Mountain Biking

65-Year-Old Canadian Woman Sentenced After Being Filmed Booby Trapping Mountain Bike Trails in British Columbia

...but was the sentence really harsh enough for the crime?

Most of the time trail hazards in mountain biking are a mere nuisance. Sometimes though, they can be perilous, and that’s when things start to get serious.

Stray trail dogs, hikers and horses can normally be forgiven in the grand scheme of things, but when sheer malice comes into it, it gets truly concerning. That’s what happened when British Columbia resident Tieneke Kraal started to sabotage her local trails on a regular basis – dragging rocks and logs onto the paths in order to try and slow the riders down.

Kraal is reported by CBC to have left anywhere between 10 and 40 logs on the Skull trail in BC, getting up between the hours of 4am and 6am every single day with her two dogs in order to do exactly that.

What Kraal didn’t count on was that she wouldn’t be the only one up at those horribly early hours. Local shredders-turned-detectives Gord Berg and Shaun Rivers set up wildlife cameras nearby on the trail, and managed to film the 65-year-old red-handed on tape, with the footage subsequently leading to her arrest.

It was argued that for her community service, Kraal should have been ordered to work with mountain bikers on trail maintenance

She has since been charged and sentenced to three years probation and 150 hours of community service, insisting that she never wanted to hurt everyone and was in fact “really sorry”.

The course has become infamous in the local area since the arrest last year, with Kraal’s lawyer Martin Peters looking to shorten the sentence by arguing that Kraal has virtually been under house arrest since her name was released in the papers last year, and has been a victim of abuse on social media.

Peters argued that “Ms. Kraal has already been sentenced in the court of public opinion”, quoting an online forum saying “screw that; just kill her” and noted that she hikes early to avoid others as a sort of therapy, with her husband, whom she is the main carer for, suffering from throat cancer and having survived prostate cancer and brain cancer previously.

Crown council Mark Myhre stated that: “Kraal believed that mountain bikers wrecked the trails on the mountain. She wanted to slow the mountain bikers down and to preserve the trails for hikers for their enjoyment.

He also noted however, that “It’s not hyperbole to call Ms. Kraal’s actions a campaign. The result of a collision with her obstructions could have been catastrophic.”

Myhre argued that for her community service, Kraal should have been ordered to work with mountain bikers on trail maintenance, but though he said she would be welcomed, Peters argued that “these are the same people that threatened to kill her” and said “there’s no reason to force my client to work for the very same people who frighten her the most.”

North Vancouver provincial court Judge John Milne ruled that a sentence was needed to make anyone else in a similar state of mind “sit up and take notice”, with the three year probation and 150 hours of community service being eventually decided upon, though unfortunately those hours will not be spend sculpting berms.

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