Marin County to Begin Enforcing 15mph Speed Limit on Mountain Bike Trails

According to a recent article published on SFGATE.com, Marin County will begin enforcing a 15mph speed limit on mountain bike trails in their open space areas.

“Beginning this month, park rangers will be staking out open space areas where mountain bikers, hikers, dog walkers and horseback riders have been known to speak words to one another that are less than bucolic. Bikers speeding along the dirt paths where modern mountain biking was born will be eligible for tickets as part of a campaign to reduce friction between trail users.”

Singletrack at Camp Tamarancho, arguably the only decent, bike-legal singletrack trail in Marin. Photo: Greg Heil.
Singletrack at Camp Tamarancho, arguably the only decent, bike-legal singletrack trail in Marin. Photo: Greg Heil.

Exactly where the speed traps will be set is being kept secret, but the article makes it sound as if this will apply to Marin’s 34 Open Space areas. What isn’t mentioned in the article is how few bike-legal singletrack trails exist in Marin–there are two main ones, but neither of those are located on Open Space land.

So, it could be that this enforcement will take place solely on doubletrack trails and dirt roads, where mountain bikers can easily reach speeds well above 15mph on the descents without even trying. Or, it could be that Marin is using this claim of speed control enforcement as a ruse to get more rangers out into the trail system to better enforce current singletrack trail closures.

Either way, mountain bikers in Marin could soon be facing fines of “several hundred dollars” if caught riding over 15mph, and possibly worse if caught riding illegal trails.

One thing is clear: despite its claim as the birthplace of mountain biking, Marin continues to cement itself as one of the least mountain bike friendly places in the nation, if not the world.

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