The range of cycle paths in the forests around Innsbruck is manageable. There are few official trails, but many forbidden paths. Mountain bikers are therefore often on the move illegally. Now there is more control in the forest, the displeasure of the cyclists is great.
Whether hiking, running or on two wheels – in the summer months more and more people are looking for relaxation in Innsbruck’s forests. The city offers three official trails in the direction of the Nordkette – in addition, mountain and alpine cyclists often encountered one prohibition sign after the other.
“Once we’re in the forest, we’re illegal”
“We mountain bikers love nature and want to get out. But as soon as we are in the forest, we are on the move illegally – that’s terrible,” complains Patrick Meraner from the Innsbruck mountain bike club. Innsbruck “calls itself the cycling capital” and then there are only a few trails that you can ride, mountain biker Christina complains. There are too many people on the road – because people of different levels would happen more accidents and there would be more conflicts. However, they would only drive on legal routes, according to Christina. Johannes from Innsbruck also says to take the legal route, but for a quick shortcut it is also an illegal route from time to time.
Increased controls, few legal ways
In the woods in the south of the city in the direction of Lans and Vill there is almost no legal offer for cyclists. This automatically results in the potential for conflict with hikers. Forest wardens of the forest office are now increasingly counteracting this with controls. Albuin Neuner from the forestry department says that they are aware that the legal offer in the immediate vicinity of the city is not enough. E-bikes are booming and “trail riding is just as interesting for a four-year-old as it is for an 80-year-old. As a result, we have a lot out in nature that you can’t compare with 2012, neither in terms of the technical equipment of the bikes nor in terms of the audience itself,” says Neuner.
Hardly any bike paths around Innsbruck
The range of cycle paths around the city of Innsbruck is very limited. Many cyclists are therefore illegal in the forests, which also leads to conflicts with hikers. The increased controls also cause resentment among the bikers.
From the point of view of the Innsbruck mountain bike club, the controls are unbearable given the poor official route offer. A sufficient legal offer is therefore required. At least one more trail in western Innsbruck is to be added this summer.
Conflicts between bikers and landowners
Projects for new trails have often failed in the past because one or more landowners refused to give their consent. Since the beginning of the pandemic, their willingness to talk has increased, bikers have repeatedly created paths on their own initiative in night-and-fog campaigns, reports Albuin Neuner, head of the forestry office: “If picks and shovels were used illegally on the property, the The willingness of the landowners to implement something legal has not increased, but has actually led to escalations in many areas.”