dismayed to read “Pedestrians and cyclists a bad mix” in Tuesday’s edition. While Jay Greenberg and other outspoken Rochester Birding Society members have sought to paint off-road cyclists as out-of-control thrill-seekers, experiences in neighboring counties and across the country paint a decidedly friendlier picture: Those on two wheels are just another set of respectful trail users.
While off-road cyclists are the second-largest group of trail users nationwide, one need only look to Ontario County to see multi-use trails enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists alike. Rather than ostracizing entire classes of taxpayers and creating an adversarial environment via public policy, park officials there welcome cyclists and encourage cooperative trail use.
As an off-road cyclist, I’m disappointed that Mr. Greenberg’s reported experience reflects poorly on the larger community of riders who courteously enjoy the precious few multi-use trails in our region. Before forming an opinion based on his letter, I hope others will take the opportunity to visit the excellent nearby parks that practice inclusion, rather than exclusion, of all who seek to enjoy them.
The standard yield sign that graces multi-use trails nationwide