In yet another story of a mountain biker overcoming serious injury, the Victoria Times Colonist shares the story of Shauna Paisley Cooper, a 34-year old mother of twins who was paralyzed after a mountain bike crash despite wearing a helmet. Cooper broke a vertebrae and severed her spinal cord after misjudging a 10-foot (!) jump. Today Cooper is slowly recovering and her spirits are high as family and friends work to help her pay for medical bills and physical therapy. Our thoughts will certainly be with the Cooper family and we’re anxious to follow Shauna’s recovery progress.
On a more positive note, IMBA has been making serious progress on the mountain bike trail access front. Do you ever wonder what happens with all those petitions and donations IMBA is always asking for (like these: 1 2 3)? Well this week we got to see that the letters and dollars are working: The U.S. Forest Service notified all employees that mountain biking will be managed the same as hiking and equestrian usage on USFS land. This means some forest areas that had been regulating mountain biking in the same way as motorized usage could be opening more trails to bikes in the future. Sweet! From the SportsOneSource article:
Bedwell’s announcement comes at a time when some national forests have applied similar restrictions to bicycles and motor vehicles. IMBA believes most Forest Service staff understand bicycling is a quiet, non-motorized, low-impact activity, and hopes the letter provides the guidance necessary for consistent treatment of mountain biking on every national forest.
I’ve always said the best mountain bike trails in the US are generally in National Forest areas and I’m hoping this means we’ll see even more great trail systems open to mountain bikes. IMBA continues to work with the National Park Service to increase trails in some of the nation’s most scenic locations where off-road bicycling has been verboten for decades – let’s continue to our parts to help!