SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Sacramento County leaders approved adding an extra layer of safety and security to the popular American River Parkway on Tuesday.

A new volunteer bike patrol will now be peddling the parkway with members of the National Ski Patrol.

“We will be the people to share diplomatically those rules of the trail, try and encourage people not to break the rules, be trail ambassadors, first aid when it’s needed whether it’s a medical emergency or a fall and an injury,” Tim Viall with the National Ski Patrol said.

The ski patrol, best know for its mountain rescue training, has about 200 members in the Sacramento area, and it seems like a perfect fit since ski season ends just as the parkway becomes its busiest.

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“The ski patrol has been getting more and more involved in bike patrols for the last 15 years or so,” Viall said.

” We are here for safety so that people slow down and do the right rules of the road. We really want to prevent accidents rather than treat accidents,” Dr. Jim Margolis with the National Ski Patrol said.

The American River Parkway gets more than nine million visitors a year, but this nature area is not immune to urban-area problems such as crime and homelessness. Last year park rangers responded to more than 7,700 calls for service, and the bike patrol will serve as extra eyes and ears for rangers.

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Team members will be in uniform but they won’t have any law-enforcement powers.

“Any criminal activity, obviously, we are going to go through the rangers,” Margolis said.

And those who frequent the parkway say they welcome the extra help.

“I mean, sure, if there’s an organization that exists that can help out with something like this, that’s great,” Dave Trench said.

The bike patrol hopes to be fully active by late spring. They are also looking for more volunteers to join the team. People interested in volunteering on the bike patrol can contact tviall@msn.com.

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