Based on several factors including 2017 research, existing resource impact research, state laws, and enforceability, Jeffco Open Space is piloting a program that allows electric bicycles (e-bikes) on Jeffco Open Space managed trails.
An e-bike is a bicycle equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor not exceeding 750 watts. A Class 1 e-bike is a low-speed, pedal-assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that activates only when the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour.A Class 2 e-bike is a low-speed, throttle-assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour.Adopting this pilot approach is in line with Colorado state regulations, which currently allow Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails. In April, 2017 Colorado state legislators passed HB 17-1151, which defined three different classes of e-bikes, required manufacturers to label e-bikes by class, defined e-bikes as non-motorized vehicles, and allowed the use of Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on bike or pedestrian paths where bicycles are allowed to travel. This bill gives local land management agencies the ability to determine e-bike use on trails under their jurisdiction.Allowing Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on paved trails is also in line with Jefferson County Traffic and Engineering regional bikeway plans.“The Jefferson County Transportation & Engineering Division recommends using the current state legislation for the use of e-Bikes in Jefferson County right of way and county-managed paved trails and paths,” stated Jefferson County Director of Transportation and Engineering, Steve Durian. “Creating new regulations specific to Jefferson County that are different from those throughout the rest the state would create a confusion for cyclists using e-bikes to know and understand jurisdictional boundaries. E-bikes continue to grow in popularity and are becoming an effective way to encourage travelers to use bikes as an alternative to automobiles resulting in decreased traffic congestion and improved air quality.” During the pilot year, Jeffco Open Space will gather and log feedback specific to e-bikes as well as monitor for trail damage that could be attributed to e-bikes. This year-long trial will allow staff to re-assess official e-bike policy at the end of the 2018 pilot.Learn More About e-Bikes in Jeffco Open Space ParksJeffco Open Space was founded as a land conservation organization in 1972. Our mission is to preserve open space and parkland, protect park and natural resources, and provide healthy, nature-based experiences. Funded with a one-half of one percent sales tax, our organization contributes to city and park district projects, has preserved more than 54,000 acres, and manages 28 open space parks and more than 236 miles of trails in Jefferson County, Colorado.