In a see-saw decision, the District of North Vancouver will allow historic teeter-totter mountain bike obstacles to remain on the region’s bike trails.
Over the weekend, mountain bike advocates expressed dismay at the municipality’s plans to pull the five obstacles.
The decision to remove them came in the wake of an Ontario court ruling that found a local government liable when a man broke his neck after falling off a similar obstacle in 2008.
But on Tuesday, District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little said he had met with the Municipal Insurance Association and that the teeter-totters would stay in place for the time being.
“We do see mountain biking as being a significant part of our identity for North Vancouver and we definitely want to keep that active and healthy in our community,” Little told Global News.
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“But we always have to reassess when safety matters come up and make sure that the risks are being mitigated in an appropriate and reasonable way.”
Little said the district and insurers discussed alternatives to the teeter-totters’ removal such as improved signage and alternate routes to allow cyclists to avoid the obstacles or get off difficult sections of trail.
“They’ve said that that’s something we can definitely look into. So at this point we’re not removing the teeter-totters,” he said.
Cooper Quinn, president of the North Shore Mountain Biking Association (NSMBA), said he was thrilled at the outcome.
“It’s awesome,” he said.
“I think it speaks to the district really reacting to the community’s reaction and understanding, listening to the people and trying to find a balance between risk management and the value of the resources that we have.”
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Quinn said he’d spoken to the mayor and was looking forward to future discussions between the three parties to ensure they can find a permanent solution to keep the obstacles in place.
The five obstacles, some of them more than three decades old, are located on trails on Mount Fromme in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.
According to the NSMBA, some of the obstacles have historical significance, having been built in the early days of freeride mountain biking — a style of sport with deep roots on the North Shore and which has since spread globally.
Quinn said the community is overjoyed to learn they will be preserved.
“It means a lot to the people who built them decades ago and the people who, you know, are still learning, getting the ability level to such that they can ride them in the future here.“
Little said there is no timeline for discussions about coming up with a safety plan for the trails, but that riders can rest easy knowing that the obstacles aren’t going anywhere in the meantime.