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Illegal Night Riding in Waterdog Open Space
Mountain Bikers Think Rules Don’t Apply to Them
Like all City parks and neighboring open spaces, Waterdog Open Space is closed from sunset to sunrise, but this does not stop the weekly influx of dozens of bicyclists from entering after dark and before sunrise.
Belmont police acknowledge the practice is illegal and dangerous - an injured biker would be hard to find in the dark and harder yet to rescue - yet police do not enforce this law. Police should enforce the law and cite violators, to stop this abuse of our Open Spaces.
Ignoring Park Rules
PARK CLOSED - SUNSET TO SUNRISE
Night Riding in Waterdog Preserve Trails (40 Seconds)
These violators clearly don't understand the impact of night-intruders on the animals that call these canyons home. The vast majority of our native species are nocturnal – mountain lions, bobcats, fox, opossums, wood-rats, raccoons, owls, and even deer have adapted to night-foraging to evade human presence. With the open space heavily trafficked by day, nighttime is their time.
A report by Lucas, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, explains the compound impact of night-riders:
“Mountain biking in the dark (i.e., night riding), which is on the rise in protected areas, can disrupt the natural balance between diurnal and nocturnal wildlife. Consequently, night riding poses a dual threat to wildlife that exhibit diel shifts toward night: night riding can compound the pressure such wildlife experience from daytime recreational activities by increasing encounters with competitors and even further reducing the time available for foraging and breeding (Reilly et al. 2017). Night riding can also startle naturally nocturnal wildlife and wildlife that has become increasingly nocturnal to avoid daytime recreationists and other anthropogenic disturbances.