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Beware what you share on Strava


ChopStiR's picture

By ChopStiR - Posted on 30 May 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

We do not condone the use of illegal trails/riding. Perhaps this can help police the users who ride closed trails when wet, etc...

We were talking to the Ranger at the recent rake and ride and were talking about Strava etc when the ranger brought up in Conversation he has a small list thanks to Strava of riders who have ridden past no entry/no cyclists/closed signs. He noted that he had photos of the signs with date, time and gps. From strava he has the date, time, the gps route, their full names and even their photo. He did not mention if he would be issuing any fines but I think if these people are repeat offenders, he has all the information he needs to prosecute.

Flynny's picture

Rangers have monitored forums and social media to gained info on illegal/unsanctioned trails and riders no complying to rules for yonks.

Lets hope they don't go back to the bad old days of issuing speculative fines like back in the early days of the Royal National park MTB trials. All that did was incite an us against them mentality even amounst rider who were trying to do the right thing

faulko's picture

Interesting its not a breach of privacy by Strava to allow names to be viewable etc without being friends or associated with the owner of the gps track in question.

I wouldn't fuss on it too much personally, doing nothing wrong other then riding you shouldn't have to much hassle.

Lenny_GTA's picture

Ive recently been contacted by NPWS about some illegal trail building that was being showcased on the HMBA Facebook page and a few other forums.

They had the names of the builders, text admitting they were the builders and times the trails were being built. I was contacted to try and delete a bunch of the posts identifying the trail, but it sounded like they were going to move with prosecution for the trail building.

I'm not sure the builders knew they were in a National Park (I didn't know it was until I was contacted) but really, if your going to post photos and details you are asking for trouble.

I know that they (various land managers) are aware of strava up here (Newcastle Area) but they don't use it to monitor who is riding in the wrong spot. The biggest concern they have about strava is the potential for it to cause conflict between users of different speeds. Even the closed areas of Glenrock of been very loosely policed (if at all) and Strava provides a wealth of info about people riding down there (particularly with all the segments). Id say though that until the POM amendment goes through and the new mtb trails created that the blind eye will still be turned.

Data has been collected though with the segments running in the opposite direction to the signposted trails, again not for prosecution purposes, but more to see the network is actually set up in the most efficient way and iff directions need to be reassessed.

dtm's picture

Dont think they could really send you a Fine ... as they have no proof it was really you riding unless they catch you in the act ...how do they know someone else wasnt using your phone or your strava account? Not saying thats what happens but it is possible... Good luck to the rangers we have about one local legal track (10k) where i live and its very poorly kept so all our trails ridden are illegal!!!!

jedijunglesnow's picture

Well DTM you basically just admitted you ride illegal trails so look out.

Not sure where you live but the Northen Beaches is going off for mtn biking in the future. Council currently spending thousands of dollars to maintain Manly Dam, Bantry Bay trail under construction, Old Mans Valley not too far away and Stage 2 just opened, and we just had a
major victory in regards to Bare Creek. And so many good spots around to park a 29er and grab a latte!

hawkeye's picture

Were we at the same meeting? Puzzled

Council refused to have anything to do with it and told us to basically leave them out of it and talk to State government ourselves if we think it is such a good idea.

/offtopic

dtm's picture

I live on the northern beaches and that's the area I am referring too .... !!! Bare creek should have been a massive victory but wasn't , Council done nothing as usual
... And the proposed works for many dam finally going ahead after god knows how many years?? Too many to remember when it first started the fact they we get kicked out of bantry bay only for them to bulldose it and built a new suburb!! LOL
and yeah go ride old mans valley only a 45min drive away through heavy traffic ,,..no thanks that is not the northern beaches ..
think I will stick to my so called illegal trails I can pedal from home too

dtm's picture

I live on the northern beaches and that's the area I am referring too .... !!! Bare creek should have been a massive victory but wasn't , Council done nothing as usual
... And the proposed works for many dam finally going ahead after god knows how many years?? Too many to remember when it first started the fact they we get kicked out of bantry bay only for them to bulldose it and built a new suburb!! LOL
and yeah go ride old mans valley only a 45min drive away through heavy traffic ,,..no thanks that is not the northern beaches ..
think I will stick to my so called illegal trails I can pedal from home too

Andy Bloot's picture

Here we go again
Really, do we need to argue about all this illegal trails BS again

Demand exceeds supply 10 fold
It's great that the NPWS are getting on board (most councils still have soft cocks)
But it's to their benefit - not because they think we're a great bunch of blokes
They have a brief to increase visitation and we're a good way to achieve it
Simple as that

I honestly don't get the point of this thread, Tim
If the NPWS want to fine, then go ahead
Posting online with the wagging finger seems counter productive to me

ChopStiR's picture

The Post was more of an elusive heads up post. No wagging of finger or intent for debate.

fairy1's picture

I hadn't been on Strava until a few weeks ago and I was quite amazed at how much of people's info you can see without even registering. As if people wouldn't take notice of people riding illegal trails, many of the trails would be on private property and if people are dumb enough to use an actual picture of themselves then "race" on illegal trails they should get what they deserve.

Probably the same sort of knobs that advertised some local illegal trails, hopefully they have run out of laminating pouches Eye-wink

Simon's picture

Great advocacy info to help TrailCare.

It gives us global data on comparative trail use.

It shows the massive demand unmet by the few official trails.

We can also do some comparisons with locations with detailed reports on the economic benefit provided by their trails.

Also look at population participation rates which are higher near official established trails and relate the health benefits and public health system savings from getting sedentary people off their bum.

If anyone has some time to help put this together please email me at simon@trailcare.com.au

Johnn's picture

If Landcare are interested so are Local Councils, State Governments, Land Owners and others.
Some could also provide names, address's, Date of Birth, Drivers Licence details and an accurate estimated level of maturity/IQ.
You don't have to make it easy for big brother keep an eye on you.

pharmaboy's picture

Paranoia perhaps?

If just one person gets so much as a letter in the mail, in this online world, everyone will know within days, and a change of privacy settings and you are suddenly silent to the land managers - then they will get no information at all.

You would also have to prove the user was riding a bike, prove that they were using the device also, and that the count belonged to them - all these things pretty much require a verbal confirmation from the user.

The purpose of fining would be to stop the behaviour, if you fined on the basis of strava ( or attempted to), you will only modify the behaviour of the strava use, the riding will continue without the public gps tracks.

hawkeye's picture

Bearing in mind that some trails run over aboriginal artifacts (eg Moon Rock, some Bantry Bay trails) and the fines for unintentional damage are in the order of $110k, I'd be careful about riding those.

Even if it fails, do you want to have to mortgage or sell your house to fund a defence?

Other trails... I'll be continuing to ride and post public data for the reasons Simon outlines.

fairy1's picture

Luckily I am pretty slow on a bike so posting Strava times would be silly, also I just don't care about times I look for the fun lines not the ones that will get me the best time.

Stravaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

On a slightly different note a few months ago some friends and I were kicked off a trail by the supposed new land owners. I knew some of the trails had been cut in by a local school and assumed the trails were legal but I was wrong, I have no idea if the people we saw actually owned the land but it did turn out to be private property so I haven't ridden it since.

browny's picture

Agree with Pharmaboy.

At best I could see Strava being used for data mining i.e. to try and get their head around the size of what they're trying to control.

I think people are crediting the agencies with way more time and resources than they actually have.

Flynny's picture

You'd be surprised Browny

I've been to plenty of meetings with land managers where forum posts have been bought up as examples of how we don't follow rules..

That was in the bad old days of us against them. Lets hope we do not go back there with them using strava in such a way as it would be a big step back in riders/land manager relationships.

pharmaboy's picture

Flynny, there is a mile of difference between using information to back a claim and taking concrete action against an individual.

No doubt they read forums, and can sure look at strava for segments, but we have a whole planet full of illegal mountain bike trails - well, at least not legal ones. In all that, I can't find any examples online of someone been prosecuted on the basis of that information, so at this stage it seems a theoretical problem not a demonstrated one.

If any land manager wants to stop mountain biking, the clear and obvious solution is to head out one Saturday with rangers and fine a few people, word will pretty quickly get out.

Though, as you noted earlier, the outcome of that sort of action doesn't move things forward.

Flynny's picture

Pretty sure there was a canyoner fined and theatened with further action for posting about visiting Jurassic canyon (the location of the Wollemi pines) in an online forum.

I know of 1 mountain biker that was issued a fine based on the ranger "recognising his distinctive yellow bike" despite the fact that he was at work at the time and yellow konas where like white commadors at the time.

I doubt that the powers that be would be silly enough to go back to those antagonistic tactics as they know with out our good will we can just ride where we want and the risk of getting caught is minimal.

So I really don't think fines would be issued and never claimed they would, only that online sources do get monitored and thinking they don't have the resources to do so, at least informally, might be a little naive.

That the ranger in the OP made claims the

he has a small list thanks to Strava of riders who have ridden past no entry/no cyclists/closed signs. He noted that he had photos of the signs with date, time and gps. From strava he has the date, time, the gps route, their full names and even their photo

suggests more chest banging and big noting than true intention to issue fines

The Brown Hornet's picture

It almost seems as if "the man" is looking for some self-policing, exactly what started to be thrown around with the closure of the Old Bathurst run. It seems they credit some people/groups with having more influence over others than they actually have! Or it could just be a friendly comment showing that they monitor such things. But then we know they monitor the forums etc.

If they really want to crack down I'm sure we'll know about it. It's hard enough to get someone out to Yellomundee when there are motos in there, let alone busting someone riding in the middle of nowhere.

ChopStiR's picture

The term illegal trail gets thrown around to much. It is a term that should not be used so freely. Council Laws vary from Council to council but I do know that the laws for the Blue Mountains Council controlled lands is 100% legal for cyclists to use any single track unless its signposted that they are not allowed to ride it. Secret/local tracks are often completely legal to ride. (No such thing as a secret track anymore thanks to strava). Caution to this is secret tracks on National Parks controlled land such as Native reserves.
The rules are different for National Park which are %100 illegal to ride single tracks unless it is a designated trail that allows cyclists. Off the top of my mind The Oaks Single track is currently the only legal singletrack allowed for cyclist to use in the Blue Mountains National Park. The exception to this is Dormant Fire trails. Dormant fire trails are unmaintained trails which often results in overgrowth confining the trail to a single track yet it is still a firetrail and still legal to ride.

Most rangers prefer to educate before they issue fines. I do not believe that land managers will be issuing fines based on gps data anytime soon. But incriminating evidence can be very easy to collect when so freely given. Thus the intent of this thread. Are you aware of what you have shared.

I know I never had the intention to debate but I feel the need to throw out 2 counter arguments to claims posted above.

The first being someone gets fined, they post it on the forums and very quickly information shuts down.
It was not so long ago I had given a warning that a ranger was going to start issuing fines to anyone caught riding the Oaks Single track while it was under construction. That post can be found here. At a later date when I met the ranger I asked if he had fined anyone since and he said yes, he caught a couple and issued them fines. I have not seen anyone confess that they received a fine on the forums of late.

The second being, the land manager would need to prove it was you using the gps, your profile name and photo on strava is not enough evidence.
If you get caught by a speed camera or red light camera, you are issued a fine. Yet the only evidence being a photo of your car and number plate. It is now your responsibility to try and prove it was not you driving that vehicle, have someone else accept the responsibility or cough up the dough and accept the fault. I believe they same principal would apply here.

ChopStiR's picture

I would also like to add that OMV stage 2 is now closed for a long delay until repairs are made bacuase someone chose to ride it while it was wet and closed.

@HornsbyMBT
Trail closure ignored by some riders who badly damaged Blue stage 2 trail. Long delays expected before opening, Stage 1 trail also closed.

Its idiots like this that have now ruined the enjoyment for others and I'd personally would be happy if they got issued with a fine.

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