Happy faces, biking in the woods in wintertime. Sound like Terrengsykkel magazine? No, it’s Norwegian new Friluftsmeldingen (Stortingsmelding 18).
And there are, most certainly, reasons to be content, to say the least. Norway has just met the needs of mountain bikers, by passing a law allowing human powered outdoor activities (including bikes), as a general rule. In other words, cyclists should be treated equally as pedestrians and other user groups in the woods.
There is a lot I could say about this document:
First of all, as a person who has dealt with legal documents of many kinds, I can only say that I truly felt in love with Stortingsmelding 18. It’s nice, neat and understandable, even for a foreigner with quite limited Norwegian. It has graphs and pictures (something I’ve never come across during my 6 years of legal education), and it’s really something you just want to read. For fun (ok, lawyer’s kind of fun, but still).
Secondly, writing my master’s thesis about sustainable mountain biking trails, I cannot stop admiring the idea standing behind this law: having everybody on board, sharing and respecting both other people and nature. #loveinit
But the third paragraph is for us, mountain bikers to write. How are we gonna use the gift we just got? Will we be mature enough to appreciate this new freedom? “With great power comes great responsibility”, is what they say. Even if mtb is not particularly influential (and in Norway it isn’t – yet), the responsibility even now is huge. An amazing job has been done by NOTS and Norwegian politicians, but now it’s now up to us.
As would Dumbledore say “use it well”. 😉