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Class 1 electric-assist bicycles will be permitted on the Summit County Recreational Pathway System
Contact: Michael Wurzel, Resource Specialist, Summit County Open Space & Trails: 970-668-4204
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Board of Commissioners voted to allow Class 1 electric-assisted bicycles (e-bikes) on the Summit County Recreational Pathway System in unincorporated Summit County, following an extensive public input process and U.S. Forest Service review.
A Class 1 e-bike is equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. It ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph.
Class 2, Class 3 and unclassified electric bicycles are not permitted on the Recpath. Class 2 e-bikes are equipped with an electric motor and throttle that can provide assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling; the motor ceases at 20 mph. Class 3 e-bikes provide electrical power when the rider is pedaling, up to 28 mph.
"Electric bicycles and their fans have been growing in number, so we had to figure out what makes the most sense for our community," County Commissioner Thomas Davidson said. "We feel that allowing Class 1 e-bikes strikes the right balance between letting people enjoy the pathway with a little extra help, while still maintaining the non-motorized character of the system."
A new Colorado law took effect Aug. 9, 2017, authorizing the operation of e-bikes on bicycle or pedestrian paths where bicycles are authorized to travel. However, the law also stipulates that local authorities can regulate the use of e-bikes in their own jurisdictions. In Summit County, e-bikes were prohibited on the Recpath, except for use by persons with disabilities, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Summit County gathered input from the general public and collaborated with local towns and the U.S. Forest Service to review potential impacts and develop consensus on policy options.
“This was a very collaborative process among all the jurisdictions,” said Michael Wurzel of Summit County Open Space & Trails. “It was really important to us all to maintain a seamless experience across the county; we didn't want a confusing hodgepodge of different regulations.”
The Summit County Recreational Pathway System, commonly known as the Recpath, is an extensive network of paved pathways managed for multiple uses. User groups on the Recpath include dog walkers, runners, families with strollers, recreational cyclists, professional riders training for races, skateboarders, bicycle commuters and others. The Recpath comprises more than 50 miles of paved pathway, maintained by the various jurisdictions through which it passes.
For more information on e-bike regulations and the public comment process, visit www.SummitCountyCO.gov/ebikes.