Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission is cool with e-bikes.
The commission voted Wednesday to recommend that the city start a yearlong pilot program allowing two types of e-bikes on the Yampa River Core Trail.
Commissioners gave their blessing after hearing from members of the community who were mostly supportive of electric bicycles, which are growing in popularity.
Some commissioners didn’t share the concerns of some community members that the new bicycles would add more congestion, and conflict, to the Core Trail.
“E-bikes are big and are getting bigger, so we need to start figuring out what the proper regulations are,” Commissioner Doug Tumminello said.
The commission’s endorsement of e-bikes is limited to Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles, which both have an electric drive system with an advertised top speed of 20 miles per hour.
The Class 1 bicycles have an electric motor that just offers the rider a pedal assist. Class 2 bicycles have an electric drive system that the rider can engage with a throttle.
It will ultimately be up to the Steamboat Springs City Council to decide whether to accept the commission’s recommendation.
Commissioners want the city to look into a speed limit that would apply to all cyclists on the Core Trail.
South Routt rancher and cyclist Steve Williams told the commission he has learned to love the e-bike.
In recent years, he’s used a fat-tired bicycle with an electric motor to haul weed sprayers and fence repair materials around his Glas Deffryn Ranch near Oak Creek.
The motor helps push the pedals on steep hills.
“It’s an incredible work vehicle for me,” Williams said.
The bike also has had a positive impact on his family members.
Williams said when his wife had some heart problems last year, the e-bike was the only way she could ride.
And Williams’ brother, who has a spinal cord tumor and walks with the help of a cane, is also able to bike around with an assist from an electric motor.
“You put him on an e-bike, and he can go,” Williams said.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10