Colorado Springs Backpedals on E-Bike Pilot Program

Colorado Springs quietly unannounced their decision to allow class 1 e-bikes on natural trails via their website recently.

Back in March, we interviewed the Colorado Springs, Colorado Parks and Rec department about their new speed limit for bikes, that was announced in conjunction with their e-bike pilot program. The pilot was set to start at the end of May, but the city quietly unannounced their decision to allow class 1 e-bikes on natural trails via their website.

“We’re at a point, now, where we’re ready to test what expanded e-bike access looks like in our community,” said Scott Abbott, regional parks manager in a press release in March. “During the year-long pilot program, which is a result of listening to the community and extensive research, we will evaluate usage and how it impacts the trail system and the overall user experience. We want to make sure the new policy is working and is the right decision for our community.”

The details of the cancellation are scant, with the website now stating: “The proposed start date of May 31, 2021 has been postponed until further notice.” We reached out to the Parks and Rec department but did not hear back.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the problem seems to come from legal complications and how the city is interpreting the use of motorized bikes on non-motorized trails. Colorado Springs is reviewing language which determines what is motorized and what isn’t, at least in the application of natural surface trails, where e-bikes have been previously defined regarding roadway use.

Many land management agencies seem to still be struggling with this, since technically e-bikes do have a motor, but class 1 e-bikes rely on human input, unlike a motorcycle.

“This has been a very fluid process,” Kurt Schroeder, COS Parks and Development Manager told the Gazette, “and it will continue to be, quite honestly.”