You are hereForums / By Discipline / Mountain (off road) / By Location / Australia / NSW / Northern Beaches / Accident at Manly Dam.

Accident at Manly Dam.

PIVOT MACH 5's picture

By PIVOT MACH 5 - Posted on 22 August 2010

I saw a guy getting stretchered out from the dam today. He was lying there with about ten other people and looked to be in a fair bit of pain. My guess is a shoulder dislocate or broken arm as i didn't see any head blood.
Anyone got info on who it was and his condition?

[Mod. moved to Northern Beaches]

michib's picture

I was there when it happened. John, that's his name, fell forward on his head and shoulder. We called the ambulance and thank God no broken bones or major cuts, but he definitely was shocked. The doc said he'll be all right.

Logan's picture

in 2 weeks with Tien last week, we had to call Ambo's as well.

Horner's picture

What section of the Dam was it?

hawkeye's picture

I've got his bike in my garage. I'll post a photo shortly.

Edit: here it is.

well done michib on staying with him and getting emergency serices involved.

michib's picture

It was about 400m up the road from allambie heights.
On the map is near the bend, below corner of churchill and Yurunpa Pl (if you look at the map).

jedijunglesnow's picture

Came down there yesterday to see the poor bloke and everyone standing around. Didn't even want to look!

Asked if I was fine to ride on, some bloke lifted my bike over the rock to the side of the ambos and I rode off. Never good to see that sort of stuff, made for a pretty nervous finish to my ride thinking about it.

Thought he must of hurt his neck but good to hear nothing major!

ae93gti's picture

I hope there is a quick recovery involved.

That bit there is getting even trickier with the rut being formed after the rock.

There is another nasty one after the boardwalk rock roll offs just before the Hydro lab. I know, I went over the bars yesterday afternoon. Only a bit of skin missing and a sore knee so not so bad.

Noel's picture

I'd use that photo, it's great ammo for the opposition.

ja_har's picture

It's an argument for a lack on maintenance on a high use track, not the dangers of MTBing per see.
There is a large rut at the base of 19th, as mentioned above there is a worse one at the bottom of the boardwalk near the Dam wall. I took a newbie to MD yesterday and the only sections he struggled was the ruts casued by lack of maintenance. He rode every other section no worries.
Almost OTB at base of 19th hole and a big OTB again casued by the rut at base of the boardwalk, he was in emergency on morphne last night with knee damage but thankfully will be OK in a week.

I can only hope the guy yesterday is OK and the council make it an urgent issue to get the maintenance issue sorted ASAP.

HeezaGeeza's picture

I took my first trip up the Dam yesterday for 3 months due to injury. I was on a 29er but still found some of the roll offs so badly rutted on the landing that with a 26" wheel I'd probably have been in the same position.

Honestly made me think that things can't continue as they currently are - volume of riders, erosion, people riding when the track is not up to it after rain.

I know a lot of work has gone into making the trail sustainable so far but it's these forgotten areas at the base of roll offs that seem to be the worst. One thing I struggle to understand is how trails in places like the UK are kept open most of the year round with more wet days per year than we have? Part of the problem is we receive more rain than UK on average, but it happens in shorter more intense bursts which of course affects erosion, but even so I'm surprised the only solution so far is to avoid the trails for weeks afterwards.

Please don't take this as any comment against the folks who do a great job maintaining trails all around Sydney. It's just a general comment about trail building and sustainability in general.

daveh's picture

I saw the poor fellow yesterday afternoon being attended to my ambos, served as a reminder to me that I need to work within my skills as I was getting a little plucky having a good few runs around. Very glad to hear that he is relatively unscathed.

The key to it, as people have mentioned, is maintenance. To be honest, I think it is holding up remarkably well considering the amount of rain and the number of riders (yesterday was manic) but it needs some work. Apart from the obvious lack of maintenance affecting how dangerous it can be to some people is that it looks like people have been taking trail maintenance into their own hands. There are a few sections where rocks have been moved, or chipped away, which has just screwed with the section. There are also the aforementioned rutted sections and so people have started going around them and now created an alternate line which was never supposed to be there.

That section before the hyrdro lab is now a shocker. It doesn’t look all that bad but is a fair drop where it is hard to get speed up, you land on a boardwalk which is a little slippery and there are wooden steps to land on if you fall off. I have done that a few times now to the point where I would rather just walk down half the time. Badly designed and now badly maintained.

Come on Warringah Council, either get this PoM done or take advantage of the countless number of people just itching to get stuck in and spend some time maintaining the dam. There are not a whole lot of other sports where people are so keen to volunteer their time to look after the facilities that they use.

Flynny's picture

Isn't it standard practice that you stop and have a look before committing to a section, and if it needs a rock or two placed back in the roll down you do it?

Matt_B's picture

nah you just keep riding it and complain

homerj's picture

The section near the hydro is a concern with the steps on the left still having sharp points on the corners. I am always expecting to hear that someone has been seriously hurt there.
Most of the course has held up alright but there is not much that can be done in some sections without constant care and closing sections during and after rain to stop the selfish fromdestroying the course.

Hope he is feeling ok today.

ja_har's picture

Agree with Flynny about immediate on the spot fixes to put something back that has moved out of place but the issue here is the general amount of use over time, general wear and new lines being created. Main solution I would think is armouring at the base of dropoffs which would need Council to approve the PoM and proper mainetance sessions to start again.

Considering the amount of rain and the large number of users it's held up pretty well bar a few sections.

daveh's picture

Sure, if you're moving rocks back to where they were but should you be breaking rocks off ledges, moving large rocks out of the way, adding rocks so that you can roll down instead of taking the drop, etc. just to make the section easier? Also, should you moving rocks from the sides of the track so that you can ride around a hard section. That is what I am talking and, yes, complaining, about.

hawkeye's picture

The problem with 19th Hole is water flow and traffic.

People have at numerous times attempted to pack rocks and soil on the riding line to prevent these sorts of things occurring, but with hundreds of riders a day going over them on weekends, and with the water flow washing any clay or other fixing materials away, all efforts have come to nothing.

When I was last there during heavy rain, I saw that the water cuts straight past the end of that last rock where John came to grief. The water flow needs to be redirected first before we can expect a fix to stay in place.

CookPassBartridge's picture

... I was feeling pretty fatigued and lost my mojo as I was riding Manly Dam clipped in for the first time, and I had it on my mind. There is a big ish drop that even my 29 struggled with (with the inept rider) and went down on my side unable to unclip.

As it was the election day and no one was around (got to love being a POM (from time to time)) I decided it was daft to continue.

Hope Johno gets better soon.

marcel van schie's picture

sorry to hear about John's stack but this is probably going to become a regular event now as the weather warms and even more riders hit the trail.

with manly dam and MTB becomming so massively popular and currently with no maintenance, design or plan to make the trail sustainable and more accessible, this is the inevitable outcome.

not wanting to be elitist, but we must remember that the track is graded intermediate and some of the more technical sections of the dam presently require a fair degree of skill to clear and clear safely.

solution is a combination of commonsense by the riders, mentoring by ride leaders - c'mon guys, don't coax the beginners to climb the steps or ride the drops especially where there is a clear wheel catch at the base - return of trail maintenance, proper design to make the trail grade consistent and sustainable easier and generally more damn facilities for MTB riders.

apart from continuing to proactively write to council, support other council areas to expand facilities respond to the current warringah council survey (im sure nobmob will keep all up to date) and a perhaps a few serious accidents or even a fatality or two; nothing, as usual, will change...

In the meantime, enjoy the trail as it returns to its earlier and more challenging form !

Funkychicken's picture

looks all too familiar....

(the first stack in the vid)

HeezaGeeza's picture

but I've been riding it for 5 - 6 years and I'm sure many have been doing so even longer and while I consider myself an intermediate rider there are parts that I now find technically difficult, purely because the exit points on a number of roll offs are now so worn away from continuous impacts in the same location.

So now you either have to jump them, which is technically challenging on the slower sections or get off and walk. As for checking your exit on every ride, that may interrupt the flow a bit too much for me. Surely there has to be a better long term solution than get off and check every drop off / roll off every time to see if someone has moved a rock, placed a rock, created a divot etc.

As for returning to it's earlier form, I don't see any chance of that happening on it's own. These problems are here to stay. I'm all for a challenging ride but it should be a safe ride too. There should be permanent B Lines built into the challenging sections to discourage tampering with the difficult bits. That way everyone wins.

I'd be there tomorrow if a maintenance day was arranged to try and address these issues quickly. A few more injuries and who knows, the Dam could be off limits for a lot longer than a few weeks........

Scottboy's picture

b4 winter hit on one of those very hot scorching days & the rut was there then & it is only the second time I have been there in a year & I noticed how much technical it was the last time I was there.
Hope Johno is alright cause I nearly joined him too where I was riding , only came out with a bruised upper arm & thigh could have been worse if I didn't clip out .

danielschipper's picture

I think it has a lot to do with skilling up after the winter.

The b-line on 19th hole isn't difficult although if you haven't ridden for a couple of months it's easy to forget the basics.... Or even worse get over confident.

I got caught by the latter... And even after I saw this accident.... Decided to hit a jump a bit harder than necessary to get some hang time... Scrubbed out the front wheel... Over the bars... Clip ins stayed clipped in.... all of a sudden I'm on my head in the scrub with blood flowing down my arm....

It's also part of the fun though! I sit in an office all day. I drive to work and go through 4 or 5 40 zones. I'm told I have to have my Internet filtered cause no one can be trusted.... We ride in part because there is the risk that we'll come off.... So when it does happen I don't see the point in figuring out how to prevent it, because to be honest the only way council will remove the risk is by closing the trail!!!!

kiwiboy's picture

I haven't ridden the dam for ages (= 12 months probly) and on Saturday I was astonished at how much erosion has altered the track (not to mention the steps - what the??)
@ae93gti not sure if you are the guy we came to who was stretched flat out on the last boardwalk(but uninjured) but I did think that there but for the grace of god goes me... that bit is a shocker.
Still love the dam - new bike and i are still getting acquainted... (Anthem X0 SL)

hawkeye's picture

@danielschipper: I agree we accept a degree of risk when we ride.

The issue for me - in this location in particular - is the difficulty of the last roll-off (that is, the risk) is not at all obvious for the newby or less skilled rider.

The root on the left that works so well as a wheel catcher doesn't register as a threat until you're right on top of it. By then you're committed and an attempt to stop is just as likely to send you OTB as trying to ride it out. The greater depth of the drop that's appeared on the correct line since the last rains is hard to pick up and the lip is invisible until you're on the other side of it.

I'm not so sure I'd be as comfortable attempting it on my XC hardtail.

pikey's picture

Firstly, I also wish Johno well.

Keeping it simple; Manly Dam is a mountain bike track and one must ride within their ability, if you don't, you either become a better rider or you crash, we have all been there!

Whilst trail maintenance is worthwhile given the Dams usage I feel, having read the thread, that we should be careful what we wish for because if we don't then others outside our MTB community will see it as an excuse to carry on the current theme of dumbing down Manly Dam to the point where it will end up being paved.......then what!


ae93gti's picture

no, I managed to get away with out anyone seeing me......, it was a stealth accident and since no one saw it, it didn't happen ok? Eye-wink

It was about 4.45ish Sun afternoon, I was following a group of 4 fast (pro?) riders, at least 2 had KOM shirts on but they were way ahead of me. I did ride past 2 blokes at the Hydraulics lab and jokingly said, "Manly Dam 1, me nothing!" as I showed the very small amount of blood on my left knee.

These 4 had stopped just after where this accident is shown and I suspect they were discussing what we are discussing here. Thankfully I managed this since I had the audience although I don't think it was pretty by any stretch......., they flew past me not too much later.

I have to say, this makes me want to be a better rider, i.e. not having to roll off and having the ability to "launch off" (or whatever the correct tech term is)

noddman's picture

I haven't ridden the dam for three months due to the weather but on sunday I went for a thrash and since I was feeling a "little" rusty I walked that section amonst others . I have experienced the wheelcatcher and vouch for its effectiveness . with some more riding I'll be riding those tough section soon. I hope that guy gets well and back on his bike real soon .Smiling

Peter R's picture

part of the joy of a good trail are the challenging technical bits YOU can choose to ride. If you can't ride a section - walk it, don't blame Council and get them to interfere - or they will bulldoze it flat again, put stairs in, or worse still close it down due to high risk and then once again we will have a proper headache.

Pants's picture

just take the 'A' line big roll off and you miss that spot all together Laughing out loud

highlander's picture

this what happened to me on the same day :O ShockedShocked

philberesford's picture

How did that happen? It's such an innocent section. Did a tree jump out at you and clip your bar end?

highlander's picture

hehe over steer when the front wheel hit the ground :P Sticking out tongueSticking out tongue

pancakes's picture

Ditto to Peter R's comments.

I rode the dam today, and did a pb at that! Sure, it's cut up in places but isn't that what mountain biking is all about? Dealing with varying terrain and obstacles? It's a dynamic environment that can change daily. I probably go through that section (and pretty much all others come to think of it...) slower than everyone else and burn up my brakes a bit...but whatever. I'd rather buy brake pads than teeth! Besides, I went OTB a few weeks ago, and, having left my youth long behind, these days IT HURTS!!!!

Look, I'm only a mtb noob so you can ignore what I'm saying or take it on board as someone with a fresh perspective. I do think it's a damn shame (and typical) that Warringah Council doesn't utilise the pool of willing helpers that are keen to maintain the tracks around the dam. Do they have an agenda, or is it simple mismanagement?'s picture

You need to ride it regularly because it changes and it is more technical in its own way than other tracks. There are parts I always have walked and you I feel a bit of a wimpo for it, but I know that unless I start riding the dam regular I need to take it easy.

So if you arent there all the time, its not the place for a flat out high HR workout. Better for skills development and every time you do it you can do a little more - just remember if you leave it a few months it will be different.

Scottboy's picture

is that a video of the dam the other day? if it is man it is trashed needs some overhaul on some of the tracks it is a accident waiting to happen big time

GiantNut's picture

If you hit that pine log jump on the left and rollover you are in trouble. The drop is so deep NOW and then its OTB. I normally jump that but was taking it easy to check out the track and wham - Also noticed, my front susp now bottoms out on the 19th rollover. So will have to jump off or walk.
I do not want the track to be dumbed down but I think if people are regularly going OTB then it should be fixed as it has changed due to erosion and will only get worse.

muvro's picture

Going OTB isn't just a track condition problem. Sometimes on the easiest things the worst offender strikes... Complacency. Not having the mind on the job can be worse than any track erosion or lack of maintenance, followed closely by fatigue/tiredness.

Sure the ruts and hollows after roll-offs/little-drops are getting very deep. But as has been said, it's all part of MTB. Having said that, these parts should possibly have a "B line" of some sorts for the less experienced riders. Then again, maybe we should adapt a track difficulty system, as per the snow fields. Green for easy fire trail, blue for anything more difficult, right through to double black diamond for Oxy. This way you could have certain sections of the dam under a blue, but have a green "B line" to avoid the blue. This way the less experienced riders know which way to go and avoid being caught out by a techy roll that could've been avoided.

I'd be pretty confident that everyone would know the Green circle means easy, Blue square is intermediate, and the black diamonds are hard. It'd simply mean putting a few posts in with the appropriate symbol nailed to it.

highlander's picture

yup the video happened last Sunday

Pants's picture

igoy if you just had a bit more speed you would have been fine. Rolls like that can be much harder at slow speeds.

hawkeye's picture

I had a call from John's wife last night. She is also a Manly Dam regular, so John's a lucky man in more ways than one.

After CT scans he's had no broken bones, and everything is in the right place, so it looks like no serious or permanent damage. He's still pretty sore, though, so getting back on the bike might take a little while.

If you happen to read this, mate, I hope your recovery is swift. Smiling

hawkeye's picture
Going OTB isn't just a track condition problem. Sometimes on the easiest things the worst offender strikes... Complacency. Not having the mind on the job can be worse than any track erosion or lack of maintenance, followed closely by fatigue/tiredness.


Combine the two and you're in for a seriously painful result. Don't be like me and learn the hard way. This actually turned out to be this:, and could have been much worse. Several thousand dollars in medical bills and 15 months later I was finally back to where I was before the crash. At 17 months I'm still not back to surfing, though.

Keep your heads screwed on at all times, boys and girls. I don;t stray as close to the edge of my limits these days.

Skills courses are well worth the money.

CharlieB's picture

Interestingly this section has been getting dug out progressively over the last couple of years, and I would reason it has got worse since the D & E lines appeared getting you around the first step (or second step if you take the B line...). The outcome is that riders are getting further down, without needing the technical skills you used to have to apply. The consequences are then probably not a surprise.

I personally say learn to ride it. Yes when not concentrating I have had a close call there. But that is my own fault not the track’s. These demands on technical skills are, to me, what MTB is all about. If you want perfectly groomed trails, well there are always roads.....

Noel's picture

Glad to hear he had no broken bones.

At about 50 mins a lap for the average Joe, and riding it only a few times a year I find the first lap is a warm up, walking tech bits and seeing whats changed, then into it a bit more, if there is a 3nd it's the last for me and by then I know what I'm riding or not.

Months ago I noticed there were more little dish shaped endo-trap dips forming where little rockdrops and roll overs leads to a soft soil landing for the front tire. I don't think it's sustainable. Even for walkers, it's not about wheels. I think after a rain event these are probably puddles that form a softer tread that is more prone to wear. I don't think trail erosion should be allowed to occur in the interest of it making it more technically challenging.

Walkers near me in Hornsby Shire Council got 40k worth of H4 steps for a trail that basically follows a water course. Couple hundred bucks should fix that Manly spot?

flubberghusted's picture

Is there a B line to those two ruts in question?
The pine log roll off and even the one next to it are both pretty bad but is the far right the only alternative?
Meanwhile the 19th hole rut doesnt appear to be any solution in sight as it keeps returning.

We cant fix it because we're not allowed to and council wont fix it until they get the green light from the PoM.
So what do you do?
Do you light the bat signal and call on the phantom trail fairy?

lydiaburth's picture

This is a message from Johno.
Making good recovery. Thanks to everyone last Sunday. It was really comforting having fellow bike riders looking after me.
I will be back on the track soon.

local boy's picture

The council's maintenance of the manly dam MTB track has been mainly for enviromental reasons. The joy of MTBing is re-acting to changing conditions and we need to ensure new entrants to the sport are aware that the sport has a danger element, and that they are responsible as to how much they expose themselves to it.

GiantNut's picture

People getting hurt is not good for any sport - You have very low regard for humanity if your advocating its alright for people to be trucked away in an Ambulance. Your lack of empathy for other people gettuing injured is disturbing
Idiots who ride the dam after rain have caused damage to the track that is cacthing lots of people out - this erosion should be repaired. We all don't want the boulders removed and paved over - we just want the damage caused by erosion to be fixed.
Manly Dam is plenty challenging and I have stopped to help many an injured rider in some pretty benign spots. I don't like to see people bleeding or badly injured - I am saddened that you appear to think that's ok - that's what you get.
Ride without a helmet if that's your attitude - you will never need it as you can react so well

Flynny's picture

Wow Norconut not sure where that rant came from or who it was directed at.

No one is saying it's good to see people injured. Nobody is saying they don't feel sorry for the guy but we partake in an activity that has inherent risks and we need to assume the responsibility of those risks.

Being as it' is a nature based sport the tracks and trails change and obstacles can be rendered harder, or at least different from last time.

If something needs fixing, and you're not changing the original difficulty or ethos of the section then do it.

Somewhere in the back of my head Homor Simpson is bemoaning "It's every one elses fault but mine."

ADZA's picture

i stacked at exactly the same spot the other night, i chose the wrong line and ended up with a handful of front brake and came off sideways, just a few cuts and bruises, nothing to serious, but honestly the last few rides have had me thinking, perhaps it is worthwhile having a bit of a maintenance day? i mean that single track just after the carpark, as well as a section just after the golf course, is getting a bit overgrown these days (i might have to take a big blade along with me one ride and "prune" it a little)
are there any registered maintenance days for this track or does council have a say in this?

I must admit thou, the constant change in track line does throw its challenges to the rider, but i think there should still be a choice of A and B lines, even if we just tidy up a B line and leave the A line "to ones own peril" or "skill" (which in my case is lack thereof)


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike