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Bureaucrat's Errors Mean closure for Manly Dam


Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 12 February 2010

Manly Dam Access Changes Feb 2010

Update: Want to show support for riding at Manly Dam? Sign up to Manly Dam - Save the date and come along!

Update 17/2: Press coverage of this:
http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/...
http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/...
http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/...
http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/...

Update 22/2: Warringah Council issue a FAQ "...in response to many letters and emails received..."

Update 24/2: Track will be re-opened to riders but at the expense of walkers. Press coverage here:
http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/...

I just don't know how to put this, so am going to just get straight to the point:

Manly Warringah Council have decided that due to a bureaucratic error that happened many years ago the single track sections of the Manly Dam circuit have never actually been technically legal riding. As such, instead of turning a blind eye, or deciding to make an extra effort to work around what is their mistake, they are to penalise riders by closing sections of the track.

If you look at the linked map, it's obvious that the circuit is basically unridable given this decision.

They are sighting safety concerns for this, but that is a complete joke as, as far as I'm aware there have been no documented incidents involving riders and another party there. I spoke to the Mayor on Wednesday night who admits this isn't an issue as he is aware of "only one incident in 5 (or is that 10?) years" (he wasn't sure of the timeframe).

Please take a look at the closed sections on the map (and you note the map says that 'Penalties Apply') and steer clear of these tracks.

Reading the release it seems this will be discussed at an extraordinary meeting of the council Mar 23 to discuss this. I'd advise anyone with interest in riding Manly Dam to attend. You might also like to email or call councillors (their contact details are available on Warringah's Elected Council page) with your views on this.

Please see the attached map, and full press release below:

Manly Dam Reserve media release

For those wishing to write to council, here's a handy list of addresses to copy/paste:

mayor@warringah.nsw.gov.au, michelle.ray@warringah.nsw.gov.au, jfalinski@warringah.nsw.gov.au, vincent.deluca@warringah.nsw.gov.au, bob.giltinan@warringah.nsw.gov.au, christina.kirsch@warringah.nsw.gov.au, helen.wilkins@warringah.nsw.gov.au, virginia.laugesen@warringah.nsw.gov.au, julie.sutton@warringah.nsw.gov.au,
conny.harris@warringah.nsw.gov.au

Or click here to email them all.

Bruce's picture

Between NPWS & local council we arent being left with many options.
When are these organisations going to wake up to themselves??

ADRIAN B's picture

there will be more and more illegal tracks popping up if this happens, shame to see the dam works so well.

Andy Bloot's picture

God I'm glad I moved away from Sydney

LadyToast's picture

For once I am speechless Sad

Boris's picture

What a $%#@%&^ joke

ar_junkie's picture

When I first heard about this, I thought it was some kind of early April Fool's joke but unfortunately this is not the case.

While I'm sure this will cause a wee bit of angst between the powers-that-be and cyclists/walkers, hopefully whatever relationships exist as a result of trail advocacy will be noted and a speedy and favourable outcome will be achieved.

I fear that time and effort will be spent policing/managing the reaction to these closures rather than finding a solution i.e. other than simply deeming these sections illegal.

hairylittlehobbit's picture

People are going to ride it anyway. legal or not.

BT's picture

I can't believe it. Hopefully the meeting on Feb 23 will rectify this.

Also, maybe they won't impose penalties??

dutch 1's picture

I simply cannot believe this, absolutely incredible.
20 years been riding this track...
Nothing else to say. Sad

Brian's picture

Can you attend the meetings if you are not a rate payer?

beyondkiu's picture

Manly Dam is a well maintained track and is an internationally known MTB circuit...... National / International guests travel all the way here to enjoy the facilities.... What a shame. Its like closing Bondi Beach for surfing because its dangerous!!! WTF????

Nick R's picture

...recently, fixing the "illegal" singletrack. Reminds me of Yes Minister.

Chris H's picture

This is ridiculous, but for some reason the level of incompetence displayed by the council does not surprise me. Just have a look at the way in which our elected councillors acted at the meeting on Tuesday...basically spent 4 hours yelling at each other and calling each other names!!!

LadyToast's picture

Sadly I think Adrian might be right. Talk about the best way to get bikers offside Sad

Little-Ditty's picture

Has anyone identified any connections that may bypass the red penalty sections? Instead of riding the single track next to the golf course, we could ride up the next to the Parkway? And after riding up heartbreak hill, turn on your next left up the hill at Eva's Track to bypass the next section, then arrive back onto the normal loop when you get to the coppers logs and 19th hole? Maybe it is not that bad. A real sh*t, to be sure, but surely not as bad as you think?

Boris's picture

Nice thought, however Elvas track has been closed for years, and the copper logs and 18th hole i believe is now illegal.

Morgan's picture

Although I didn't ride the Dam that much whilst in Sydney I totally appreciate the impact this ridiculous, totally inappropriate action will have on you guys. Given that the council have spent x number of years using volunteers to armour the track to suit mountain biking, and that the 2.17km shared between mountain bikers and walkers is being closed to mountainbikers, who I would think make up the majority of traffic on this part of the dam, and not walkers, one would assume that some bearded grey socked and sandal wearing old Fu*+head with a gripe and a mate on the council has swung their thermos around a bit and got somewhere.

If I was you I'd create a protest ride of at least a million MTB'ers to ride the dam & get some press exposure on this.

flubberghusted's picture

Did one the moment it got emailed to me...
There is no way that they can possibly contain the volume of riders going through these sections. Although I'm not condoning it but the rangers will face riders who cant contain their tempers and altercations will flair, not to mention the signs will be defaced (again - I aint condoning it but its human nature that it will happen).
Food for thought, Mr Lord Mayor Highlander Commodore Lordship...ship...

**Email**

Dear Michael,

Thank you for the diligence in notifying trail users and community of the area about the closure of specific Manly Dam trails.

Whilst it’s the agenda of “Safety first!” that is being addressed here. The closure area from which is being prohibited forms the backbone from what makes the Manly Dam trail, a mountain biking trail altogether.

The specified closure area contains no walking traffic (excluding the Allambie prohibited areas) for it be a safety issue to walkers and the only risk is to mountain bikers themselves.

It is admirable that Council is concerned for all safety altogether however it should be highlighted that Manly Dam is the busiest mountain biking trail in Australia.
The prohibition of the entry into these trails will no doubt be met with a high volume of complaints, which will cascade into altercations for enforcement personnel managing this prohibition on the ground against users of these trails.

This matter should be met with, by the same very stakeholders that are affected by this before instituting any such enforceable penalties.

For the safety of mountain bikers, “warnings of such safety hazards by entering these trails will be at their own risk”, should be erected until these parts of the trails are “technically approved”.

A closure of the busiest mountain biking trail in Australia for six months will be a huge detriment to this growing community of riders.

Suggest a tentative form of management plan be established until a firm Plan of Management is finalized.

Sincere regards,

GiantNut's picture

Hi,
we all should plan a media event with at least Manly Daily. I suspect some anti-fun zealot but we need to be smart about this and fight fire with media.

My email to the mayor

Dear Sir,
As a local resident I strongly oppose the action that your council intends to make to the Mountain Bike track of Manly Dam.
Australia has now the highest incidence of obesity in the world. Mountain biking is a healthy form of exercise and the Manly Dam circuit is one of the most popular tracks in Australia. Without tracks riders will end up on the road – even more dangerous than a bush track – The council pushing for closures will result in riders being forced onto Wakehurst parkway, a high speed road which undermines the councils “ safety first” proposition.
I am a ratepayer and 40+ years old. I cycle with a group reaching into their 50’s all cycling for health benefits - all local ratepayers – there are 100’s if not 1000’s of interested parties who will protest this decision – we simply do not need a “nanny state” where the council believes it should take away well used facilities because there is a chance of someone getting hurt. Life is full of risks. To absolve the councils conscience post warning signs but I implore you to leave the track as is.
Regards
xxxxxxxx

Little-Ditty's picture

Can sonmeone please post the name and mailing/email address for the best person to lobby on the council for this? Not to abuse them, but to lay out my objections to this action? If this person gets 100 letters of complaint and must take that to the meeting, we will be in a better position in terms of leverage. We should all act together on this.

Hasbeen Racing's picture

I've called the council, the number on the bottom of the release is the media dept any they don't have much info. The Manager Parks Reserves and Foreshores is Michael Keelan. I'm waiting for a call.

unicycle6869's picture

WOW, I'm also speechless. I've only been in Sydney for about a year now but this is by far the closest and best muni track to ride. I love it and tray and get out there once a week. My heart just sunk after reading this. Hopefully all the signs they post will say bikes instead of cycles, then I can still technically ride my unicycle! Time to lose a wheel guys. lol

Seriously, I will help do whatever needs to be done to help with re-opening the track. I'll show up for meetings, a media press coverage of it, or whatever. Just keep me posted. I felt so much free'er coming here than the USA so let's change this and not become more like the US with all their silly laws.

Also, has anyone ever gotten a ticket for riding there? During wet conditions when they were closed? Or any other time? Maybe they'll just "warn" you? And do they patrol on foot, bike, atv? Cause any rider could easily outrun a ranger on foot, right?

Fankles's picture

Totally F....D
Total bunch of morons, this is going to get real interesting....
How backward do they want to get, have any of them looked beyond the blinkers and at other areas of Aus let alone the rest of the world, ludicrous...

Harry's picture

However if we look for some hope - it is not a permanent closure and will be looked at on 23 Mar, by then with the flood of emails and public sentiment and negative feedback they receive etc. should have some impact on a final decision. Everyone that can, should make a strong comment on the positives this circuit provides and what the negatives would be if it was closed permanently

LadyToast's picture

Fankles, at least your hot lap will be safe, I was planning on beating it any time now Smiling (trying to inject some humour).

I'm sure going to be riding this track as much as I can before this happens though. Anyone up for a protest ride? Get the media involved? Radio? TV?

GAZZA's picture

lets see what all the law abiding riders do now? a lot of people have been keeping off illegal trails for the simple fact that they 'might' get some nice legal trails opened up. now the dickheads are closing down tracks like these and opening up a HUGE can of worms! this is gonna turn those nice, law abiding riders into illegal trail building monsters and i cant say i blame anyone for kicking up a stink and protesting by 'going underground'.
" viva la revolution" Eye-wink

obmal's picture

there's ways to do this and ways not to, resorting to illegal trail riding helps us how?

I vote we plan a ride for the carpark of the council chambers, a peaceful blockade.. now THAT will get the media we need.. no?

herzog's picture

This is just astounding. Compare this to the ACT, where the gov't builds decent facilities and gets a World Championships event out of it.

What forms of protest do we have available? A mass "hike-a-bike" around the track?

A mass sit-in picnic complete with rugs in the middle of the singletrack?

Revert to being car thieves and graffiti hooligans?

nrthrnben's picture

Nobody will stop riding those sections as we have no other legal single track to ride on. The track is walk in the park and in no way dangerous or a safety risk. The councils risk assessment company is a joke? who do they use? Fist they bulldoze the grove dirt jumps(zero consultation and notice), then they not only dumb down but also add stupid steps and logs across the only legal single trail we have available (zero consultation and notice).

Then they say, "oh sorry, you where never actually allowed to ride on the mixed use trail anyway as our risk assessors say its a little dangerous for mountain bikers",and, because we argue so much and cant listen to the main user group of manly dam, we anticipate rectification of the situation to take at least 6months"

sorry does not sit well with me, at all!

Taking away two of the best sections of single trail for over a week is just bizarre and out of touch.

This should be likened to the council issuing a media release saying to all those surfing locally and saying, "sorry guys but due to surfing actually never being officially allowed on the best surfing part of manly beach and there is a risk of collision with other surfers and rocks, we have closed it to surfing for six months until we can figure out what to do, absurd, unthinkable!

Rob, along with the emails, I'm in for a front page newspaper shoot with every rider(100's) that we can russle up on the northern beaches,with their bike, in front of the council chambers on an up and coming Saturday.
We need to show the decision makers that we are upset with the continual stupid decisions and lake of user group consultation, and that they have to fire their risk assessors,and get ones that understand the user group in question.

Common sense has to be used or nobody will ever leave their homes.

now sending email.........

herzog's picture

The SMH might be interested in this story.

Newsdesk (02) 9282 2018

or scoop@smh.com.au

trailburner's picture

Dear Council representatives,

Words can't describe how dissappointed I am when reading about the closure of parts of Manly Dam. I can only hope that we - the cycling community - can get you to reverse this action as soon as poosible by voicing our disagreement.

Rocky Trail Entertainment is a MTB events company based in Sydney and our aim is to get more people to ride their bikes. It is fun, healthy and compared with other sports very safe. I lost about 8kgs in the last year by riding tracks like Manly Dam. We rely on cyclists being able to ride their bike and decisions like the closure of the Dam not only hurt us personally but also the future of our business.

Kind regards,
Martin Wisata

obmal's picture

apparently not something that they voted on?, got this reply:

Please be assured this is not a decision I have made!

It is one of the Mayor and Council Staff. Several Councillors have this afternoon expressed concern as to how this decision can be made and a Media Release issued stating it's a Council decision when the Council has not voted on it!

Regards

Vincent De Luca OAM

BT's picture

If we can gather in massive numbers, whether it be at the Dam or Council chambers, and protest then they'll see how many people this involves. At the moment it seems they have no idea how popular this trail is.

This on top of the recent reports of how the Council meeting went the other night REALLY PISSES ME OFF!!

OBMAL - Interesting, but not surprising. What a professional organisation!

trailburner's picture

Keep polite and emailing them. If the people who made this decision have 1000 emails in their inbox Monday morning I don't see how they can't change the decision. Especially when it was not officially voted on but rather a quick decision by the mayor.

This is the longest response:

Dear Martin,

Thanks for your email. I understand your outrage and concern. I am the councillor who brought a Notice of Motion to council to reinstate mountain bike volunteer days, which were abandoned 1-2 years ago.

See item 12.7 of: http://www.warringah.nsw.gov.au/council_then/doc...

My NoM was deferred to a staff briefing. In the process of preparing that briefing to councillors, council staff discovered the technicality in the 1998 Plan of Management. The briefing’s topic changed direction from – should we reinstate volunteers? to: is mountain biking ‘legal’ at Manly Dam?

At the 9 February 2010 ordinary council meeting, my original NoM was to be resubmitted. I had spent the time in between preparing an amendment that I believe would be a compromise for all parties, which is not ideal but better than nothing, under the circumstances.

As you may have read in yesterday’s Manly Daily, that meeting was a disastrous waste of time, with what I can only describe as filibustering preventing the mountain bike item from being raised before our cut-off time of 10pm. An extraordinary meeting has been called for 23 February to cover all items left unresolved, which was about half of the night’s agenda.

No public speakers are allowed at the 23/2 meeting unless by resolution passed on the night.

The decision to close the circuit track as of today, came to councillors late this afternoon at the same time it went to the media and online. We did NOT vote on the track’s closure. It was my understanding no change would be made until we were presented with at least four options (outlined at the briefing) at a future meeting (originally 23/2 but now that councillors – excluding myself and 3 others – have voted for monthly meetings instead of fortnightly, I believe that will move to 23 March).

As you know, safety is being cited as the reason for the sudden and urgent closure.

Because it was my NoM, raised in good faith as an attempt to preserve and improve the volunteer working group structure, and has so alarmingly backfired, I will prepare a statement for the media to set the record straight, along the same lines as this email.

I apologise that this matter has been taken out of hand and out of context, resulting in this highly unexpected and upsetting outcome for local mountain bike riders. I look forward to being part of the process of coming up with a solution and not just further problems or excuses.

Regards,

Virginia Laugesen
Councillor for C Ward
9400 3299
0437 499 959

ADZA's picture

Allright...

Give me a name of who i need to contact, and i will do everything i can to get this open again.
I have only been riding this trail for a few weeks, but this is a very popular trail and do not understand how they can close sections for such stupid reasons. (this is a bad move by council as it will not only impact local riders but local bike stores will also suffer from this as reduced consumer traffic will impact gross sales and service of their business..god the council is dumb)

I for one will be riding the trails irrespective of the signs and i dare anyone to stop me as it will not be a pretty sight.

if anyone agrees with me, please let me know and i think we need to bring this to the attention of 60 minutes or a current affair ASAP!

I will be making a few phonecalls this weekend to the local council and mayor around these closures, i will post up with what i can get done about this.

kitttheknightrider's picture

Polite and courteous must be the way to go. Avoid the temptation to grab the shovel, this will only hurt our public image and undermine the great work done by many in the name of trail advocacy

Organised mass rides to show our numbers.

Polite letters and emails to all pollies, not just Councillors, expressing your disappointment and concern about this decision.

As disappointing as it is, Liam is also correct, we can still ride the dam, just not the good bits. exit the firebreak and ride the road past the school up to the golf course. Proceed as normal past the bowling club. Ride either the road or the firetrail west of the road back up to the park gate at the northern end of the golf course sniggle. Follow the trail as usual to the turn into the 19th hole sniggle, turn left not right, back up the hill, out onto the road and then rejoin the trail proper just past the kids playground. All of this additional bicycle movement on the road will no doubt have an impact on traffic flow and people will start to ask where we have all come from. Just take care when doing this.

Interesting to note they claim this is for safety. I wonder how many bicycle / pedestrian accidents have occurred in the past 12 months resulting in injury to either party, then compare this to the number of bicycle / motor vehicle accidents?

trailbunny's picture

here's what I wrote and I got the same email as Martin (trailburner) back. at least they are reacting to our messages...

Dear Warringah Council Representatives,

It was with great sadness that I read the Media Release that landed in our Inbox this afternoon. When I bought my first mountain bike about 5 years ago, my first ride was at Manly Dam. I still vividly remember how exhilarating it was going around the track and taking in the beautiful scenery. Since then my passion for the sport has grown into a cycling events business that my husband and I have founded 3 years ago. Obesity rates are on the rise all around the country and our aim as a business is to provide active people with opportunities to ride their bikes more often – and not only at our events.

A lot of our customers and friends tell us they have to stay away from road cycling on Sydney roads, because it is simply too dangerous with the whole City in general being very cycling-unfriendly. Manly Dam has been our sanctuary to indulge in our favorite and it has been a Sydney institution for Mountain Bikers. Whilst I am not living in the Warringah Council, I know numerous friends who went as far as choosing to move there to be closer to Manly Dam! Please don’t destroy a lifestyle that we all have come to love and which is a big reason for living in Sydney – and in the Warringah Council, I dare say!

Please reopen the full track as soon as possible – we’ve been riding this track so often and it has enriched so many weekends of ours.

Kind regards,
Juliane

Damien's picture

The council seems to be moving along quite nicely with their plans to get rid of mountain bikes and close the trail around Manly.

I thought it would take longer.

I have never had much respect for ridiculous regulations and bull shit rules so good luck to any ranger I come across.

Morgan's picture

Quote: "As disappointing as it is, Liam is also correct, we can still ride the dam, just not the good bits. exit the firebreak and ride the road past the school up to the golf course. Proceed as normal past the bowling club. Ride either the road or the firetrail west of the road back up to the park gate at the northern end of the golf course sniggle. Follow the trail as usual to the turn into the 19th hole sniggle, turn left not right, back up the hill, out onto the road and then rejoin the trail proper just past the kids playground. All of this additional bicycle movement on the road will no doubt have an impact on traffic flow and people will start to ask where we have all come from."

Why don't you do your protest ride around the dam using the now legal bits + the road alternatives and show the council / press how safe that is!

karingal's picture

I'd also suggest adding to the personal email list:

Carmel Tebbutt, Minister for Health (NSW)
Verity Firth, Minister for Education & Training (NSW), Very pro bike and gun communicator
Kevin Greene, Minister for Sport and Recreation (NSW)
Mike Baird, State Member for Manly

Emails follow:

dp.office@tebbutt.minister.nsw.gov.au, office@firth.minister.nsw.gov.au, office@greene.minister.nsw.gov.au, manly@parliament.nsw.gov.au

We need to generate some positive action!

familyguy's picture

First they ask us for input on "new" areas. Secondly they avoid any discussion at the council meeting. Thirdly they spring a surprise press release without any warning. Just great. This is not overturning a 'discrepancy', this is blatant pandering to a handful of complaints about non-existent problems.

I'll be there on the MTB next meeting, that I can assure you.

Jim

CB's picture

I'm having visions of a couple of hundred mountainbikers cycling very slowly along Wakehurst Parkway in the evening rush hour .....

I've never been a fan of 'critical mass' type events but in this case, the absurdity of making mountain bikers ride along a dangerous stretch of roadway to avoid hypothetical conflict with walkers is just too apparent. ( just ask Hawkeye which one is safer ....)

I'll be writing firm but polite emails for the rest of the night and look forward to taking part in whatever form of protest is planned. Rob and others have put so much effort into advocacy recently and will have the best feel for what appropriate action is. I'm happy to go with whatever they recommend. Whatever we do, it should be concerted, coordinated and as big as possible !

A possible upside could be that the local politicians will finally realise how many people are involved in mountain biking here.

Feels like we're at a tipping point and it's time to put our collective weight where it counts.

CB

Whisperer's picture

We should request from the council, a set of temporary traffic lights at each end of the affected section along Wakehurst parkway, so the hundreds of riders each day may cross the road SAFELY.
Failing this, they might offer a couple of 'lollypop' people to stop the traffic at peak time Saturday and Sunday.
After all, it is SAFETY they are using as the reason for the closure.

Yes, and I'll be submitting my numerous emails.
Happy to participate in any mass protest, as long as it is constructive and not destructive to the cause.
Remember many people will not know the full story, and the media is our friend,. As difficult as it may be, minimising opportunity for bad press is important.

BIGnige's picture

My email to all the above emails...

Dear all,

I am a local resident who has ridden Manly Dam mountain bike track at least three times a week for the last two years. I do this for fun of course but primarily for fitness. After a near fatal road accident almost exactly a year ago riding a motorcycle, riding around the Dam has become a major part of my rehabilitation. One of the main reasons I ride the track is that I can get there from my house in only a few minute without having to negotiate any major roads. When I started cycling again after my accident I initially thought road riding would be the thing. However, the aggressive behaviour from motorized road users and the numerous near misses I experienced rapidly made me re-think where I should ride. Specifically, Wakehurst Parkway is a frightening experience for any cyclist with traffic inches away passing at 80km/h. In my case this was particularly terrifying as the prospect of a serious accident, in my already fragile state, was unthinkable.

For these reasons I strongly oppose the action that your council intends to take regarding the Mountain Bike track of Manly Dam.

Not only has the track enabled me to return to something close my previous level of fitness and mobility without putting any burden whatsoever on the public health system but, as Australia now has the highest incidence of obesity in the world as well as intolerably high heart disease statistics, I would have thought the council would want to do anything in it's power to promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Mountain biking is a healthy form of exercise and the Manly Dam circuit is one of the most popular tracks in Australia. Without tracks like this riders will end up on the road – a much more dangerous environment than a bush track. To dress up the closure of the dam track as a safety issue is at best a mistaken proposition and at worst an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the tax paying residents of Sydney. In these times of political correctness gone mad, simply saying "it's for safety reasons" seems to be enough to by–pass any common sense approach.

It is well documented that the number of cases of riders being hurt or coming into conflict with walkers on the dam track is practically zero. This with literally hundreds of riders using the track every day. I would like to see the accident statistics for Wakehurst Parkway. which is where you will force riders with these planned closures.

I am a rate-payer and 40+ years old. I cycle with a group reaching nearly into their 50’s all cycling for health benefits - all local rate-payers – there are 1000’s of interested parties who will protest this decision – we simply do not need a “nanny state” where the council believes it should take away well used facilities because there is a chance of someone getting hurt, be it riders or walkers. In my experience riders are polite to a fault to walkers and certainly the people I ride with (a group of ten or more) never fail to warn walkers of our approach and ride slowly when in their vicinity. Life is full of risks as I discovered last February, but to remove the use of a facility that offers so many benefits and so so few detriments is a knee-jerk and thoughtless reaction.

I humbly implore you to make the right decision based on the number of people whose lives this will impact in a negative fashion. This track does not need to be modified or closed in any way regardless of some arcane political error.

GAZZA's picture

is there signs up now? when did this happen?
riding along the wakehurst pkwy a few nights ago on my road bike ( about 7.00pm) city bound, i came across two seperate mtb'ers coming at me on the wrong side of the road and i thought 'WTF?'. dont know if these guys had come across any signage or were just a bit confused but this will be happening a lot more if this ruling sticks! I had to pull out, over the solid white line, into the traffic zone which i didn't feel too comfortable about as it was pretty busy!
this decision is outrageous and i hope to god that there's no accidents between cyclists and cars as a result of mtb'ers being forced onto a busy main road to either cross it or ride down it on the wrong side just because some dumb arsed public servant decided to flex some muscle! they'll have blood on their hands if anything goes wrong!

Glen's picture

Hopefully everyone taking the time to post comments here are taking the time to email the council, and voice their disappointment in a nice way. I have spent the last couple of hours emailing every Warringah councillor, a 1000 emails on Monday morning should get their attention. I've also emailed Mike Baird, who has been a supporter of more MTB single track pleading for his support on this. I have also emailed the organisers of some of the major MTB races asking them for their support, because without the weekend warrior's who ride the tracks like Manly Dam their events wouldn't be the success they are.
Hopefully they can spread the word quickly to people who don't follow these forums, and the thousand that are entered in their upcoming events.

ad's picture

Has anyone from the council considered the traffic impact to Wakehurst parkway? and for that matter the safety of so many riders trying to cross the road or worse, riding along the wrong side of the road?

I believe the RTA ruling from a few months ago about riding on the road is 2 riders side by side in groups of no more than 20 riders. I dont even want to imagine how motorists are going to act if we start riding that stretch of road on weekends?

jimnobob's picture

... you can still ride the section with the pointy steps. That's not deemed a hazard for people.

Livid, absolutely livid. Time to take up road riding and get really injured!

jimnobob's picture
Dear James,
Many thanks for your email outlining your thoughts and feelings on Warringah Council’s having to – most regrettably, believe me – close sections of the manly Dam mountain bike track. Essentially the reason for the closure is one of safety. The safety of the community – both bike riding and pedestrian – owes much to Cllr Laugesen, for it was through her diligence in furthering the utility of the mountain bike track that it came to our general notice that Council is potentially liable for any injuries that might be incurred as a result of the very narrow sections of bike track being shared by bikes and pedestrians. Thankfully no injuries have occurred to date, but now that we have been made aware of the situation it is our legal and moral duty in this litigious culture that we live in today, to most regrettably ban bike riding until the situation can be made safe. Council does plan to fast track the process.

Please know that most Councillors are aware that it is the very narrowness of the track that makes it so desirable for mountain bike riding – one of the few (I understand) single tracks in Sydney. This is something that should, I believe, be retained, but which must very unfortunately now go on hold temporarily, until ratified via a change to the Manly Dam Plan of Management, but there are two things to note:

First, when the Plan of Management does go on exhibition please put in a submission and do please specify your strong desire for a bike-only single track – if that is what you want.
Secondly, achieving this will require the construction of either a wholly separate track for pedestrians, or widening of the existing track to turn it into a shared track. Both options have huge costs attached and, unfortunately, the more costly the project the longer it generally must wait. Perhaps those who were generously prepared to volunteer your time to repair the narrow section of bike track might volunteer to help construct the remodelled circuit, or circuits.

I, myself, know first hand how popular the track is and I give my commitment to do all I can to find a solution to this that is as fast and cost-efficient and safe as possible. In the meantime please note that – and I can hear the cries of protest – you can still use the track if you dismount and walk the necessary distance before remounting again.

Please contact me if you have any suggestions, comments etc. But do please put in a submission when the Plan of Management goes on exhibition. This will be appear at the appropriate time in the Warringah Council section of a Saturday Manly Daily.

With regrets and regards,

Dr Helen Wilkins
Warringah Councillor
B Ward

No injuries have occurred to date. And we can still walk these sections of the track. Madness.

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