Was the sentence fair for the crime?
Most of the time trail hazards in mountain biking are a mere nuisance. Sometimes though, they can be perilous, and that’s when things start to get serious.
Stray trail dogs, hikers and horses can normally be forgiven in the grand scheme of things, but when sheer malice comes into it, it gets truly concerning. That’s what happened when British Columbia resident Tieneke Kraal started to sabotage her local trails on a regular basis – dragging rocks and logs onto the paths in order to try and slow the riders down.
Kraal is reported by CBC to have left anywhere between 10 and 40 logs on the Skull trail in BC, getting up between the hours of 4am and 6am every single day with her two dogs in order to do exactly that.
This sabotage went on for 2 years before mountain bikers finally caught her with motion-sensor cameras. She was "very sorry" and received a suspended sentence, 3 years probation and 150 hours of community service. They have stipulated her community service would not involve mountain bike trails for her own safety because she was worried mountain bikers would hurt her. Ironic.
This isn't the only case of sabotage on shared biker/hiker trails. I've personally seen odd logs on the path that don't look like they were meant to be there or naturally fell on the path. At the very least, it's an inconvenience. It could also lead to serious injury or be life-threatening.
The sentence seems quite light. I wish they did have her work with the mountain biking trails in hopes she would humanize the people impacted by her actions. I don't think there truly is a risk of mountain bikers hurting her.
The other discussion? Should there be shared trails? Is there enough space to comfortably accommodate both hikers and mountain bikers? I haven't seen very many trails wide enough to comfortably fit both groups.
Personally, when I hike, I avoid shared trails and opt to hike on hiking-only trails. As a mountain biker, I am not a big fan of shared trails. Why? I am going at a faster speed and sometimes there are a lot of hikers and they are spread all over the path. No matter how many times I yell ahead when I spot them, sometimes they don't move out of the way i.e. walking 3-4 people wide across the path and not paying attention to cyclists on the path. Even if there are strictly enforced laws about sabotaging shared trails, I don't know that it will solve the issue. Will that truly discourage people from sabotage? In the case of the women who go caught by a camera, she was visiting the trails at 4 am. She knew what she was doing was wrong and chose to do this in the dark to avoid getting caught.
There are only two known instances in which mountain bikers were killed by bears in North America. The vast majority of victims are hikers, fishers and hunters... not mountain bikers.
Maybe people should stop hiking, fishing, camping, and hunting?
On the contrary... we (as cyclists) should be encouraging these activities and welcome our fellow trail users with open arms.
That way the bears will eat them first.