DMBinS promote riders rights in access disputes, where necessary, and always with the local mountain bike community including Trails Associations or local clubs/groups.
We work closely with other outdoor organisations, such as Mountaineering Scotland, taking part in national campaigns and sit on national groups, such as Mountain Safety Group and national outdoor CEO group.
We play our part in using our working partnerships with the MTB community, Trails Associations along with national agencies such as NatureScot, Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates and VisitScotland to identify the key issues facing both mountain bikers and landowners - seeking to find consensus, compromise and mutually beneficial decisions on our use of the outdoors.
We work hard to spread messages of good practice and advice and information to the mountain bike community.
DMBinS, officially through Scottish Cycling, are a member of the National Access Forum (NAF).
NAF has been established by NatureScot to advise on national issues linked to Scottish access rights. One of the key roles that NAF plays is to keep the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) under review and to consult ‘such persons or bodies as they think appropriate’ in fulfillment of this task. NAF is a voluntary association of interested organisations convened by NatureScot for this purpose.
We have worked with NAF on several projects.
'Do The Ride Thing' our guide to responsible mountain biking in Scotland takes its advice, information, and good practice largely from SOAC. To ensure the consistency and accuracy of our guide, it was sent for two consultations from NAF and was signed off in 2012.
In 2017, Forestry Commission Scotland (now Forestry and Land Scotland) and Scottish Land & Estates tabled a paper to NAF detailing their concerns around the increase in the number of mountain bike trails constructed without permission from the landowner/manager. From their perspective, this was resulting in a number of problems, including the creation of potentially dangerous hazards and environmental damage. As a result, DMBinS worked with National Access Forum to create 'Unauthorised Mountain Bike Trails - A Guide For Landmanagers and Riders'. This guidance helps mountain bikers and land managers understand different perspectives on this issue, in the context of the Scottish access rights, and suggests ways in which they can work together and try where possible to find solutions. The guidance provides the framework for the work of Trails Associations, and local groups, developing tails across Scotland.
A presentation in September 2020 resulted in two NAF members, Scottish Forestry and NatureScot, agreeing to fund a UK-wide piece of research on the opportunities and challenges to responsible access, presented by e-bikes.
The research is being carried out by Edinburgh Napier University and the initial research data is currently (October 2021) being analysed. We sit on the Scottish working group to provide advice on draft research outputs and will be continuing to inform them of the research progress.
NAF, and its members, will be involved in implementing the outcomes of the research.
DMBinS are who we look to for advice on access in mountain biking, and if there are issues, how we can work together to solve them.
The purpose of the Mountain Safety Group is to: monitor, review and promote safe movement and practice in the Scottish mountains; to collaborate on mountain safety issues across Scotland; in order to provide and disseminate safety information through its partner organisations; and, to be the definitive organisation for the provision of mountain safety advice to the outdoor sector in partnership with the Scottish Government and through local and national media outlets.
DMBinS's role is to feed in questions or concerns from the mountain bike community and, more importantly, and relevant, is for us to understand the frequency and cause of mountain bike related accidents which mountain rescue are attending in Scotland.
This can help us understand the information and advice required for the mountain bike community to keep ourselves as safe as possible when riding.
During the pandemic, particularly the early stages, we played a key role, along with other outdoor governing bodies and sportscotland, in advising Scottish Government on what we understood responsible access should and could be during this challenging time.
Through those discussions, we were able to understand the concerns of the Scottish Government and then combine them with our advice to the mountain bike community and also the mountain bike industry.
As we came out of lockdown we were active in communicating guidance and good practice advice to the mountain bike community to allow riders to plan safely to return to traveling across the country and accessing facilities.
We also provided advice for facilities that were opening, bike hire, guiding and leading groups, and the safe return of trails associations.
It wasn't always easy to communicate complicated advice to riders and businesses during a very troubled time, and we are sure we didn't always get it 100% right, however, we are proud of the effort and long hours we put in to keep us riding during this challenging time.
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