From Darkness To Light

10 Jan 2017

How to get jailed for illegally riding your bike in the City of Durango’s Oxbow Preserve

Posted by Adam Howell

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Since bikes have been outlawed in the new Oxbow Preserve, it’s important to know the consequences for riding your bike there in the event that law enforcement catches you.

This is the entrance to the Oxbow Preserve.

This is the entrance to the Oxbow Preserve.

Bikes were criminalized in the City’s new Oxbow Preserve after Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board members Steve Whiteman and Paul Wilbert suggested it. The ban was part of a plan to allow the perimeter trail to be open as long as possible throughout the year, with river flows permitting. The Natural Lands Board and the City Council, in turn, voted to approve this bike ban as part of the Oxbow Park and Preserve Management Plan in 2016.

This blogger asked two local officials to help describe what happens when you get busted for riding your bike in the Preserve.

Paula Liermann, the Court Administrator for the Durango Municipal Court described what would happen if a bicyclist trespassed in the Preserve. An example of an additional violation would be if a bicyclist jumps the fence or the gate with their bike during a City-imposed closure while the land in the Preserve is inundated with water due to spring run off:

“There are no scheduled fines for the charge of Trespass; it should be a required court appearance and subject to the $26 in court costs ($18 costs and $8 surcharge),” said Liermann. “The judge would decide whether the fact that the property is closed might warrant additional fees. If the individual requests a deferred judgment, there would be an additional $25 deferred fee as the case stays open for the 90 or 120-day time period to ensure that no similar violations occur. Successful completion would result in the plea being withdrawn and dismissal of the case.”

Former Durango Police Department Chief Jim Spratlen.

Former Durango Police Department Chief Jim Spratlen.

Also, you might be wondering what happens if you don’t pay the fine for trespass. Here’s a quick explanation from Durango’s former Police Chief Jim Spratlen:

“If they do not pay they get a warrant for their arrest and get to go to jail,” said Spratlen.

“Paula, can you help us in fines and costs? Also the court cost etc. please.”

Here’s Liermann, again, with more details on what happens when you get to go to jail:

“As the Chief stated, those who willfully fail to pay for a bike or dog citation will eventually be subject to a bench warrant w/ a $50 warrant fee assessed upon arrest, in addition to all scheduled fines/fees,” said Liermann.

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3 Responses to “How to get jailed for illegally riding your bike in the City of Durango’s Oxbow Preserve”

  1. When I first saw the headline I thought Adam got to spend some time in jail! Glad it was just interviews buddy 🙂



  2. Thanks Brian 🙂
    What we don’t know is what would happen if one were to plead ‘not guilty’ and take the charge to a trial. That would be an interesting litmus test. Who’s going to be the first one?


    Adam Howell

  3. After hearing about the bicycle ban, I read several scientific studies comparing environmental damage by mountain biking and hiking. Some of the studies I examined indicated there is no difference between hiking and biking. Some indicated there is more damage from hiking and some reached the opposite conclusion. I noted that the some of the studies more favorable to biking seemed to be based on premises to justify biking rather than being scientifically unbiased. I do not use the Oxbow Preserve as a biker or as a hiker, and I have no attachment to usage policy. However, after examining the studies and having an understanding of the soils in this area, I conclude that the ban is justified. I find the attitude presented here that supports circumventing the ban to be flippant and unbecoming of people who claim an interest in protecting the environment.


    Judy Blaisdell

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