E-Bike Use on the Recpath
Summit County was gathering public input on whether to allow electric bicycles on the Summit County Recreational Pathway System.
The Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) had received numerous comments both for and against allowing e-bikes on the Recpath. The BOCC had tasked the Open Space and Trails Department with gathering more feedback from the public about e-bikes to determine whether this use might be appropriate on all, or portions, of the Recpath system.
At this time, Summit County is only considering e-bike use on paved pathways - not on natural surface trails.
During an April 24 work session, Open Space & Trails staff met with the BOCC to present and discuss the feedback they had received through the public comment process, which concluded March 19. Having carefully considered all the community comment, the BOCC advised Open Space staff to move forward with a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service to permit e-bike use on the Recpath. Additional decisions about which classes of e-bikes to allow or prohibit will be considered by the BOCC in the future, once a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service has been approved, and it becomes necessary to change the rules and regulations of the Recpath.
It is important to keep in mind that proposed new rules or regulations still require review by the U.S. Forest Service and local municipalities, which have oversight over the sections of the Recpath within their boundaries. The review process can take a significant amount of time, in the range of 6-12 months. E-bikes are still prohibited on the Recpath during the review period. Therefore, it is highly unlikely any change regarding e-bike use on the Recpath will occur this season, May to October 2018.
If you have any questions about this process, please contact Summit County Open Space & Trails Resource Specialist Michael Wurzel at 970-668-4065 or Michael.Wurzel@summitcountyco.gov.
Thank you for your on-going interest in the Summit County Recreational Pathway System.
Open House and Online Survey
Summit County hosted an open house at the County Commons on Wednesday, February 28 from 5-7 p.m. to obtain input about the use of e-bikes on the Recpath.
An online survey was available from February 20 through March 19. The public informed Open Space and Trails what they think about e-bikes on the Recpath by taking the simple, seven-question survey. The survey took about five minutes to complete and had over 1,000 responses.
Background: E-Bikes in Colorado and Summit County
A new Colorado law took effect on Aug. 9, 2017, authorizing the operation of Class I or Class II e-bikes on bike or pedestrian paths where bicycles are authorized to travel. However, the bill also stipulates that local authorities can regulate the use of e-bikes in their own jurisdictions.
Summit County and the towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne maintain and manage their respective sections of Recpath. Each jurisdiction is considering its own rules and regulations related to e-bikes, but we are working toward a shared vision for the Recpath system that preserves a seamless experience for Summit County residents and visitors.
Recpath Regulations & Individuals with Disabilities
In Summit County, e-bikes are currently prohibited on the Recpath, except for use by persons with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Current Recpath Regulations state that no person shall operate a motorized vehicle on the Recpath, and motorized vehicles include every vehicle that is self-propelled, including e-bikes.
However, people with mobility, circulatory, respiratory, or neurological disabilities use many kinds of devices for mobility. Some use walkers, canes, crutches, or braces. Some use manual or power wheelchairs or electric scooters. In addition, advances in technology have given rise to new devices, such as Segways®, that some people with disabilities use as mobility devices. And more advanced devices will inevitably be invented, providing more mobility options for people with disabilities, like e-bikes. An Electric Assisted Bike (EAB) device is a vehicle with two wheels, operable pedals, an electric motor not exceeding 750 watts, with a top speed of 20 miles per hour
On the Recpath and other paved pathways in Summit County, persons with a mobility disability may use any EAB that has maximum power driven speed equal or less than 20 mph, is no wider than 36 inches, and has brakes that enable the operator to make the wheels skid on dry, level and clean pavement. No other Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) may be used, including but not limited to any gas or combustible fuel powered devices, ATV’s, golf carts, or motorcycles. Wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids are allowed.
For more detailed information, see the Summit County Guidelines for Use of "Other Power Driven Mobility Devices" on Open Space and Trail Properties and property interests.
E-bike Definition & Classes
E-bikes, also known as an electric bicycles, powerbikes, pedelecs, or booster bikes, are bicycles with an integrated electric motor that does not exceed 750 watts of power.
Class I e-bikes: bikes equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph
Class II e-bikes: bikes equipped with an electric motor and throttle that can provide assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph
Example of a Class I E-Bike
E-Bikes in Other Communities
E-bikes are a fast growing segment of the cycling industry for many environmental, health, financial and mobility reasons. Mountain communities in Colorado and across the west are currently considering e-bike use on their paved pathway systems. Below are some examples and resources on e-bikes and how communities are regulating them.
- People for Bikes - Electric Bicycle Resources
- Jackson and Teton County, Wyoming - Allows e-bikes
- Park City and Summit County, Utah - Allows class I and II e-bikes; has the nation's first e-bikeshare program
- Pitkin County, Colorado and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails - Prohibits e-bikes pending community discussion
- Snowmass Village, Colorado - Prohibits e-bikes
- City of Boulder, Colorado - Allows e-bikes on certain paved pathways
- Vail, Colorado - Allows class I and II e-bikes on certain paved pathways