E-Bikes and E-Scooters in Colorado Springs
In the first quarter of 2021 the Colorado Springs Parks Department announced increased E-Bike access on City Trails and COS City Council approved expanded access for E-Bikes and E-Scooters throughout Colorado Springs
E-Bikes on Trails
Urban Trails (Tier 1/2) – Class I only
El Paso County Parks Urban Trails (Tier 1/2) – Class I and Class II are permitted
COS Parks Single Track Trails – E-Bikes are not currently permitted on soft surface single track trails
Proposed Pilot Program (Currently Delayed)
All Trails – Class I permitted on all trails including single track
Urban Trails (Tier 1/2) – Class I and II E-Bikes permitted
Trail speed limit – 15MPH
On-Street E-Bike & E-Mobility Vehicles
E-Bikes are allowed in Bike Lanes – Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 E-Bikes are allowed to use on-street bicycle infrastructure
E-Scooters allowed in Bike Lanes – Low powered Electric scooters, with or without handlebars (20mph max) are allowed to use on-street bicycle infrastructure
Read below for the official City of Colorado Springs Vehicle Definitions
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.
Official Colorado Springs E-Bikes, E-Scooter, and EPAMD Definitions
Below are the official vehicle definitions as outlined in the February 2021 revision of the Colorado Springs Traffic Code
BICYCLE: A vehicle propelled by human power applied to pedals upon which a person may ride having two tandem wheels or two parallel wheels and one forward wheel, all of which are more than fourteen inches in diameter.
ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: A vehicle having two or three wheels, fully operable pedals, and an electric motor not exceeding seven hundred fifty watts of power. Electrical assisted bicycles are further required to conform to one of three classes as follows:
- CLASS 1 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: An electrical assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.
- CLASS 2 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: An electrical assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling but ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty miles per hour.
- CLASS 3 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLE: An electrical assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of twenty-eight miles per hour.
ELECTRIC PERSONAL ASSISTIVE MOBILITY DEVICE or EPAMD: A self-balancing, nontandem two-wheeled device, designed to transport only one person that is powered solely by an electric propulsion system producing an average power output of no more than seven hundred fifty watts.
ELECTRIC SCOOTER: A device:
- Weighing less than one hundred pounds;
- With or without handlebars;
- That is powered by an electric motor; and
- That has a maximum speed of twenty miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by the electric motor.
“Electric scooter” does not include an electrical assisted bicycle, EPAMD, motorcycle, or low-power scooter.
Please be aware, if your vehicle does not fall within the guidelines above it is not classified as a Scooter, E-Bike, or EPAMD below are definitions of other vehicle types covering addition electrically powered vehicles.
LOW-POWER SCOOTER: A self-propelled vehicle designed primarily for use on the roadways with not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, no manual clutch, and either of the following:
- A cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters if powered by internal combustion; or
- A wattage not exceeding four thousand four hundred seventy-six if powered by electricity.
“Low-power scooter” does not include a toy vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, wheelchair, or any device designed to assist people with mobility impairments who use pedestrian rights-of-way.
LOW-SPEED ELECTRIC VEHICLE: vehicle that:
- Is self-propelled utilizing electricity as its primary propulsion method; B. Has at least three wheels in contact with the ground;
- Does not use handlebars to steer; and
- Exhibits the manufacturer’s compliance with 49 CFR 565 or displays a seventeen character vehicle identification number as provided in 49 CFR 565.
TOY VEHICLE: Any vehicle that has wheels and is not designed for use on public highways or for offroad use. “Toy vehicle” includes, but is not limited to, gas-powered or electric powered vehicles commonly known as mini bikes, “pocket” bikes, kamikaze boards, go peds, and stand-up scooters. “Toy vehicle” does not include electric scooters, off highway vehicles or snowmobiles.
Below is the updated Colorado Springs city code related to the use of bike lanes
10.2.104: BICYCLE LANES:
The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to bicycles, and/or electrical assisted bicycles, and/or electric scooters, and/or low-power scooters, and/or EPAMDs and other authorized users of bicycle lanes and, in a bicycle lane and/or protected bicycle lane.
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.
State & County EBike Reference information
Colorado State EBike Law
Enacted in January of 2018 the State of Colorado adopted regulations defining ebikes and where they are allowed. While the state defined these rules EBike regulations are ultimately controlled by local jurisdictions.
Unless otherwise restricted, Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles, and scooters are allowed on the same bicycle and pedestrian paths as conventional bicycles.
Local jurisdictions have the authority to prohibit the operation of electric bicycles and scooters on any bicycle or pedestrian path under its jurisdiction.
Local laws pertaining to electric scooters must be no more restrictive than those pertaining to class 1 electric bicycles.
El Paso County Parks EBike Regulations
EBikes are allowed on primary and secondary trails within the El Paso County park and trail network.
El Paso County EBike Regulation Text
Class I and Class II Electrical Assisted Bicycles may use El Paso County Parks Primary and Secondary trails up to a maximum speed of
twenty miles per hour. Class III Electrical Assisted Bicycles are not permitted on any County trail.
Colorado State Parks EBike Regulations
E-bike use on CPW Lands – Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed the same access as road bikes and mountain bikes, while class 3 e-bikes are only to be allowed on roadways and in designated bike lanes.
BLM/National Forest EBike Regulations
In August 2019, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt issued Secretary’s Order increasing recreational opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes (e-bikes). While the BLM intends for the rule to increase accessibility to public lands, e-bikes would not be given special access beyond what traditional, non-motorized bicycles are allowed.
The rule provides that authorized officers may authorize, through subsequent land-use planning or implementation-level decisions, the use of Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes on non-motorized roads and trails. The rule does not, by itself, open any non-motorized trails to e-bike use.