E-bike program puts new users on busy trails but let’s make it work
The Park Record editorial, July 22-25, 2017
July 21, 2017
There were a lot of smiles at Wednesday's launch of Park City and Summit County's electric bike share program that makes available 88 bikes docked at nine stations located in Kimball Junction, Canyons Village and Park City. According to the Summit Bike Share app, as of Friday afternoon, 130 riders had already logged 399 miles — and during the extended Pioneer Day weekend that number was expected to mushroom.
The program is being touted as both a transportation alternative and a recreation amenity. But, while electric bikes have already begun offering residents and visitors a healthy way to recreate without adding to the community's carbon emissions, they are unlikely to significantly reduce summer traffic congestion.
And there are some safety concerns. E-bikes add one more moving piece to the puzzle of potentially conflicting uses on local trails. While the bikes are restricted to paved trails and their speed is limited to about 14 miles per hour, they could wreak havoc among the multitudes of hikers, dog walkers, skateboarders, roller bladers and cyclists already elbowing each other on the more popular local trails.
But, as long as trail lovers all exercise a bit of civility (along with their muscles), the e-bike program has the potential to add one more gold star to Park City's glittering reputation as a forward thinking, fun summer destination.
For those considering a trial ride, log on to summitbikeshare.com to locate the nearest e-bike station and take a close look at the guidelines and safe riding tips. The bikes are not for kids under the age of 18 and since the bikes don't come with helmets, riders should plan to provide their own.
The bikes are equipped with flashing lights for night-time riding, but riders should also wear bright colors to optimize day and night visibility.
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It is also crucial for cyclists – using both both human- and electricity –powered bikes — to heed regular traffic rules, including stop signs, traffic lights right of way and turning lane indicators.
Also, the program's electric bikes are not intended for use on Park City's unpaved mountain bike or hiking trails. Their use on those trails could be dangerous both to the rider and other users.
The success of Park City and Summit County's e-bike program will be as dependent on the equipment as on those who use it. Launching just a few days ahead of one of the busiest weekends of the summer may be a daunting challenge but with common sense and courtesy, it could also prove to be a successful showcase.
For more information: http://www.summitbikeshare.com
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