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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Speedy cyclists draw complaints on Centennial Trail

Park officials have a message for bicyclists on the Centennial Trail: Slow down.

Riverside State Park rangers say they’ve received a handful of complaints in recent months about cyclists violating the trail’s 15 mph speed limit, creating a hazard for other pedestrians.

“This is not a trail designed for high speeds,” said Ranger Diana Dupuis, who manages the park near Nine Mile Falls. “There are a lot of blind corners and curves. There’s a lot of potential for a crash.”

A spokeswoman for the state Parks and Recreation Commission, Toni Weyman Droscher, said walkers, horseback riders and slower bicyclists have reported “unsafe encounters” with speeding cyclists.

Droscher said the trail must be safe for all users, including runners, in-line skaters, kids learning to ride bikes, people pushing strollers and people with disabilities who use walkers or wheelchairs.

“I don’t really see a mother with a stroller going more than 15 miles an hour,” she said.

Dupuis said 15 mph is a common speed limit on state-owned trails, including the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. Bicyclists who violate it may face a fine of up to $136.

The complaints trickle in once or twice a month, but there hasn’t yet been a report of a serious crash, Dupuis said.

“But, as always, there are people who are trying to time themselves, preparing for a race or something, who are maybe not as respectful as they could be of the other people on the trail,” she said.

On one recent afternoon, Sister Madonna Buder, the 86-year-old “iron nun” who still regularly competes in triathlons, was chugging along on her road bike in preparation for an upcoming race in Nebraska.

After all the miles she’s logged on the Centennial Trail, speeding cyclists were among the least of her concerns, she said.

“They should complain about the cars – that’s what I find speeding,” she said. “More power to (cyclists) if they can go faster than a car.”

Bryan Rogh, who lives near the park and rides a loop on his mountain bike almost daily, also balked at the complaints, saying he rarely even sees other pedestrians on the trail.

“I’m out here every day, and I’ve seen maybe a horse,” he said. If someone did object to his riding style, though, “They couldn’t stop me because I’m going too fast.”

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