We, the undersigned Santa Barbara front country trail users, urge local public officials and their appointed commissioners to support continued equal access for all trail user groups in Santa Barbara. Limiting mountain cycling use to odd or even days on front country trails in Santa Barbara is unfair because it targets only one user group, when the trails have historically been enjoyed equally by all non-motorized user groups. Educating all trail users --cyclists, hikers, or equestrians-- about safety and trail etiquette through outreach and signage is a far more productive approach than implementing punitive measures and would likely reduce any current user conflicts.
The vast majority of cyclists are far more responsible outdoor enthusiasts than has been reported in local news. No survey has ever been taken to determine the needs and complaints of trail users in Santa Barbara. A “voluntary interim odd-even measure” for cyclists is a bureaucratic term for initiating a program which will eventually lead to a permanent and strictly enforced limited access program.
Cycling off road is a sport in which trail users escape the dangers of the road and promote non-polluting alternative transportation. The recent death of triathlete Kendra Payne on Gibraltar Road illustrates the need for cyclists to have access to off road areas for recreation. Off road cycling is the way many local trail enthusiasts keep fit and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Limiting access to this form of exercise will only add to the growing problem of reduced physical activity and increased obesity and other health problems in children and adults.
Public officials and park commissioners have a duty to represent the entire public and act in the best interest of the community in the most inclusive, not exclusive, manner. Trails are only going to become more populated and should have an inclusive management plan. Learning to live and get along with each other is a much better plan than excluding any one user group.