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Electric mountain bikes: who owns the mountains?

2019-10-10T15:46:19.631Z

Since cyclists on electric mountain bikes penetrate into remote corners of the Alps, hikers feel harassed. How the conflict could be solved



The electric motor on the e-mountain bike acts like a lift under the saddle. "That's how cyclists can climb steep roads even to the furthest corners of the Alps," says Thomas Frey from BUND Naturschutz inBavaria. And because cycling on the mountain increases, there are always conflicts: at the beginning of August, a hiker attacked an e-biker at Schliersee. Reports of tree roots are repeatedly found in the net, prepared with nails against the two-wheelers.

"The many cyclists disturb pedestrians in their hiking experience," says nature conservationist Frey. The sensitive alpine region is on beautiful days and on the weekend alone with the hikers and normal mountain bikers at its capacity. "Now more and more mountain bikers are getting on their electric bikes."

The problem does not only affect Bavaria. In some regions in South Tyrol routes were completely blocked for mountain bikers. There are separate routes for mountain bikers and hikers in the Austrian town of Sölden and the Swiss Grisons - after all, e-bikers are also an economic factor.

Real conflict potential in the Alps

In Oberstdorf one tries it still with appeals to respect and tolerance: "Zämed duss" means the initiative, in High German "together outside". Garmisch-Partenkirchen participates in the campaign "Fair Bike in Upper Bavaria" of the Tourism Association of Upper Bavaria. The number of campaigns and initiatives shows that there is real potential for conflict in the Alps.

Many hikers are organized in the German Alpine Club (DAV) - but many members also go by bike in the mountains: "The conflict comes because both use the same paths, but at different speeds," says Thomas Bucher from the Munich DAV. In the Federal Association he is the contact for e-bikes. But he also says: All in all, the parties get along quite well. Nail boards and the like are absolute isolated cases. "When it came to snowboarding, it was similar years ago when the skiers initially complained about the boarders," says Bucher. First of all, feel right.

Do e-bikes make the mountain really unsafe?

The DAV is therefore a partner of the policy to defuse the conflict: "It benefits us the more than 20-year experience in winter in similar conflicts between conservationists, hunters and ski tourers," says Bucher. With the support of the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment, last year the Alpine Association launched the project "Mountain Sports Mountain Bike - Sustainable into the Future". In two pilot regions, the counties of Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen and Oberallgäu, "road-and-steering concepts are to be worked out with the participation of all those involved," says Bucher. Means: Instead of bans on good descriptions and tour descriptions set. From the experience of the winter white of the Alpine Club, that about 90 percent stick to signs.

But do e-bikes make the mountain really unsafe for hikers? "I'm not aware of a single case in which an electric mountain biker would have driven over a hiker," says Otto Möslang, chairman of the Bergwacht Bayern. The mountain rescue team sees itself as a savior, not as a judge. Möslang would therefore like to say nothing about the conflict between cyclists and hikers - but to the accident figures: In the past ten years, the rescues of hikers and mountaineers have risen by 71 percent. By contrast, the number of migrants exceeds 300 percent. "The increase in the cyclists comes through the e-mountain bikes, because now with power support higher up to the mountains and further into the valleys," says Möslang.

Source: zeit

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