City implements e-bike rules under pilot program
An eight-month electric bicycle "pilot project" was unanimously approved by the Park City Council on Thursday, April 16.
Electric bicycles, commonly referred to as "e-bikes," are a kind of moped-bicycle hybrid. They have pedals which can power the e-bikes like regular bicycles, but they also have small motors that can supplement the pedaling power, or even replace it entirely. They have been growing in popularity both around the country and locally in recent years and the city has been studying them since at least October 2013, when it commissioned a study by a traffic engineering and transportation planning firm.
Those findings were presented to City Council last May, when various stakeholders such as the ski resorts, the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District and Mountain Trails Foundation supported the use of e-bikes on multi-use trails, but not single-track ones.
The new e-bike ordinance will allow e-bikes only on certain "multi-use pathways" (see below). They will not be permitted on any "natural surface trails" during the pilot project, including all single-track trails.
"Signage will be the major infrastructure component of the project," according to city staff. Signs will be posted that let riders know whether e-bikes are permitted or not. These signs will be located at trail heads and "throughout the natural surface trail system."
The city also intends to post speed-limit signs for e-bike use. The speed limit will be 14.5 miles per hour, lower than the proposed limit of 20 mph that was proposed by city staffers last May.
Utah defines an "electric assisted bicycle" as having a motor less than 1,000 watts and a maximum speed of 20 mph on level ground, when solely powered by the motor. It requires a driver’s license to operate one. Local municipalities are permitted to enact further regulations.
The staff report prepared for City Council describes the state laws as "at minimum incredibly confusing" in their classification of e-bikes, and advocates for their revision to be more clear. The new ordinance defines e-bikes as being "a moped with a power output of not more than 750 watts."
The city plans on collecting data on e-bike use in the city throughout the pilot program, including visual counts, speed data, collisions and near-collisions and "reported and observed unsafe behavior."
The e-bike pilot program will sunset on Dec. 31, 2015. It is modeled on a similar pilot program recently enacted in Boulder, Colorado.
E-BIKES ON MULTI-USE PATHWAYS IN PARK CITY
- Deer Valley Loop (Lower Deer Valley)
- Poison Creek Pathway (Old Town/City Park)
- McLeod Creek Pathway (Park Ave./SR-224 – east side)
- Holiday Ranch Loop (Park Meadows)
- Farm Trail (Park Ave./Thaynes)
- Kearns Pathway – south (Kearns Blvd/High School)
- Kearns Pathway – north (Kearns Blvd./Prospector)
- Rail Trail – first 1000′ off Bonanza (Bonanza Dr.)
- Comstock Pathway (Comstock Dr./Prospector)
- North 40 Pathway (Middle School Fields/Park Meadows)
- Fairway Hills Pathway (Park Meadows/Lucky John Dr.)
- Silver Quinn (Round Valley)
- Quinn’s Connector (Quinn’s Recreation Complex)
- Farm Trails (SR-224 around McPolin Barn)
- Rail Trail – east (Prospector/SR-248, per State Parks policy)
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