Cyclists Run Into Insurer's Roadblock

The on-again, off-again status of bicycle riding in the interior of Santa Catalina Island will go off again as of Monday because the insurance company that covered bikers dropped the coverage, island officials said.

"Everything was rolling along very nicely and then we were not able to get our liability coverages," said Penny Grenoble, spokeswoman for the Catalina Conservancy.

The conservancy--the nonprofit foundation that owns 86% of the island--banned biking outside the municipality of Avalon in 1987 after police complained that some bikers were a menace on steep slopes and others said cycles were eroding the fragile island ecology.

In the spring of 1988, however, the organization permitted biking again under a permit system that cost $50 for a year or $30 for three days, with $25 of the fee going for insurance.

None of the 300 bicyclists issued permits--who were required to wear head protection and to use special "mountain" bikes--has had an accident, Grenoble said. But the insurance company, which Grenoble refused to name, canceled the policy anyway.

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