Steamboat Springs City Council to consider e-bike policy Tuesday | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs City Council to consider e-bike policy Tuesday

A sign at the entrance of the Yampa River Core Trail warns that no motorized vehicles are allowed.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs City Council will decide Tuesday whether a class of electric bicycles will be allowed to keep zipping down the Yampa Rive Core Trail.

The Council approved a yearlong trial program for class one e-bikes on the Core Trail and the Walton Creek Trail in June.

According to a report from the city's parks and community services department, parks and recreation staff haven't received any complaints about the use of the bikes on the trails where they are allowed.

City staff also noted the bicycles do not appear to be causing any additional conflicts.

Council members appeared ready to endorse the continued use of the e-bikes on the Core Trail when the results of the trial program were presented at a meeting last week.

However, some council members still advocated for spelling out some sort of speed limit for the bicycles in an ordinance.

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Council members in favor of a speed guideline raised concerns about fast-moving bikes mixing with people walking with strollers and pedestrians who share the trail.

Councilwoman Heather Sloop said thinking of "the tourist that decides to rent a bike and goes nuts on the Core Trail and doesn't regulate their speed" when she advocated for mentioning a top speed in the ordinance.

In May, a previous council couldn't come to an agreement on a speed limit for the Core Trail.

Some felt 20 miles per hour would be too fast, while others felt 10 miles per hour would be too slow.

Former council president Walter Magill noted at the time that runners can run faster than 10 miles per hour.

But without a string of complaints about e-bikes on the Core Trail almost a year into the trial program, current council president Jason Lacy suggested the city might be overthinking regulations when talking about a possible speed limit.

"It feels like we're talking about solutions when there's no problem," he said.

City officials said they’ve worked with stores that rent electric powered bikes so they know to disengage a throttle assist on class two bikes if the person who rents the bicycle indicates they are going to travel on the Core Trail.

The council will weigh in on a resolution Tuesday to make the e-bike policy permanent.

City officials have plans to put up signs on trails where e-bikes are not allowed, including the Spring Creek Trail and trails on Emerald Mountain.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.