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  1. #1
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    Raccoon mountain suggestions....

    So, this'll probably go over like, well, not well, but I'd like to make a suggestion or two. While riding at Raccoon Mountain yesterday evening, I met another rider head on. Bad wreck, mild concussion and some battered limbs. No one was at fault, just wrong place at the wrong time.

    As of late, I've had many close encounters, that honestly should have ended up worse than they did. I ride there 4-5 days a week. Some days you don't see a soul on the trails, others you see a ton.

    It's been amazing to see the amount of riders getting involved in the sport in the Chattanooga area. With a lot of new riders, that means a lot more peeps on the trails. Since the trails are uni-directional, and awesome either way, this is going to cause a lot of near misses on our trails, especially when vegetation is out and no one can see around the next corner of trail.

    My suggestion to you, SORBA, is to make these trails, in a way, similiar to Tsali. But instead of having certain trails open on alternate days, making the trail system open in one direction on alternate days. I.E., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday the trails can be opened clockwise, or counter clockwise to your discretion; and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday opened the opposite direction.

    IMHO, this will lesson the possiblity of future incidents like this on our trails. This will also eliminate the attitude that many of us have encountered, where no one wants to give the other person the right of way (i.e. zero trail etique these days).

    Cheers,
    Stephen

  2. #2
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    Yes, that is a good idea..coon is fastly becoming more and more popular and I would not oppose the that idea at all. safety first!
    "too weird to live, too rare to die"

  3. #3
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    The alternate direction plan was discussed when we were first sitting down with TVA to get the land use agreement signed, but there was some opposition from within the BOD that probably stopped it from going into force. If we had started this from day 1 I think we would have had more success in making it happen, now it may be too late. In some ways it may be worse if we make the change. If you are expecting everyone to be going the same direction you tend haul ass, one idiot going the other way and you will experience what you did,

    If you are local you could attend one of the bi-monthly meetings and put it up for discussion.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furrner
    The alternate direction plan was discussed when we were first sitting down with TVA to get the land use agreement signed, but there was some opposition from within the BOD that probably stopped it from going into force. If we had started this from day 1 I think we would have had more success in making it happen, now it may be too late. In some ways it may be worse if we make the change. If you are expecting everyone to be going the same direction you tend haul ass, one idiot going the other way and you will experience what you did,

    If you are local you could attend one of the bi-monthly meetings and put it up for discussion.

    I think that there would be less likely hood of hitting one idiot than hitting a group full of idiots. I think it's honestly never too late to try to make a change, especially when that change is for the better. I think everyone riding for enjoyment, or whatever your motive might be, would agree that they would like to feel safe, while still being able to haul ass if that's their choosing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furrner

    If you are local you could attend one of the bi-monthly meetings and put it up for discussion.
    +1. Get involved with SORBA Chatt. We (SORBA) need everyone's help!
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  6. #6
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    It almost happened to me last night!

    D@mn Steven, slow you @ss down! (just kiddin) Hope you are alright. I was up there last night and almost ran over some trail walkers coming into a vegetated area under the power lines. It would help if we alternated the days for one way traffic. I would not oppose this at all for my safety and the safety of others.
    Too wet to ride!

  7. #7
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    I am with you guys here. I too ride at least 3-5 times a week up there and agree that we should do something about it. We need to bring this up in the next SORBA meeting and bug our BOD about it. Yeah I was the guy that ran into shalesjr, I am glad your ok! , just wrong place at the wrong time and it happened so fast, I got lucky. I have had a few close calls in the last year, IT is getting worse as more riders will be up there as Raccoon grows.
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  8. #8
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    We hope to open the first ten miles of trails at Enterprise South Nature Park in October.

    We also hope to open 18.5 miles of trail on Lookout Mountain by this time next year.

    As we open up new trails the congestion will be resolved to some extent.

    Other than that, you (and others) might make an appearance at a trail maintenance day at Raccoon Mountain and help us cut back the overgrowth to open up the line of sight so riders will be able to see further down the trail. We have a trail work day set for July 31, 2010 at 9 am. Meet in the visitor center parking lot. SORBA will provide lunch to all volunteers. We plan to cut back the overgrowth in the areas as the trail enters the fields, as well as the overgrowth that is diminishing the line of sight on the trail as it makes its way under the visitor center.

    As far as making the trail directional, that is not practical. Many riders don't ride the whole loop. Many less experienced riders, start from the East Brow parking lot down, complete the loop in the Laurel Point area and then ride back to the East Brow parking lot. That is a lot shorter and much easer than completing the entire loop. If we removed this option we would effectively be kicking all the less experienced riders off the mountain.

    Also, hikers and trail runners rarely complete the full loop. The over whelming majority of them are out-and-back users, with the hikers usually only hiking a mile or two at the most. If we removed this option we would basically be kicking all the families off the mountain. This would hurt the mixed-use relations we have established, as well as our future trail advocacy efforts.


    Having said all that, riders should strive to comply with all of IMBA's Rules Of The Trail. Two of the rules address the situation you described.

    Control Your Bicycle - Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.

    Plan Ahead - Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding — and prepare accordingly.

  9. #9
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    Your right, didn't think about all that. Can't make this next trail day, out of town
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  10. #10
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    not really........

    I disagree....if a rider chose to ride from the East Overlook to Laurel Point, and didn't feel he or she had the skill, or the energy to complete the loop, there are numerous exit points on the trails to hit the road back to the car. You could also hit electric ave. back up, and avoid most of the road back to the East Overlook. There are ways the acheive a happy medium without just saying 'ride within your limits', etc. While bombing down a trail, I'd say we all think we're riding within our limits. We are the only person that knows our own limits. You can't really measure that.

    The good thing about our trails is that they are used by other user's other than just mtb'ers. We can all share our trails, safely, without singling out one group. Put your thinking cap on without pushing this idea out. We can acheive this in a friendly manner if people are willing.

    Cheers,
    Stephen

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    The other big problem that seems to have reared its head over the past couple of years is the number of idiots with ipods blasting so loud they can't hear anyone else in the woods. I have surprised a couple of people over the last year or so, totally oblivious to anyone else on the trail.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by shalesjr
    I disagree....if a rider chose to ride from the East Overlook to Laurel Point, and didn't feel he or she had the skill, or the energy to complete the loop, there are numerous exit points on the trails to hit the road back to the car. You could also hit electric ave. back up, and avoid most of the road back to the East Overlook. There are ways the acheive a happy medium without just saying 'ride within your limits', etc. While bombing down a trail, I'd say we all think] we're riding within our limits. We are the only person that knows our own limits. You can't really measure that.

    The good thing about our trails is that they are used by other user's other than just mtb'ers. We can all share our trails, safely, without singling out one group. Put your thinking cap on without pushing this idea out. We can acheive this in a friendly manner if people are willing.

    Cheers,
    Stephen
    Stephen:

    I paraphrased your position below. It is not meant as a personal attack. I have done it with the hope that you might consider how a beginner mountain biker or hiker might view your previous post.

    The average beginner mountain biker or hiker will see your position as:

    (1) The better solution is to force beginner riders and hikers to "hit the road back to their car", instead of requesting riders slow to a safe speed, for a few seconds, when they negotiate the 3 or 4 limited sight distance turns in the 21.5 mile of trail network.

    (2) That if SORBA asks riders to slow down to a safe speed while negotiating limited sight turns we are "singling out one group." But at the same time if SORBA forces all the beginner bikers and hikers to "hit the road back to their car" we are not singling out anyone.

    Finally, have you considered that even if everyone is traveling the same direction, and you "bomb down a trail" into a limited sight turn, you could still hit a little kid who is hiking along at less than a mile per hour? Remember if they are walking the same direction, they will not see a rider coming and therefore would not be able to take any actions to avoid a collision.
    Last edited by schaarschmidt; 07-25-2010 at 01:35 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by schaarschmidt
    Stephen:

    I paraphrased your position below. It is not meant as a personal attack. I have done it with the hope that you might consider how a beginner mountain biker or hiker might view your previous post.

    The average beginner mountain biker or hiker will see your position as:

    (1) The better solution is to force beginner riders and hikers to "hit the road back to their car", instead of requesting riders slow to a safe speed, for a few seconds, when they negotiate the 3 or 4 limited sight distance turns in the 21.5 mile of trail network.

    (2) That if SORBA asks riders to slow down to a safe speed while negotiating limited sight turns we are "singling out one group." But at the same time if SORBA forces all the beginner bikers and hikers to "hit the road back to their car" we are not singling out anyone.

    Finally, have you considered that even if everyone is traveling the same direction, and you "bomb down a trail" into a limited sight turn, you could still hit a little kid who is hiking along at less than a mile per hour? Remember if they are walking the same direction, they will not see a rider coming and therefore would not be able to take any actions to avoid a collision.

    Thanks for your consideration Jeffrey. We'll just wait till others get hurt, and maybe a change will be made then.

    Cheers,
    Stephen

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shalesjr
    Thanks for your consideration Jeffrey. We'll just wait till others get hurt, and maybe a change will be made then.

    Cheers,
    Stephen

    It sounds like your attitude needs a change, not the trails. Despite a bad wreck and numerous close calls, you're still riding with your eyes closed.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camf
    It sounds like your attitude needs a change, not the trails. Despite a bad wreck and numerous close calls, you're still riding with your eyes closed.
    Attitude change, possibly, it is Monday morning after all. Eyes, well, they're generally open, but, that would have been a good assumption with all the close calls

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furrner
    The other big problem that seems to have reared its head over the past couple of years is the number of idiots with ipods blasting so loud they can't hear anyone else in the woods. I have surprised a couple of people over the last year or so, totally oblivious to anyone else on the trail.
    Yes, I second that. If any "rule change" is in order, that one would be at the top of my list. It's happened to me more than once - repeatedly YELL at someone, they don't budge (cause they can't hear me). Very frustrating and potentially dangerous IMHO.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furrner
    The other big problem that seems to have reared its head over the past couple of years is the number of idiots with ipods blasting so loud they can't hear anyone else in the woods. I have surprised a couple of people over the last year or so, totally oblivious to anyone else on the trail.
    Not just a problem at RM - it's everywhere and it perturbs me, to say the least. They then act like YOU did something wrong. I had an ipod wearing rider a couple months ago that I tried to pass -- YELLED at him 3 times that I was passing. He even LOOKED at me once, after the 2nd time. When I finally passed him, he got all bent out of shape about it. The following discourse wasn't pretty with him snapping at me and me telling him to turn it down and pay attention...but then again, he couldn't hear any of what I said anyway.
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  18. #18
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    Here in the south we have massive vegetation growth during the spring and summer months that impairs lines of site in turns along most of our fun trails. As mountain bike riders we must take personal responsibility for this. Most of us are familiar enough with our trails to know where these locations are. There is no excuse for bombing into a poor site line turn without taking into account that someone might be just around the bend. You must be ready for the potential encounter! I would like to suggest that if you are intent on riding through these poor site line turns at speed then you have to take responsibility for alerting traffic ahead of you that you are on the way. To that end there are a lot of people that use handle bar mount bells to alert ahead of them in blind turn situations. It would not hurt for for us to make use of these both for offense and defense in these situations.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by architectx
    Yes, I second that. If any "rule change" is in order, that one would be at the top of my list. It's happened to me more than once - repeatedly YELL at someone, they don't budge (cause they can't hear me). Very frustrating and potentially dangerous IMHO.
    I third it, had a few idiots in front of me doing that same thing

    One thing I think about more know a days for sure, is that there could always be someone up ahead and to ride with that in the front of my mind. I like to get up there in early am or late evenings on weekdays and love it because it is usually not busy like weekends can be.
    ~~~~~~Singletrack Slayer~~~~~~~

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmacon
    Here in the south we have massive vegetation growth during the spring and summer months that impairs lines of site in turns along most of our fun trails. As mountain bike riders we must take personal responsibility for this. Most of us are familiar enough with our trails to know where these locations are. There is no excuse for bombing into a poor site line turn without taking into account that someone might be just around the bend. You must be ready for the potential encounter! I would like to suggest that if you are intent on riding through these poor site line turns at speed then you have to take responsibility for alerting traffic ahead of you that you are on the way. To that end there are a lot of people that use handle bar mount bells to alert ahead of them in blind turn situations. It would not hurt for for us to make use of these both for offense and defense in these situations.

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