We were delighted to have been involved in this process and to be able to launch the new guidance at the Scottish Mountain Bike Conference 2018. Please read the press release issued on behalf of the National Access Forum, and the attached guidance. Trails are the key that unlock mountain biking's many benefits and are, of course, why we all enjoy the sport so much. If you dig, if you ride, please take the time to read the new guidance.
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.
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.”
Copies of the guidance are available on request, or can be downloaded here. 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