Colorado Springs Parks Department E-Bike Trail Access Survey
The Colorado Springs Parks Department is exploring changes to E-Bike Trail Access on all trails within the COS Parks and Recreation System.
E-bike usage has been expanding throughout Colorado Springs; Bike Colorado Springs believes that updated trail designations are inline with the city’s goal of doing “… what’s best for your park, trail and open space infrastructure, while at the same time providing an excellent recreational experience. ”
Colorado Springs current trail policy for e-bikes allows only Class 1 (pedal assist) e-bikes on all urban trails. Our city has more than 100 miles of urban trails.
Bike Colorado Springs E-Bike position
On Wednesday October 14th, Bike Colorado Springs (Bike COS) participated in a conversation with community stakeholders about the place of EBikes on trails within our city’s park system.
It was insightful to hear from a broad range of trail users from equestrians to hikers and a diverse group of bicyclists from bike shop owners to a couple in their 70s who started riding again thanks to EBikes. Our friends at Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates have put out their stance here; we support their stance for a phased roll out of E Mountain Bike access on our park system’s single-track trails paired with an in-depth education effort. The mission and goals of Bike Colorado Springs focus our position more directly on our city’s urban trail network and the use of EBikes or EMobility vehicles for transportation. Click through for our complete position and a more detailed description of the Conversation that occurred in October.
As we look at the increasing use of e-bikes, it’s important to us to know how members of our community citywide are observing, using and interacting with this rapidly-evolving and popular technology.
Urban trails, however, represent only a portion of the trail infrastructure that is managed by the parks department. There is also an extensive network of trails within our larger regional parks and open spaces. These trails are almost always naturally surfaced and generally multi-use, meaning they are shared among the likes of hikers, cyclists, joggers, dog walkers and equestrians. These are what are generally thought of as Singletrack or Doubletrack trails. These trails are found in Red Rock Canyon or Ute Valley Park open spaces or throughout Garden of the Gods or North Cheyenne Cañon parks. E-bikes, of any kind, are not currently permitted on these park and open space trails.
The Colorado Springs Parks Department E-Bike Trail Access Survey is open for two weeks starting Friday Nov. 6th, Closing Friday Nov. 20th. Read on and click through to see our stance on E-bikes and E-Mobility device access in Colorado Springs.
People For Bike's - E-Bike 101
Local Media Reports on Exploration of Changes to EBike and EMobility Regulations
On Wednesday October 14th, Bike Colorado Springs (Bike COS) participated in a conversation with community stakeholders about the place of EBikes on trails within our city’s park system. Read more from the Gazette on this meeting.
City Council has also recently broached a similar topic regarding E-Mobility devices in Colorado Springs, specifically E-Scooter Share. We think that it is the right time to address access and limitations for these vehicles as the number of users continues to rise in Colorado Springs.
E-Bikes In Colorado Springs
EBikes are an ever growing part of the bicycle market globally, in the US, as well as in the Colorado Springs Market specifically. EBikes and E-Mobility devices (Electric scooters, one wheels, Electric skateboards, Etc.) are also a growing piece of the urban mobility puzzle world wide and make a lot of sense in Colorado Springs. EBikes are an efficient, cost-effective and fun way to travel, and have been shown to change transportation habits. Nationally, 45% of all vehicle trips are 3 Miles or less, while trips over 6 miles account for 40% of all trips. This data shows that there is a large percentage of vehicle trips that are well within the range of an average bicycle rider, a distance that is that much more reasonable for people using an EBike. This is especially true in our city as we do have some challenging topography, EBikes remove that barrier as can be seen with the growth and success of PikeRide ever since our local bike share provider introduced EBikes to their fleet. EBikes make it possible to travel longer distances in less time, making EBikes a great solution for the sprawling nature of our city with fairly large distances between destinations. It’s been shown that EBike riders ride more frequently, which is one of our goals at Bike COS. EBikes remove barriers making bike riding more attractive so more people do it.
E-Bikes & E-Mobility devices in our urban environment
For our Urban trail network the definitions of trail type or tier need to be carefully reviewed and defined in a way that is clear and accessible to the public. Currently, while class 1 ebikes are permitted on Tier 1 and Tier 2 trails we have multiple, unclear trail definitions that make it confusing where ebikes are allowed. Bike COS believes that trails that serve as transportation routes should hold a special transportation designation. These Trails that provide transportation functions, regardless of tier, should be open to Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes and Paved trails that provide transportation functions should be open to e-scooters and other e mobility devices limited to 20mph. The City should produce and maintain an up-to date Trail map that indicates trail tier and clearly denotes allowed vehicles on each tier.
For our city’s on street network:
Bike COS believes that Bike Lanes, Protected Bike Lanes and Buffered Bike Lanes should be open to Class 1, 2, and 3 EBikes as well as E-Mobility devices. while chapter 10 of our city code is being looked at by Colorado Springs city council to address E-Scooter share, our current code only allows Class 1 and Class 2 EBikes to use on-street bicycle infrastructure.
Bike COS E-Bike & E-Mobility Recommendations
On street bicycle infrastructure
(Bike Lanes, Protected Bike Lanes and Buffered Bike Lanes) should be open to Class 1, 2, and 3 EBikes as well as E-Mobility devices
Trail type/tier definitions
should be carefully reviewed and defined in a way that is clear and accessible to the public.
denoting allowed and disallowed vehicles must be posted at trailheads and trail access points.
Tier 1 & Tier 2 Urban trails
should be open to Class 1 and Class 2 Ebikes
Any trails that provide transportation functions
should be open to Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes
Paved trails that provide transportation functions
should be open to e-scooters.
An up-to date Trail map
that indicates trail tier and allowed vehicles should be produced and maintained by The City of Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs EBike Reference information
This City Urban Trail reference and Map describes types (tiers) of urban trails, note that some of these examples are inconsistent with the current trail network.
COS EBike Reference
The city EBike Page shows that some trails are open to e-bikes by name, excludes their use on “multi-use” trails, with a definition that is inconsistent with the Urban Trail descriptions. There is no definition of “system trails”, typically thought of as more narrow, soft surface walking/hiking trails in places like Palmer Park, Pulpit rock, etc.
TOSC Bikeway Map
This document was first produced by TOSC as a map showing where EBikes are allowed on Colorado Springs Trails. The map has since been change to the Urban Trail Map but is currently the clearest understanding that we have of where EBikes are currently allowed in Colorado Springs.