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POINT MUGU : Rangers to Clamp Down on Cyclists

Rangers in Point Mugu State Park are planning to step up enforcement of speed limits for bicyclists on a treacherous stretch of Sycamore Canyon Road known as “hell hill.”

Ranger Tony Hoffman, who completed a radar course with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department last month, said he will be actively enforcing the 15 m.p.h. speed limit on the steep, winding road, where accidents frequently occur. The road is accessible from Potrero Road in Newbury Park.

Hoffman said bikers can reach speeds of up to 45 m.p.h. and pose dangers to themselves and others.

“I have heard from some people who won’t hike here anymore because of bicyclists,” Hoffman said, noting that more cyclists than hikers have begun using the park in recent years.

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He said a cyclist is hospitalized almost every summer weekend because of a serious accident in the park. Countless other minor scrapes go unreported, he said.

Hoffman said he has issued warnings and a rare citation in the past, but that offenders now face $75 tickets.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hoffman did not find any speed demons, but a few hikers and cyclists huffing their way uphill said they were glad that rangers will be clamping down.

“I see some people going by too fast,” said Fred Villela, a Newbury Park house painter who jogs, hikes and bikes in the park. “I’ve heard about all the wicked spills.”

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Dave Barnes, also of Newbury Park, said he hoped rangers would slow the downhill traffic.

“It’s a real temptation, because it’s a steep hill, to go a little fast,” Barnes said.

But at least one cyclist denied any urge to whiz down the hill.

“When you come around a curve and you don’t know what’s on the other side, 15 is fast,” Russ Hubbard of Camarillo said. “I’m not tempted. That’s why I lived to be 63.”

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