Cyclists on NSW's Central Coast are on high alert after a popular mountain bike track was sabotaged in a move which riders say put their lives at risk.
The Central Coast Mountain Bike Trail Alliance said an 11-year-old girl was lucky to avoid serious injury after landing on a series of rocks placed below a blind drop on the Phoenix Trail near Killcare.
The alliance, which has been tirelessly campaigning for adequate routes for mountain bike enthusiasts in recent years, said there had been an increase in trails being destroyed or tampered with in recent weeks.
"This behaviour is unacceptable and will inevitably cause serious injury to a rider," it said.
Taking to Facebook to share an image of the rocks, the alliance drew an angry response from other riders who called it a "vile act".
"There's no difference between dropping rocks off an overpass and doing this. Both are premeditated and could kill innocent people," one person wrote.
"Disgusting," another said.
Others said they too had seen an increase in tracks being sabotaged.
Local MP David Harris said there was "zero excuse" for risking people's safety.
"Our open spaces are for all to share. There are serious consequences of such wilful vandalism," he said.
NSW Police have been contacted regarding the matter.
Mountain biking surges in popularity amid Covid pandemic
Mountain biking in recent years has been a contentious issue in the area, particularly as the activity has surged in popularity during the pandemic.
The influx has led to the use of unauthorised tracks which have subsequently been shared with bushwalkers.
Last August, a rider discovered a concealed plank of wood bolted to the ground with rows of nails protruding from it on an unauthorised track in the nearby Bouddi National Park.
He told Yahoo News Australia he, like many others, frequented the area often with his children and the contraption could have caused serious injury.
Central Coast Council and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service have been working with riders to explore the possibility of further cyclist-only routes.
Yet council earlier this year prompted anger when it removed several trails and structures created that were deemed unsafe and the impact they were having on wildlife and the landscape.
The Central Coast Mountain Bike Trail Alliance said the tracks were invaluable for young riders and were furious with the lack of consultation prior to the demolition.
Central Coast Council has been contacted regarding the sabotage on Phoenix track.
Last year, a council spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia the council was concerned over continued reports of booby traps in the area.
"Council encourages all those using our natural areas to continue to enjoy and show respect for those areas and fellow users," the spokesperson said.
"Those members of the community who have felt the need to take matters in their own hands are reminded that building traps is not only illegal, it could have serious ramifications including the potential to seriously injure a fellow community member or native wildlife."
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