Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bike Park statement on rider's death

Message from Maydena Bike Park managing director Simon French

THE recent tragic death following an incident in our park has deeply affected our team. As a small, family-run company, our staff are like family and our guests are treated like our friends. This incident has a profound impact on all of us.  We feel deeply for the loss of a fellow rider, and feel immense empathy for the rider’s family and friends. 

Out of respect for the rider and their family, we have to date elected not to make any further public comment, though recent media reports have compelled us to provide further response. To date, riders at Maydena Bike Park have completed over 25,000 individual laps down our mountain, out of which 19 riders have required assistance from Tasmanian Ambulance Service, meaning less than 0.01% of trips down our mountain resulted in the need for ambulance assistance.  It also must be noted that the vast majority of these injuries would have self-transported to medical care if they were riding in a public facility.

During the development of Maydena Bike Park (MBP), our company based all its decisions, systems and strategies on those of the best bike parks in the world.  Our management team travelled the world, meeting the management teams of the world’s best bike parks and learning from their many years of valued experience. We engaged the best consultants and staff to help us develop comprehensive safety and incident management systems. It’s important to note that MBP aren’t following industry standards, we are in fact setting these standards, and continue to lead the industry for Tasmanian mountain biking safety. 

MBP are the only Tasmanian mountain bike destination that has:

  • A formal sign in process where all risks are clearly presented to riders before they begin their ride
  • A formal rider responsibility code
  • A dedicated, full time medical and safety team

Following this incident MBP has:

  • Undertaken a comprehensive internal incident review
  • Engaged a third-party consultant to review the park’s safety systems
  • Liaised with various government departments to review incident prevention management
  • Reviewed all park trails, procedures, policies, signage and operations

The result of this review is that the park has implemented a number of system and policy changes, including:

  • Establishment of Australia’s first Solo-Rider Management Policy and systems
  • Revision of our waiver and sign in process to further reinforce the potential risks inherent in mountain bike riding

It is important to note that the above measures sadly would not have prevented the recent tragic incident, nor would they have reduced the severity of the incident; they instead reflect the park’s ongoing commitment to improving the safety of all our guests.

With every sport comes risk, in fact every time we step outside the door we are continually managing risks. Sadly, while not often reported, mountain bike fatalities occur several times per year on average in Australia.  Every time we strap on a helmet, as riders we must acknowledge, accept and manage the risks involved in what we do. The best trails, the most comprehensive signage, the best safety systems, the most expensive bikes and the best protective equipment will never completely remove these risks.  When risks are managed well there is an extremely low risk of injury when mountain bike riding, but we simply cannot ever remove these risks entirely.
 
MBP remains committed to providing our guests with a safe and supportive venue to enjoy the sport of mountain biking riding.  We are committed to continuing to lead the industry in rider safety, through market-leading practices across all areas of our operation.

I would like to again extend my sincere condolences to the rider’s family and friends on behalf of our entire team. This tragedy has weighed heavily on us all, and our thoughts continue to remain with those affected.

Out of respect for the rider’s family and friends, and in the interests of protecting the health and well-being of our staff, MBP do not wish to make any further comment at this time.

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