As you may recall, downhill bike rides from the top of Haleakala were suspended by the National Park Service on October 10th. The tour shutdown was prompted by the frequent number of accidents and the second death this year. This safety stand-down was scheduled for a minimum of 60 days, but my guess is that it may be permanent.
The National Park Service can control the tours inside their boundaries, but outside of the park gate is fair game. Downhill bike tour operators have adapted to the restrictions. Some tour companies now offer a shortened version of the downhill thrill ride. Rather than starting at just over 10,000 feet above sea level, the modified tours start outside of the park gates at about 6,500 feet. The modified tour distance is reduced by 10 miles to 28 miles total.
Lewis Upsold of Haleakala Bike Company told The Salt Lake Tribune that his company offers a tour to see sunrise at the top of the crater or to see the park and then takes the tourists outside the park gate where they can begin the downhill bike ride. Upsold says he’s not hearing many complaints about the reduced tours. He also says, “I have felt in the past that this is a little safer than the top portion, which is steeper, windier and has rocky terrain. If you have an accident and go off the side, you are rolling off the rocks.”