STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It was designed to give bike enthusiasts a way to ride safely in Stone County, but many bikers say the Old Wire Rd, bike trail is too dangerous to use.
The 7.5 mile trail opened with some fanfare in September of 2015, but now, 6 months later, it is rarely used by coast bikers.
Competitive rider James Fikes is one of dozens of Coast bikers who opt to use other areas around the coast like the Hwy. 67 bike lane, or Gulf Islands National Seashore to ride.
"It's a nice place to ride, except for the tree limbs and rocks on the road," Fikes said.
Bikers say the trail is fine for walkers, runners, even regular bikes. But if you ride a professional road bike, the debris can damage the bikes. Luke Davidson, who also rides competitively, says one flat tire while riding could mean up to $100 to fix.
Cross traffic is also a big concern for bikers using the trail. Fikes says an easy solution would be to post stop signs on the driveways for the cars entering and exiting, so bikers wouldn't have to worry about a car crossing the path without notice.
Stone County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Betsy Rowell says she has spoken to several bikers about these concerns, and has made the board of supervisors aware.
However, county engineer Jon Bond says the walking/biking trail on Wire Rd. is designed for lower bike speeds, as well as walking and jogging.
"The trail is safe for what it is designed for. There is a difference between low speed recreational riding, verse the high speed timed races," Bond said, "Wire Road has been used by the Gulf Coast bike group for a long time. On a race day there are bikes for miles, and they use the county road system."
Bond also says the trail will need to be swept periodically, which is done along with general grass maintenance.