Electric Motorized Bike (E-Bike) Study Results Update (5/24/21)


E-bike access on trails expands in Larimer County to include individuals with mobility disability

Thank you to the over 1,200 citizens who participated in providing input towards our assessment of expanding e-bikes on soft-surface trails in Larimer County.  

Beginning July 1, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR) will expand access for individuals with a mobility disability to use e-bikes as an “other powered mobility device.” The expansion allows individuals with a mobility disability to access all LCDNR’s paved and natural surface trails where bikes are allowed.

We will continue to allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on all paved surface trails and will continue the existing regulation to prohibit e-bikes (except by those individuals with a mobility disability) and other motorized devices on natural surface trails managed by LCDNR .

Our Research:

  • Two collections of public input over three years, nearly 2,000 responses (2018 & 2020)
  • Statistically valid survey in conjunction with e-bike study at Devil’s Backbone Open space (2020)
  • Ranger safety reports and trail cam data
  • E-bike study participant rider logs
  • Informal stakeholder meetings and discussions
  • Advisory Board consultations

Findings:

  • 64% of community respondents opposed allowing e-bikes on natural surface trails
  • 36% of respondents in support   primarily noted their reasoning as to provide access for individuals with disabilities or chronic health constraints.

More info:
Results and Summary Memo

 


Overview of Study

Larimer County Department of Natural Resources is implemented an electric motorized bike study on designated natural surface (soft) trails at Devil’s Backbone Open Space beginning July 15, 2020. Special permits were required for riders to participate. 

Class I, two-wheel electric motorized bikes were allowed, defined as an assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides help only when the rider is pedaling and ceases to provide assistance at 20 mph.  The active study period duration was July 15, 2020-February 15, 2021.

The study period allowed electric motorized bikes at Devil’s Backbone Open Space on the following designated natural surface trails only: Hidden Valley, Laughing Horse Loop, Hunter Loop, Blue Sky and Indian Summer. The designated trails combined to offer up approximately 12 total miles. See Study Map.

No other natural surface trails in Larimer County were part of the study, nor were any of Fort Collins or Loveland trail system (Horsetooth Mountain Open Space/Coyote Ridge/Prairie Ridge). The electric motorized bike study provided an opportunity to collect data to assess safety, trail experience impacts, public opinion, and trail etiquette awareness as they relate to E-bike use on natural surface trails. Opportunities were available for the general public and riding community to submit input via website and social media platforms. 

The E-bike study did not guarantee, nor did it automatically allow electric motorized bikes on any or all natural surface trails in Larimer County following the study period. 

This study phase is helping to inform a potential comprehensive E-bike study and future system-wide travel planning efforts. Several factors have spurred the E-bike study in Larimer County including the growing demand in the market, increased recreational use on trails, emerging electric motorized vehicle technology, and greater accessibility to the outdoors for those needing assistance. 

Much research has been completed by municipal/regional partners for e-bikes on paved trails. This study was the first preliminary study done on soft-surface trails in Larimer County. 

FAQs

  1. Beginning July 1, Larimer County Natural Resources has expanded access for individuals with a mobility disability to use e-bikes as an “other powered mobility device” to access all LCDNR’s paved and natural surface trails where bikes are allowed.

  2. Larimer County Natural Resources will continue to allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on all paved surface trails managed by LCDNR and will continue the existing regulation to prohibit e-bikes and other motorized devices on natural surface   trails managed by LCDNR (except for those individuals with a mobility disability).

     

  3. No, we will not require a special permit.  It is expected that individuals have credible assurance of disability on their person while using e-bikes as other powered mobility devices on county natural surface trails.  Larimer County has the following in place to attain a disability placard:   https://www.larimer.org/clerk/vehiclelicensing/resources/disabled  

  4. The intent of our policy enhancement is to allow access on soft-surface trails to individuals who need mobility assistance due to disability. We are asking the community to honor this intent of inclusion and accessibility. Of the 36% of community respondents who support e-bikes on trails, a majority of those cited supporting the technology to assist individuals with disabilities.

  5. The Department of Justice defines credible assurance as a valid Disability Placard or Card that is presented by the person to whom it was issued and is in compliance with the state of issuance’s requirements for disability placards or cards, other state-issued proof of disability, or a verbal statement that does not contradict observation. 28 CFR § 35.137.   

Forestry

Larimer County E-Bike Contacts

Questions regarding the e-bike study, research, and findings:
Zac Wiebe, Planning and Natural Resource Specialist
(970) 219-3271; zwiebe@larimer.org

Questions regarding administration or enforcement:
Chris Fleming, Visitor Services Division Manager

(970) 214-6083; cfleming@larimer.org

General Questions:
Parks Customer Service, parksoffice@larimer.org