DANVILLE, Calif. - Dozens of bicyclists gathered at U.S. Bank in Danville for a rally, demanding their shortcut to Mount Diablo Trail be restored. They were requesting U.S. Bank, the trustee of the property, to open the path back to the public.
"Do you want U.S. Bank to tear down the fence?" Alan Kalin screamed. The crowd returned, "Yes!"
The shortcut is a narrow, short gravelly path between two plots of land, and it’s what the bikers call an easement that has been used as an access point for decades. Hundreds of cyclists and hikers cut through a residential community and use the path to avoid the busy and bustling Diablo Road.
It’s believed U.S. Bank allowed the fence to be extended to close the path, blocking the shortcut.
One group that frequently uses the path is the San Ramon Valley Bike Club, a mountain biking team made up of 115 students between sixth and 12th grades.
"We’re doing this for the kids to prevent a collision and save lives," said Alan Kalin, who organized the rally. He is the president of the Mount Diablo Cyclists.
The San Ramon Valley Bike Club’s Head Coach Mike Roberts said they’ve been forced to go around on Diablo Road, putting young mountain bikers in danger.
"Diablo Road is one of the most dangerous roads in the county," said Kalin. "It has a significant percentage of grade and high volume traffic. It has no bike lane."
"It’s dangerous. We honestly just can’t take kids on that road. I wouldn’t feel safe myself riding on it let alone with all of my students," said Roberts.
Kalin said a group of 18 people who live near the path have shared concerns about their safety, saying the cyclists go through their private community and run stop signs.
A neighbor in favor of the fence, Jeff Mini, also argued the pathway is private property and the owner has every right to deter bike traffic.
"There’s been a long-standing issue with residents within Diablo and bikers going through their community to access the trails," said Roberts.
The organizers of Wednesday’s rally said this group of neighbors may have urged U.S. Bank to close off the path.
A lawsuit was filed against U.S. Bank on Oct. 11 in a battle between public access and public nuisance.
"I think they’re not really thinking about other people, they’re more like ‘I don’t want people going through’ but what if it was your kid?" said Amanda Lang, captain of the San Ramon Valley Bike Club.
A petition supporting the removal of the fence already has nearly 3,000 signatures online. KTVU reached out to U.S. Bank who referred us to their loan servicer’s lawyer. The lawyer did not respond to the inquiry before our deadline.