September 25, 2015 at 11:46 am #807071
Sooooo, I was on my way home at around 7:15 last night (still light out) riding from Sherway Drive in Mississauga when I was almost hit by an ATV coming out of the field just on the other side of the old heritage bridge. I could hear him buzzing around, hard not to, so I was kinda ready – but he sure wasn’t. He had to full on lock up the bike, skid marks (on the trail and maybe my pants) prove that so as not to hit me. I happened to have my phone in my pocket so I snapped a rather shaky picture of him before he hauled off. Being in an agitated state I decided to follow him to see if I might have a word with him or at least get an idea of where he lived. Turns out I was able to catch up and have a chat with the lad about what had just happened. Needless to say he was far from concerned and had no intention of stopping his illegal recreational activities in the Creek. As he sped off to do some more doughnut is a field adjacent to the North Service Road I happened upon an older couple out walking. I asked them if they knew the ATV rider and the man continued to explain to me how he had been at the Police station just recently reporting the same kind of incident. He told me that the police had paid him a visit already – obviously it was not taken to heart.
I decided to place a call to the police to report the incident if only to create a paper trail to build a case. At the entrance to the Creek there was a ‘Park Watch’ sign that had a number for the police so I rode back and called. As I was talking to the dispatcher @carpetbomber was just finishing his ride and we sat and listened to the dirt bikes that were now ripping around in the Creek – sigh. After giving my information I opted to sit and wait for an officer to take my statement at the scene. This was 7:25. I called back at about 8:35 to see if anyone was coming – they told me it was a busy night. I asked them to meet me at my inlaws, just around the corner, since I was tired of sitting in the dark on a dead end street. At 10:10 I decided to call it a night and called back to say don’t bother sending anyone, I was heading home (since I live in Toronto they wouldn’t come to my house, Peel Police handling this one). I was given an incident number to follow up with today, which I will be doing.
Needless to say it was an aggravating night.
Attachments:September 25, 2015 at 9:23 pm #807074
Another kid in there with a motorbike today. Wearing blue gear and a white 125cc bike. I seen him come down from the hill go across the heritage bridge into Mississauga. I hear this same person going across queensway and then cut down westmall into the etobicoke creek trail.September 26, 2015 at 9:42 am #807077
Glad you were not hurt!
Thanks or the heads up!September 28, 2015 at 9:16 am #807101
Here is a shot of three of the guys opposite me in the creek this weekend.September 28, 2015 at 10:04 am #807102
Thanks @fasttimes. I think starting to document encounters such as these, which seem to be happening more and more frequently, is important.
As mentioned, I meet with an officer from the Peel Region Police to give a statement and show them the picture I snapped. Unfortunately, it seems that these guys need to actually be ‘caught in the act’ or snap a picture of their none existent plates. I gave them the house where I followed the ATV to and they were potentially going to go and ‘knock on the door’. Not sure what happened with that.
I said that unfortunately what will bring all this to a head is when someone is hit and injured by one of these Moto riders – she agreed that would likely be the case. However, I am planning on staying the course and have decided to tweet the pictures and tag the various powers that be (councillors, TRCA, CoT, etc.) to help build the case and perhaps bring some more attention to the issue. Still waiting to hear back from the CoT Parks person who was going to be investigating the 311 complaint I made Thursday night.
Further to this, I am starting a formal complaint about the riders with the Peel Police. I am not 100% sure about the process but from what I understand it starts a paper trail that can be followed back if they ever catch someone in the act. It also could result in a patrol being set up at key times in order to try and catch the perpetrators. I have the name and number of the officer I need to contact in order to do this.
Seems like a lot of work for something that shouldn’t be happening in the first place but well worth the effort to ensure everyone’s safety and the sustainability of the trails.October 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm #807231
Sorry to hear this happened. Though this is probably not the response you want to hear, in the interest of fairness E Creek was used by MX bikes long before mountain bikers. This does not make it any more or less illegal and rules of common courtesy and safety should still apply, but they were definitely there first, and (pure conjecture) may be responsible for some of the trail infrastructure there existing in the first place.
So, to play devil’s advocate here as I often do when e-bikes are unanimously slagged on facebook, let’s look at this from another perspective. MTB rider has close call with hiker on trail built by MTB community. MTB rider is unapologetic because, hey, this is my turf, we built this stuff (which is less illegal than motorized vehicle but still grey area). Hiker goes balls out to try and get recourse by then making things difficult for MTB riders in future. (See: recent sabotage thread)
We have probably all been on the receiving end of hiker vitriol, so let’s at least try to show a bit of compassion to other user groups whether or not we feel their presence is legitimate or not. There have been many instances where collisions have been narrowly avoided leaving skidmarks on the trail between bike/bike and bike/hiker (had a guy last week actually tell me he hit a hiker on the ridge because he ‘didn’t get out of the way fast enough’ and didn’t seem too apologetic about it, because why wouldn’t the hiker get out of his way?
So, pursue this action however you deem appropriate but in doing so also reflect on how our actions as a community/user group may impact our own access to trails and relationships with other user groups in the future. /rantOctober 5, 2015 at 12:02 pm #807247
Hey @veteran_youth thanks for your level headed response to my post. I’ll be honest it made me think, a fair bit, over the weekend and thus my delay in responding.
You are correct in your supposition that MX bikes were in fact in the Creek before MTBers, from what I have been told – likely because they predated the creation of mountain bikes. Those same trails were game trails before that – we owe a lot to the deer in there. However, who built the trails in my opinion is really besides the point. The motos who ‘built’ the trail did so many, many years ago and we now know that dirt bikes do not belong on these trails – I think we have moved beyond that.
I’ll be honest, if we are talking give and take I would gladly concede the use of the MTO lands which they have essentially turned into a mini moto track at this point anyway. It is largely unused by hikers, dogwalkers and other trail users despite being in the same area. However, my concern falls more along the lines of the destruction and danger they are causing to the singletrack. It seems that the preferred time to ride is after a rain fall which, as you can imagine, results in significant degradation of the trail (see my previously posted pictures). Now, if they were willing to come out and help maintain the trails perhaps we could have a discussion, despite their use being illegal, at least they would be helping the cause. Of course, I know that – gasp – maintaining these trails is ‘illegal’ too but the trails would require far less maintenance if they weren’t being torn up all the time. Chicken and the egg kind of thing.
Your scenario regarding user conflict with MTBers and hikers is a valid point and unfortunately it is the few that spoil it for the many as we know all too well. If we were all more courteous on the trails/ life in general what an amazing world it would be. However, the fact is currently that MTB rider and the hiker are both allowed to be using that trail. In the case of MX riders they are not, by law, allowed to be riding on that trail or the city streets and sidewalks they using to access those trails. So, they don’t really have a leg to stand on as far as access goes.
In many ways, I can’t help but feel that the Etobicoke Creek is the oft neglected younger sibling as far as watersheds and trails go in Toronto. Straddling the border between Peel and Toronto it suffers from jurisdictional issues that are difficult, to say the least, to navigate. These issues lead to increased neglect in that no one is interested in taking ownership and seeing their budget whittled away to deal with it. I can’t help but feel this issue would not present itself (or be tolerated) in the Don or the Humber, but then I could be wrong.
Finally, full disclosure, just so it doesn’t seem like I am hating on motorized vehicles and trails. I own both a snowmobile and an ATV – would love to have an MX bike but I have less use for it. I use both of those motorized off road vehicles to access our family camp at different times of the year. Despite some epic snow years lately I have never thought of using either vehicle in the Creek – because beside being illegal, it just isn’t responsible ownership. I wish more people would just see it that way.October 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm #807265
Like I said my response was mostly devil’s advocate, I have encountered moto in there but don’t remember the experience as particularly negative. It just seems like so much of what we do and enjoy out of the valleys is allowed to happen through blind-eyes turned and generally keeping off the radar, and it scares me to think that a single negative or harmful encounter could jeopardize our use of that space, even given that MTBers are mostly responsible for developing it. And it just seems to me that if we want our historical usage to count for something in advocacy if need be, it would be slightly hypocritical not to take that into account with other user groups.
But more than that I think the main point I’m trying to drive home is to keep our own noses clean and try to avoid making any other trail users feel the way this guy made you feel, which unfortunately may mean feeling like we are having slightly less fun on the bike. But at the end of the day access is more important than speed/flow.April 4, 2016 at 9:51 am #809955
I was out for a walk along the Creek with my kids on Friday night and it seems our young friend still hasn’t got the message…. Yup, same guy as last fall.
As @fasttimes and @somers can attest to he has turned the lower part of the trail between the HWY and Sherway Dr. as well as the Hydro Corridor the runs parallel to Queensway into his own personal ATV track. Awesome…
Once again have been in contact for most of the weekend with Peel Police who are looking into it. The jurisdictional issues continue to be a problem… sigh.
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