This article's title is admittedly a bit alarmist. Some landowning groups in Bern
, a Swiss canton, have actually proposed banning mountain-biking on singletrack trails. This would restricting riding to fire roads and a few designated singletrack trails. The law (the Forest Act
) has yet to been changed. The process is standard for the Swiss democratic system. The next step is solicit public comments and then for the various interested parties to table a solution or compromise. Key wording in the proposed law (Article 22) proposes to make it an offense to cycle away from roads on paths that are less than 1.2m wide.
Other noteable elements include fining repeat offenders who are abusive to police 20,000CHF (1CHF is approx 1.07 USD at todays rates). The normal fine will be more in the region of 250CHF; still a pretty hefty penalty for a day's ride.
This law is not a foregone conclusion. It is opposed by foresters, by law enforcement who wonder how they can enforce it, and by tourism operators who see it as giving Bern a black eye. It is also opposed by the grassroots bike advocacy organization trailnet.ch
who has put together very well-developed rebuttals to the proposals. According to Samuel Hubschmid of Trailnet.ch - "It's about a very crowded little country with thousands of outdoor-enthusiasts trying to use and protect the natural resources in leisure sports."
Lenzerheide can keep its alp restaurants. In Bern they would have to replace all the restaurants with police stations to enforce closures against criminal singletrack bikers
Keep in mind that all Swiss cantons have considerable latitude to make their own laws (a canton is like a US state or Canadian province). Only one canton, Bern, has chosen to propose such regressive laws. Of course, Bern has all the proper authority to criminalize singletrack biking and make it illegal but they have asked for public comments and this is the time to give it. Bear in mind that Bern has many tourist attractions where biking is specifically advertised (eg the Jungfrau
) so this proposed policy is inconsistent to say the least!
This trail is in Davos where it's legal to ride. 20,000 CHF fine if I rode this trail multiple times in Bern.
Why are we at Pinkbike writing about this? We just took considerable time and effort to put a six part story about Riding in Switzerland
on our front pages. We just told the world how friendly and welcoming Switzerland is to tourists and to bikes (and by the way we totally believe this is true). And now this? Why would biking tourists go to Bern when, with this, you are basically telling bikers that we are criminals and not welcome. Why is it that our tourism dollars are good in Graubünden (where it is enshrined in cantonal law that bikers and hikers can share trails) and not welcome in Bern? Bernese Oberland lawmakers and regulators say that bikers and hikers cannot share trails peacefully but respectfully, we cannot agree. What makes Bernese Oberland trails and trail users so different than in Canada, or Engadin, or Lenzerheide, or Südtirol that we cannot all share and get along?
This is in Zermatt where its legal to ride your bike on trails. Empty your wallet if you ride this trail in Bern and watch out for police
If you reside in Bern or Switzerland and ride a bike you probably already know of this. If you want to ride or have ridden in Switzerland and don't know where to ride please politely
use the Comments page here to let lawmakers at Bern know your feelings on the matter.
The consultation process runs till March 2, 2012. You can also directly mail or email comments to Department of Economic Affairs of the Canton of Bern Law Department Münsterplatz 3 3011 Bern
firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email comments to email@example.com; they are the advocacy group who will collect comments and present them to Bern lawmakersCoverage from other news sources
- Resistance against Bern Single-trail ban taking shape
- Ride Magazine
- The Canton of Bern wants to ban singletrack for bikers
- Ride Magazine
- Resistance to bike ban grows
- Der Bund
- Mountain bikers oppose ban
- 20 Minute
This is Lenzerheide where you would not get fined for riding singletrack. These criminals would not be so happy if they were caught riding this trail in Bern