The accident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. on the east side of the tracks, according to Mount Shasta Police Department Lieutenant Joe Restine, when a 17 year-old on a motorcycle struck a group of mountain bikers, who were part of an afterschool program run by the Boys and Girls Club of the Siskiyous.

A collision between a motorcyclist and two mountain bikers near the McCloud Railway last Thursday left two Sisson School students injured – one seriously with a broken femur – and raised fresh concerns about competing interests for Mount Shasta’s backcountry trails.

The accident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. on the east side of the tracks, according to Mount Shasta Police Department Lieutenant Joe Restine, when a 17 year-old on a motorcycle struck a group of mountain bikers, who were part of an afterschool program run by the Boys and Girls Club of the Siskiyous.

The group of 12 riders had just dropped down from the Gateway Trail System and were following a short section of the railway en route to Shastice Park.

“The two that were injured were at the front of the group,” Restine said. The incident is being treated “as a traffic collision that happened off road with injuries,” Restine added. It is unknown the speed the motorcycle was going when the accident occurred.

In addition to the girl who broke her leg – a Sisson honor student and athlete – the lead rider in the group also suffered a broken hand. Because all involved in the incident are juveniles, their names aren’t being released.

“It has been very traumatic for everyone involved,” said the father of one of the injured children.

The section of the McCloud Railway where the accident occurred is popular with people walking dogs and hikers and families. The railroad right of way extends for 100 feet in either direction from the center of the tracks.

Owned by the late Jeff Forbis, the tracks have been effectively abandoned but are still private property. It is also not that easy to abandon a railroad. Various agencies are involved, including the Department of Homeland Security, as rail corridors have strategic value.

“It can never be built on,” said John Harch with the Mount Shasta Trail Association. “That is why trails are perfect for it.”

The problem begins when multiple uses occur and there is no clear authority about rules or even who is in charge. There are also conflicts between hikers and mountain bikers.

“It’s complicated and there is no easy answer,” Harch said. “The motorcycles can easily get higher on the mountain in minutes, and there are plenty of places for them up there.”

Harch urged motorcyclists to use common sense and ride carefully in areas that are popular with children, dogs and people.