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22 November, 2018

Guidance on unauthorised mountain bike trails published

Guidance on unauthorised mountain bike trails published: Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ACCESS FORUM

A new guide tackling the issue of unauthorised mountain bike trails has been unveiled at a national conference.

The document has been published by the National Access Forum at the three-day Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018, which begins today in Aviemore.

The guidance is in response to a growth in the unauthorised construction of mountain bike tracks and features.

These can lead to a range of issues including potential environmental damage and injury to mountain bikers and other users, and also raise liability concerns for land managers due to their duty of care to those on their land. 

While Scotland’s right of responsible access includes cycling, it does not extend to the construction of trails without permission from the land manager.

The guide stresses the importance of dialogue between land managers and bikers in order to find solutions to problems on the ground and makes positive suggestions for the future.

These include the adoption of trails by land managers or agreements with volunteers or mountain bike groups. 

National Access Forum Convenor David Henderson-Howat said: “This guide should provide a useful starting point for land managers and mountain bikers when they sit down together to discuss the potential future for mountain bike trails in the context of their particular circumstances.”

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska added: “Scotland has a fantastic natural environment and we want everyone to be able to share it safely. 

“I’m delighted that this guidance has been produced to ensure that mountain bikers and everyone else enjoying our exceptional outdoor space can use it safely and sustainably. 

“The process of producing this guidance is a great example of everyone recognising the value of Scotland’s wonderful natural resources, the needs of others and the benefits of working together.”

ENDS

For interviews please contact Colena Cotter at Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland on 07960 271 566 or Colena.Cotter@scottishcycling.org.uk

Contact information

Name
SNH Media
Email
SNHMEDIA@nature.scot

Notes to editors

Copies of the guidance are available on request. For more information about the conference see www.DMBinS.com/conference

The guide includes information on liability, risk assessment and insurance, together with case studies showcasing successful partnerships between land managers and bikers in different parts of Scotland.  Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland will also maintain a publicly accessible on-line database with examples of lease agreements, volunteer agreements, insurance and related risk assessment requirements, volunteer inspection agreements and sign templates.

Members of the National Access Forum, including representatives from Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Land and Estates, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and local authorities, worked with Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland to develop the guidance. As part of this process they held open meetings that were attended by over one hundred stakeholders, including mountain bikers and land managers, in different parts of Scotland. 

The National Access Forum (NAF) was established by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to advise on national issues linked to Scottish access rights. The NAF complements the work of local access forums, which advise on and help to resolve local access issues. Its members include representatives from recreational bodies, land management bodies and relevant public bodies. To find out more about the NAF please contact the Secretary, Janice Winning, at NAFsec@nature.scot

Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland is a partnership project, hosted within Scottish Cycling, which is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the world's first national strategic framework for mountain biking in Scotland. To find out more about Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland please contact the Project Manager, Graeme McLean, at graeme.mclean@scottishcycling.org.uk 

Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help people understand, value and enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at www.nature.scot or follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/nature_scot

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Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018

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