Science vs "Use Bigotry"
This year, New Zealand's Gordon Cessford published
another study comparing walkers with off-road cyclists.
"... most studies have concluded that while
visibly very different, the physical impacts of bikes on
tracks were not any worse than those of walkers overall."
Walkers' opinions about off-road cyclists ... "are found to be
more positive among those walkers who had actual
encounters with bikes. By contrast, more negative opinions were
found among those who had no such encounters. "
I wrote a bit more about this study and a few others,
on my MTB impacts studies page, a part of the
MTB section of my static site.
The bottom line, as far as I'm concerned:
in most cases, rules that prohibit bicycles from trails
are based purely on prejudice, not on any science.
This kind of unreasoned bias against some trail users
(a.k.a. "use bigotry") often leads to unintended consequences.
A few months ago, I mentioned
some other subjects where laws backfire in similar ways.