Dear Dr. McComas:
Mountain Bike Racing – A Serious Threat to Children and Wildlife
One of the primary goals of school is creating good citizens. Promoting an environmentally and socially destructive sport like mountain biking does the opposite! It is shameful that some schools allow their name to be associated with mountain bike racing. Mountain bikers have recently been promoting mountain bike racing in high schools and even middle schools around the country. Biology teachers are ideally placed to knowledgably oppose this trend, because they understand that trail construction – and trail use – destroy habitat.
Introducing children to mountain biking is irresponsible. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently, a 12-year-old girl in Colorado died during her very first mountain biking lesson. Serious accidents and even deaths from mountain biking are common. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity.
Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it's not!).