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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son and I were exploring some trails that a few local kids have built in the forest owned by our town's rec department off the playground/sports fields. They've been working on them for several years I think and they are very good riders and so they are building the trails they want to ride. We turned down a section of the trail today and found their latest creation in progress, a gap/drop that I don't think would be out of place on a double black downhill trail.

I'm not sure whether the town's rec manager knows the scale of what they're building but my gut reaction was that it's too much for where it is and it is a serious accident waiting to happen. Do you think I should have a word with the Rec Manager?

My son is 4'7", the drop-off is up above him to the right, and you can see the landing on the left. My fear is someone has no idea it's there, can't stop in time, front wheel goes off and they OTB and drop spine first onto the stack of logs building up the landing:

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Looks like a fun drop assuming there's an appropriate runout.

Suggest that they add:
  • Appropriate signage
  • B-line around OR wooden ramp (that can be dropped over to the lander if going fast enough).

Don't talk to the Manager if it's about scrapping it. Talk about more progression opportunities on the trails, and signage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looks like a fun drop assuming there's an appropriate runout.

Suggest that they add:
  • Appropriate signage
  • B-line around OR wooden ramp (that can be dropped over to the lander if going fast enough).

Don't talk to the Manager if it's about scrapping it. Talk about more progression opportunities on the trails, and signage.
Knowing the manager I don't think she'd leave it there, even with signage, because suddenly issues of liability come into play, but without it's a real hazard.

None of the trails are posted, it's basically these kids' private trail network on town land and I think it's great, I just worry they're getting too big for something that anybody could 'stumble' on.
 

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Looks like a fun drop assuming there's an appropriate runout.

Suggest that they add:
  • Appropriate signage
  • B-line around OR wooden ramp (that can be dropped over to the lander if going fast enough).

Don't talk to the Manager if it's about scrapping it. Talk about more progression opportunities on the trails, and signage.
Exactly, that looks like a fun feature that should be properly labeled “gap”. I hate it when gaps are labeled “drop” and you scrub your speed to discover it’s a gap. It should also have an obvious go around that is basically the main trail ie you should have to deviate from the main trail for a gap feature like that. I don’t think the kids would appreciate a plank that takes all the risk out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As long as they have appropriate signage I don't see the issue. If you want easier trails to ride then volunteer to help build some.
It's not about wanting easier trails, this is an entirely unmarked/unsigned network and I hate the idea of some non-MTB kids stumbling on it and having a big accident.
 

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People dont blindly ride off a drops, that's not realistic, drops like that are obvious and everyone's instinct when approaching one is to STOP and look at it. How many people accidentally fly off cliffs because they thought there was a hill on the other side? Humans would be extinct if we werent hard wired to freeze when we approach something where we cant see the bottom. The whole reason drops like that are thrilling is because its about overcoming that fear and forcing yourself to go off it.

Kids are also not going to just jump it when they dont have the skill because things like that are too scary. There are 6ft drops all over the world and kids have survived.

Stuff like this simply isnt as dangerous as you think, its the unassuming poorly built stuff that gets people hurt.
 

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People dont blindly ride off a drops, that's not realistic, drops like that are obvious and everyone's instinct when approaching one is to STOP and look at it. How many people accidentally fly off cliffs because they thought there was a hill on the other side? Humans would be extinct if we werent hard wired to freeze when we approach something where we cant see the bottom. The whole reason drops like that are thrilling is because its about overcoming that fear and forcing yourself to go off it.

Kids are also not going to just jump it when they dont have the skill because things like that are too scary. There are 6ft drops all over the world and kids have survived.

Stuff like this simply isnt as dangerous as you think, its the unassuming poorly built stuff that gets people hurt.
Agreed 100%. Something else that gets forgotten is that mountain bikers have a responsibility to ride in control. If you blindly sail off that because you you couldn't stop then you were riding too fast, pure and simple. Skiing has had this figured out for a while now. Us? Not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
People dont blindly ride off a drops, that's not realistic, drops like that are obvious and everyone's instinct when approaching one is to STOP and look at it. How many people accidentally fly off cliffs because they thought there was a hill on the other side? Humans would be extinct if we werent hard wired to freeze when we approach something where we cant see the bottom. The whole reason drops like that are thrilling is because its about overcoming that fear and forcing yourself to go off it.

Kids are also not going to just jump it when they dont have the skill because things like that are too scary. There are 6ft drops all over the world and kids have survived.

Stuff like this simply isnt as dangerous as you think, its the unassuming poorly built stuff that gets people hurt.
As it stands today it's completely blind, there's no warning, you're riding along what is ostensibly an XC trail and suddenly the trail isn't there anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You know the trail, the conditions, and the people building the trails.
Use your own judgement.
We met a kid last year who showed us where some of these trails were and he said he and his brother built them, and I literally don't know the trail which is why we were just pottering about, but a couple of mph faster and you literally wouldn't have been able to stop before your front wheel was over the edge. It never occurred to me that there would be a feature like that on these trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Exactly, that looks like a fun feature that should be properly labeled “gap”. I hate it when gaps are labeled “drop” and you scrub your speed to discover it’s a gap. It should also have an obvious go around that is basically the main trail ie you should have to deviate from the main trail for a gap feature like that. I don’t think the kids would appreciate a plank that takes all the risk out of it.
As I stated in another comment the trail literally leads over the drop, there is no b-line and zero signage, and it goes from what is basically a 'green' XC trail to a pretty significant feature.

My fear is that 'formalizing' the trails with signage might bring them under scrutiny and lead to the town pulling their permission, but leaving them as is could result in a serious accident...
 

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Talk to the individuals building the trail. Don't drink the Karen cool-aid and act like talking to a manager is going to help make the world safer. They were building the trails before they showed you, don't ruin their hard work because you want to create a hypothetical bad scenario in your mind about what could be. Just suggest that they label it and put a b-line around it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Talk to the individuals building the trail. Don't drink the Karen cool-aid and act like talking to a manager is going to help make the world safer. They were building the trails before they showed you, don't ruin their hard work because you want to create a hypothetical bad scenario in your mind about what could be. Just suggest that they label it and put a b-line around it.
My whole point is that I don't want to rock the boat and take away a good thing, but at the same time I imagine when they asked for permission to put some trails in no one was considering features like this. As I said we met a kid who showed us some of these trails and I've never seen him again, so I have no way of "speaking to them". I could go and put some signs up but that might lead to closure anyway if they draw the wrong attention.
 

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You saw the drop and you stopped so why wouldnt other people? Ive never accidentally went over a drop or heard of anyone that has. I live near a drop that is almost a clone of that and there is a perspective effect you get between the lip and the background that screams "cliff" as you approach and not "trail", I dont see how its possible anyone can mistake something that high as anything but a drop.

I think adding a small drop sign on the run-in is a good peace of mind but even without it I HIGHLY doubt anyone accidentally goes over it. You have to trust that people arent brain dead and will just ride off a blind drop, its a one in a million kind of accident.
 

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If these are non sanctioned trails as is, getting the land manager involved is just going to have all of them destroyed. Putting up one sign on a stake about 20ft before the drop warns people of it and isn’t drawing too much attention to it.


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My whole point is that I don't want to rock the boat and take away a good thing, but at the same time I imagine when they asked for permission to put some trails in no one was considering features like this. As I said we met a kid who showed us some of these trails and I've never seen him again, so I have no way of "speaking to them". I could go and put some signs up but that might lead to closure anyway if they draw the wrong attention.
Ah yes, the eternal conundrum.
Haste makes waste.
OTOH,
He who hesitates is lost.
 
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