Any discussion of the accessibility rules for our public lands must include statistics about who visits these lands.
The Open Space Road and Trail Management Plan did a survey of visitors to our open spaces and the results are below.
Marin Open Space Trail Visitor Statistics:
- 76% – The percentage of Open Space visitors whe are pedestrians.
- 45% – The percentage of Open Space visitors who have dogs.
- 23% – The percentage of Open Space visitors who are bicyclists.
- 0.4% – The percentage of Open Space visitors who are equestrians.
- 57 – How many times more cyclists there are than equestrians.
Sources: Marin Open Space Draft Road and Trail Management Plan
Marin Municipal Water District conducted a similar survey and the results were nearly identical:
Marin Municipal Water District Visitor Statistics:
- 70% – The percentage of MMWD visitors whe are pedestrians.
- 30% – The percentage of MMWD visitors who are bicyclists.
- 0.4% – The percentage of MMWD visitors who are equestrians.
- 75 – How many times more cyclists there are than equestrians.
Sources: Marin Municipal Water District 2012-2013 Visitor Use Census and Survey
As the data clearly illustrates, nearly a quarter of the people visiting our Open Spaces are bicyclists. However, the ratio of trail accessibility does not correlate with this fact and the resulting ratios of trail mileage to visitor types is grossly out of proportion.
Marin Open Space Trail Restriction Statistics:
- 88% – The percentage of Open Space trails that are not fire roads and are open to equestrians
- 15% – The percentage of Open Space trails that are not fire roads and are open to cyclists.
- 5.8 – How many times more Open Space trails miles are accessible to equestrians and not open to cyclists.
- 330 to 1 – The number of trail miles per equestrian visitor open to horses versus the number of trail miles open per cyclist visitor.
Sources: Marin Open Space Draft Road and Trail Management Plan and Open Space Maps
Access4Bikes’ mission is to address this imbalance.
In support of the visitor use percentages there is additional data from the Marin Horse Council that confirms the fact that equestrians constitute at most 1% of the population.
Equestrians in Marin Statistics
- 3,381 – Number of horses in Marin in 2001. The study acknowledges that this number was in decline during the past 10 years.
- 1,512 – Number of households that control 87% of the horses in Marin.
- 103,152 – Number of households in Marin in 2008-2012.
- 1.4% – Approximate percentage of households in Marin with horses.
Source: Study sponsored by the Marin Horse Council in 2001, United States Census Bureau
Access4Bikes believes that the growth of mountain biking in both Marin and nationally, reflect a significant change in who uses our public lands and how they use them. The current access rules are dated and reflect an earlier age when equestrians dominated the political process. Bikes are the horses of the 21st century. Let’s work together to give bikes more access to the trails so everyone may enjoy them fairly.