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As e-biking accelerates, Palo Alto eyes new restrictions in nature preserves

City officials consider 'emergency ordinance' to update rules, ban riding on unpaved trails in open space areas

A cyclist rides by the ranger station in the Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto on May 13, 2020. While the city allows bicycling in the Baylands, it is considering new rules that would prohibit e-bikes on unpaved trails in the nature preserve. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Palo Alto's elected leaders and bicyclists have many reasons to love electric bikes, which they see as a healthy alternative to driving and provide a lifeline for aging riders who struggle to keep up with speedier companions.

Robert Neff, an avid bicyclist who serves on the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said he has seen the trend accelerate in recent years, as stores specializing in e-bikes have opened in Palo Alto and Menlo Park and as more people have started to rely on these vehicles to commute to work or for recreation.

"People who used to routinely ride bikes up into the hills and who are now feeling slower ... they're getting e-bikes so they can go with younger people up into the hills," Neff said in an interview.

But as the trend picks up speed, city officials are struggling to keep up with the changing legal landscape surrounding e-bikes. California law, which traditionally treated e-bikes as "motorized vehicles," no longer does so in most cases. As a result, open space trails that have historically banned all motorized vehicles now must make an exception for e-bikes, a shift that has created confusion for the city's open space rangers.

Daren Anderson, assistant director in the city's Community Services Department, acknowledged during a public hearing on e-bikes that until recently, rangers have been telling riders whom they encounter in open space preserves: "Sorry, the e-bikes are not allowed in these areas."

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"Now, they are allowed in Arastradero, Esther Clark Park and the Baylands," Anderson said during the Nov. 22 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission. "Next time we see one, of course we are not going to tell them they can't be there. They are welcome to be there at this point."

At the same time, Anderson said, open space rangers feel that as e-bikes become more entrenched and bikers develop regular routes, the activity may disrupt sensitive habitat. Many of the trails that go through areas that contain endangered species are very roadlike, he noted.

And with some environmentalists growing increasingly concerned about the e-bikers intruding into sensitive areas, Palo Alto is preparing to adopt new rules that would prohibit all classes of e-bikes at unpaved roads in the Baylands and in open space areas such the Arastradero Preserve.

A bicyclist rides on the trails during sunset at Arastradero Preserve. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

The proposed prohibition, which last week earned the commission's endorsement, has sparked a debate between bicyclists and conservationists. Bicyclists like Neff and other members of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission believe that a ban on e-bikes on all unpaved trails is an overreach. Some note that Baylands trails, which attract bike commuters and bird watchers alike, should be treated differently from the hilly, windy paths in Arastradero where a speeding bicyclist may prove to be more disruptive to hikers and animals.

Rather than ban e-bikes on unpaved Baylands trails, the city should focus on education, encouragement and, if needed, enforcement to make sure riders behave in a safe and courteous manner, said Penny Ellson, who chairs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. She was one of numerous residents who urged the commission at the Nov. 22 meeting to treat the Baylands differently from the other open spaces.

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"Palo Alto bay trails connect to trails in neighboring communities that do allow e-bikes," Ellson said. "Many of the unpaved bay trails are wide enough to carry trucks and can easily be considered roads. Because of these facts I think it would be really difficult to recommend a prohibition on e-bikes on Bay trails."

That argument failed to sway people like Rani Fischer, environmental advocacy assistant with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. E-bikes, she argued, increase environmental harm in ways that humans may not be able to perceive. Unpaved trails, she said, should be used to encourage ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.

"E-bikes erect a wall of sound along trails in the preserve, which create obstacles to animal connectivity, reproduction and safety," Fischer said. "We live in times when biodiversity is threatened as it has not been in 65 million years."

For Palo Alto, the decision on whether to allow e-bikes in open space preserves comes with a sense of urgency. In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1909, legislation by Assembly member Laura Friedman that aims to promote bicycling by, among other areas, loosening state laws around e-bicycles. One of the bill's provisions pertains to Class 3 e-bikes, which can reach maximum speeds of 28 mph (the less powerful Class 1 and Class 2 varieties top off at 20 mph, according to the bill's legislative analysis). Under the new law, these bikes will no longer be banned on trails, bike paths, equestrian trails and hiking trails. Unless, that is, a local jurisdiction opts to ban them.

Anderson suggested doing just that. With the bill set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, he and members of the Parks and Recreation Commission agreed that prohibiting electric bicycles of all classes on unpaved roads would be prudent in the near term. Anderson emphasized though that as technology and laws continue to develop, the city will have to reconsider and potentially change its rules on an ongoing basis.

"This is an evolving policy because it's an evolving sport and recreation activity," Anderson said.

The Parks and Recreation Commission agreed, though members expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm. Commissioner Shani Kleinhaus strongly supported the prohibition and noted that the Baylands is home to some of Palo Alto's most endangered species (the salt marsh harvest mouse and the clapper rail are among them).

"It's probably because most communities around the Bay don't have Baylands like ours," Kleinhaus said, alluding to the higher level of development on the bay side in neighboring jurisdictions. "We have something very special and we need to keep that and not go to lowest common denominator, which is all of our neighbors."

A biker rides on at path at the Ravenswood Preserve in the Baylands. Embarcadero Media file photo by Magali Gauthier.

Chair Jeff Greenfield, who served on an ad hoc committee that worked on the new policy, suggested that imposing the ban would give the city time to develop a more thoughtful policy on e-bikes. The committee considered whether to differentiate between different types of e-bikes and ultimately decided not to, citing the difficulty of telling them apart. The policy that the commission recommended would ban Class 3 e-bikes (which presently are not allowed on trails) as well as Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes (which are allowed) on unpaved trails in open space preserves.

Rules would be looser at local parks, where e-bikes would be allowed on both paved and unpaved roads under the new policy. The speed limit for e-bikes would be 15 mph and riders would be required to reduce their speeds to 5 mph when passing others or approaching blind turns.

"If we are to move forward to opening unpaved trails and unpaved space to e-bikes, we have some work to do," Greenfield said. "I think there's viable consideration and I think all the open space areas do not need to be considered the same. But we need improved signage, we need an opportunity for education. We need to give staff time to get things set up."

Others were less enthusiastic about adding e-bike restrictions. Commissioner Amanda Brown said she was disappointed that the city's consideration of an e-bike policy does not really take into consideration regional plans for transportation networks. And Vice Chair Jeff LaMere said that he would like the city to reconsider in the near future its policy for riding e-bicycles in the Baylands, particularly if they're bicycles of the less powerful variety.

"I do think if we allow regular bicycles in the Baylands, to allow a Class 1 pedal-assist (bicycle) is something that's reasonable to provide access to older riders who want to experience what other bicycle riders experience at the Baylands," LaMere said.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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As e-biking accelerates, Palo Alto eyes new restrictions in nature preserves

City officials consider 'emergency ordinance' to update rules, ban riding on unpaved trails in open space areas

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Nov 30, 2022, 9:46 am

Palo Alto's elected leaders and bicyclists have many reasons to love electric bikes, which they see as a healthy alternative to driving and provide a lifeline for aging riders who struggle to keep up with speedier companions.

Robert Neff, an avid bicyclist who serves on the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said he has seen the trend accelerate in recent years, as stores specializing in e-bikes have opened in Palo Alto and Menlo Park and as more people have started to rely on these vehicles to commute to work or for recreation.

"People who used to routinely ride bikes up into the hills and who are now feeling slower ... they're getting e-bikes so they can go with younger people up into the hills," Neff said in an interview.

But as the trend picks up speed, city officials are struggling to keep up with the changing legal landscape surrounding e-bikes. California law, which traditionally treated e-bikes as "motorized vehicles," no longer does so in most cases. As a result, open space trails that have historically banned all motorized vehicles now must make an exception for e-bikes, a shift that has created confusion for the city's open space rangers.

Daren Anderson, assistant director in the city's Community Services Department, acknowledged during a public hearing on e-bikes that until recently, rangers have been telling riders whom they encounter in open space preserves: "Sorry, the e-bikes are not allowed in these areas."

"Now, they are allowed in Arastradero, Esther Clark Park and the Baylands," Anderson said during the Nov. 22 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission. "Next time we see one, of course we are not going to tell them they can't be there. They are welcome to be there at this point."

At the same time, Anderson said, open space rangers feel that as e-bikes become more entrenched and bikers develop regular routes, the activity may disrupt sensitive habitat. Many of the trails that go through areas that contain endangered species are very roadlike, he noted.

And with some environmentalists growing increasingly concerned about the e-bikers intruding into sensitive areas, Palo Alto is preparing to adopt new rules that would prohibit all classes of e-bikes at unpaved roads in the Baylands and in open space areas such the Arastradero Preserve.

The proposed prohibition, which last week earned the commission's endorsement, has sparked a debate between bicyclists and conservationists. Bicyclists like Neff and other members of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission believe that a ban on e-bikes on all unpaved trails is an overreach. Some note that Baylands trails, which attract bike commuters and bird watchers alike, should be treated differently from the hilly, windy paths in Arastradero where a speeding bicyclist may prove to be more disruptive to hikers and animals.

Rather than ban e-bikes on unpaved Baylands trails, the city should focus on education, encouragement and, if needed, enforcement to make sure riders behave in a safe and courteous manner, said Penny Ellson, who chairs the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. She was one of numerous residents who urged the commission at the Nov. 22 meeting to treat the Baylands differently from the other open spaces.

"Palo Alto bay trails connect to trails in neighboring communities that do allow e-bikes," Ellson said. "Many of the unpaved bay trails are wide enough to carry trucks and can easily be considered roads. Because of these facts I think it would be really difficult to recommend a prohibition on e-bikes on Bay trails."

That argument failed to sway people like Rani Fischer, environmental advocacy assistant with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. E-bikes, she argued, increase environmental harm in ways that humans may not be able to perceive. Unpaved trails, she said, should be used to encourage ecologically sensitive public enjoyment and education.

"E-bikes erect a wall of sound along trails in the preserve, which create obstacles to animal connectivity, reproduction and safety," Fischer said. "We live in times when biodiversity is threatened as it has not been in 65 million years."

For Palo Alto, the decision on whether to allow e-bikes in open space preserves comes with a sense of urgency. In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1909, legislation by Assembly member Laura Friedman that aims to promote bicycling by, among other areas, loosening state laws around e-bicycles. One of the bill's provisions pertains to Class 3 e-bikes, which can reach maximum speeds of 28 mph (the less powerful Class 1 and Class 2 varieties top off at 20 mph, according to the bill's legislative analysis). Under the new law, these bikes will no longer be banned on trails, bike paths, equestrian trails and hiking trails. Unless, that is, a local jurisdiction opts to ban them.

Anderson suggested doing just that. With the bill set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, he and members of the Parks and Recreation Commission agreed that prohibiting electric bicycles of all classes on unpaved roads would be prudent in the near term. Anderson emphasized though that as technology and laws continue to develop, the city will have to reconsider and potentially change its rules on an ongoing basis.

"This is an evolving policy because it's an evolving sport and recreation activity," Anderson said.

The Parks and Recreation Commission agreed, though members expressed varying degrees of enthusiasm. Commissioner Shani Kleinhaus strongly supported the prohibition and noted that the Baylands is home to some of Palo Alto's most endangered species (the salt marsh harvest mouse and the clapper rail are among them).

"It's probably because most communities around the Bay don't have Baylands like ours," Kleinhaus said, alluding to the higher level of development on the bay side in neighboring jurisdictions. "We have something very special and we need to keep that and not go to lowest common denominator, which is all of our neighbors."

Chair Jeff Greenfield, who served on an ad hoc committee that worked on the new policy, suggested that imposing the ban would give the city time to develop a more thoughtful policy on e-bikes. The committee considered whether to differentiate between different types of e-bikes and ultimately decided not to, citing the difficulty of telling them apart. The policy that the commission recommended would ban Class 3 e-bikes (which presently are not allowed on trails) as well as Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes (which are allowed) on unpaved trails in open space preserves.

Rules would be looser at local parks, where e-bikes would be allowed on both paved and unpaved roads under the new policy. The speed limit for e-bikes would be 15 mph and riders would be required to reduce their speeds to 5 mph when passing others or approaching blind turns.

"If we are to move forward to opening unpaved trails and unpaved space to e-bikes, we have some work to do," Greenfield said. "I think there's viable consideration and I think all the open space areas do not need to be considered the same. But we need improved signage, we need an opportunity for education. We need to give staff time to get things set up."

Others were less enthusiastic about adding e-bike restrictions. Commissioner Amanda Brown said she was disappointed that the city's consideration of an e-bike policy does not really take into consideration regional plans for transportation networks. And Vice Chair Jeff LaMere said that he would like the city to reconsider in the near future its policy for riding e-bicycles in the Baylands, particularly if they're bicycles of the less powerful variety.

"I do think if we allow regular bicycles in the Baylands, to allow a Class 1 pedal-assist (bicycle) is something that's reasonable to provide access to older riders who want to experience what other bicycle riders experience at the Baylands," LaMere said.

Comments

Barron Parker Too
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:34 am
Barron Parker Too, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:34 am

e-bikes are just bicycles with a power assist. They do not cause more disruption to our trails than un-powered bicycles. So restricting them from trails that allow bicycles should be done rarely and only for specific reasons that are clearly justifiable.

I believe Jeff LaMere said best what our intentions should be (and his comments should be meant for all trails on which bicycles are allowed, not just Baylands):

"I do think if we allow regular bicycles in the Baylands, to allow a Class 1 pedal-assist (bicycle) is something that's reasonable to provide access to older riders who want to experience what other bicycle riders experience at the Baylands."


James Thurber
Registered user
Mountain View
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:47 am
James Thurber, Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:47 am

The biggest issue is speed. Most European specs limit speed to about 20 mph, which is a workable speed on many trails. But in this country MOST of our e-bikes can go nearly 30 mph. For a vehicle that isn't licensed, insured or being driven / ridden by a person without a motorcycle driver's license, that's simply too fast.

I've been cycling since I was five (I turned 70 last April). It was over a decade ago that I gave away my car, not traveling exclusively by bicycle or public transit. And my bicycles are pedal powered. Although if I was riding with my sons, both of whom are avid cyclists, I'd probably consider an electric bike as they are much (much!) faster than I am.

But for 99 percent of my travels my regular bike works just fine and is eventually going to (might) put my cardiologist out of business!


Evergreen Park Observer
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:50 am
Evergreen Park Observer, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:50 am

Having been almost run over by bicyclists whizzing past while walking in the baylands and trying to enjoy the wonderful natural environment there, I personally would be happy with banning all bicycles -- electrically powered or not. Can't there be at least one place where pedestrians do not have to fear for their safety from bicyclists who often are not considerate? Many paths are just not that wide to accommodate two-way travel of both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Promoting bicycling as a substitution for driving a car is fine. Ride your bicycle to the baylands, park it, and walk around.


Green Gables
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:57 am
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 10:57 am

Why is it necessary to have an electric bike in the Baylands where it is flat and peaceful? Walking is good for all of us.


M
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:06 am
M, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:06 am

My frustration is that those regulating e-bikes seem to have little knowledge and no experience with them. As the European Union recognizes, the big difference in e-biles is whether the e-bike assist is activated by pushing on the pedals (the standard in Europe) or via a throttle (which is deemed an electric motorcycle in the EU.) Class differences do have some meaning as well, but they are more a marketing gimmick in the US than a meaningful differentiator, especially off a paved street.

The EU differentiation is quite easy to regulate, because it easy to see if a bike has a throttle or not. There is no way to just look at a bike and know what class it is.

I'm 67 and had to stop riding my road bike in the hills because of my knees. But, I can ride by e-bike up to Skyline, and I occasionally road on the fire roads as well. (Its rich to see rangers driving big rigs on those roads telling bikers that they disturb animals and vegetation, not to mention the fact that horses and dogs seem welcome -- and the among of manure and number of dog bags on the trails at Arastradero is ridiculous.

I've stopped riding on the fire roads when the signs went up ,but it seems wrong headed to encourage people to put regular bikes on their SUV, drive up to Russian Ridge or Arastradero and then ride on the fire roads or paths, rather than e-bike up and ride without taking a car.

I would recommend that the regulators ignore the Class -- its meaningless -- focus on whether the bike is a pedal assist "pedelec" or a throttle controlled electric motorcycle, and most of all, consider different rules for those 65 and older.



DTN Paul
Registered user
Downtown North
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:11 am
DTN Paul, Downtown North
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:11 am

Is there any actual evidence that ebikes do anything bad?

Consider this quote: "E-bikes erect a wall of sound along trails in the preserve, which create obstacles to animal connectivity, reproduction and safety. We live in times when biodiversity is threatened as it has not been in 65 million years." Huh? And ebikes do what to threaten these things? Is it noise? Really?

If we're going to ban things some people have irrational and unexplained fear of so we can give "give the city time to develop a more thoughtful policy", then I propose also ban people with tight pants or who wear too much perfume / cologne. I'm pretty sure that those are harmful to the salt marsh harvest mouse and the clapper rail, though in ways that humans cannot measure.


No heat
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:24 am
No heat, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:24 am

DTN Paul: the issue isn't that the bike does anything bad, but that it results in more people in places where they otherwise wouldn't get to. Riding a bicycle uphill in Arastradero is tough, which limits how many people do it. An ebike, not so much.


TR
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:50 am
TR, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 11:50 am

This is PRECISELY the kind of decision that should NOT be done as an emergency regulation. This is not an emergency but an evolving situation that should be considered.

1) The claims of those trying to ban ebikes are not based in facts. There is no mention of the different types of ebikes. Electric assist vs throttle controlled are very different things for example and there is no differentiation made here. Additionally the claims that ebikes cause noise problems for wildlife also lacks evidence. I dare most people to differentiate the noise of an ebike from an 'acoustic' (term of art in the community) bike riding down a gravel path. And either is quieter than humans talking to each other while walking. Yes there is a tiny bit of motor noise but it is not louder than many other things. If the habitat is THAT sensitive then perhaps the trail shouldn't exist at all for any users.

2) Operating speed is the issue. But guess what, we already have regulations about that. Speeds on these trails are already regulated to 15mph or less which is reasonable for a mixed use trail/gravel road. Educate and enforce the EXISTING rules rather than add even more limitations to our world.

3) As others have mentioned, in the Baylands, most of the 'trails' we are talking about are nearly equivalent to unpaved (or poorly paved) roadways. They are not pristine nature. In addition they are used as safe routes around the area. Much better to come up from Moffett to East Palo Alto in the Baylands trails than along the busy frontage roads etc.

In the end there is zero reason to ban an electric ASSIST ebike from anywhere that bikes are already allowed. Focus on what the real issues are and address them. If people are going too fast, slow them down through better signage, education and enforcement. If they are riding off trail, education and enforcement will work there too.

BTW, I do not own an ebike. I ride with my legs through these areas all the time. Next will it be me to be banned?


Deborah
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:14 pm
Deborah, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:14 pm

My frustration with all ebike discussions and laws are that nobody seems to understand that there is a huge difference between class 1, which is electric assist only, and classes 2 and 3, which have throttles. Class 1 is a bike. Classes 2 and 3 are motorized vehicles. Also, class 2 and 3 are easy to hack, bringing top speed up to 56mph (for class 3). THAT is why ebikes are now being perceived as a hazard.

As for ebikes on unpaved trails in preserves, if the trail is a necessary travel route, then ebikes should be allowed. But if it is just pleasure, like Arastradero, no ebikes. Nature has nothing to do with it. They ruin the experience for everyone else. Lord knows the mountain bikes are bad enough.

I own two ebikes and use them all the time.


dollarbin
Registered user
Mountain View
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:24 pm
dollarbin, Mountain View
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 1:24 pm

The segment of paved trail running from the Adobe Creek Bridge through to the San Francisquito Creek Bridge is extremely important for commuting access to the Dumbarton Bridge. I hope they preserve eBike access on this trail, much like the Midpeninsula Open Space did for the Ravenswood Trail. Furthermore, I'm not sure why there should be a restriction against type 3 bikes if there's a speed restriction of 15 MPH in place anyway, the distinction between the two types is well above this speed limit.


A resident of Barron Park
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:18 pm
A resident of Barron Park, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:18 pm

I regularly walk in the baylands and there has been a steady increase of e-bikes of varying types. I am not familiar with the classification system, but I encountered several that were clearly throttled and very noisy - completely inappropriate for the sensitive bird and small animal population inhabiting the area, and ruining the outing for everyone around. Moreover, quite a few of these e-bikes were driven by children or teens, posing a safety issue for both them and the pedestrians and bike riders.
There is no real need for e-bikes in the flat bayland trails. For more hilly areas, the risk to both the riders, and others sharing these narrow steep trails, rises significantly with motorized bikes.
I support the restrictions
I support adding restrictions, such as banning throttled e-bikes and restricting speed limits. Also there should be an age restriction.


BGordon
Registered user
Midtown
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:21 pm
BGordon, Midtown
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:21 pm

When considering regulations, should weight be considered? Some ebikes are really heavy.


Hulkamania
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 2:40 pm

I'd rather have that dry heaves than ride an e-bike.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:20 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 5:20 pm

Bike speed limits in parks would make sense to me. The speed some bikes go either by human pedal power or by electric motors, makes them very dangerous, particularly if you are walking with young children or have young children on tricycles or scooters.

Even in Mitchell Park, school children riding to and from school, can ride very quickly and this can be the case near some of the playground areas where toddlers are playing and can be very unpredictable if they get frightened by big kids on bikes, or want to run back to the stroller for a snack.

Bikes are moving vehicles. They are not play things. They can be dangerous, most have no bells and shouting anything can't really be heard above the other noises in the park.


JR
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Nov 30, 2022 at 8:01 pm
JR, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Nov 30, 2022 at 8:01 pm

E-bike is a misnomer, these vehicles are actually e-motorcycles and should not be allowed on bike paths, bike lanes, or anywhere motorcycles are prohibited. Scofflaws riding these e-motorcycles are creating havoc for bikers and creating unsafe conditions for all road users.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Dec 1, 2022 at 7:57 am
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Dec 1, 2022 at 7:57 am

I'm a trail runner, and bicycles of any sort degrade the trails for runners and hikers (although horses can, too, if it's muddy). So if the ease of tackling hills with an e-bike attracts more users and therefore more trail damage, that needs to be taken into consideration, too. But luckily, bikes of any sort aren't allowed at many OSPs, so it's not a huge problem.


staying home
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Dec 1, 2022 at 10:30 am
staying home, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Dec 1, 2022 at 10:30 am

This is dumb. We should be encouraging bike use not discouraging it. If e-bikes get people outta cars and outside, then let's support it. Restricting use in open spaces is needless regulation that will discourage bike adoption.

Take the opposite view: If there is a ban on e-bikes from unpaved trails, can there be a corresponding ban of pedestrians from the paved trails? Try riding your bike to shoreline on a sunny day. Pedestrians are all over the road, talking on phones, kids running everywhere. The path is paved, an obvious design to support higher speed transport. Ridiculous, right?

People on e-bikes are not going to be going the max speed. The conditions of the road still dictate how fast you can travel.


Eeyore
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 4, 2022 at 1:35 pm
Eeyore, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Dec 4, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Bicycles should only be allowed on paved trails. One only has to walk Arastradero, Los Trancos, or any other steep preserve to see the damage caused by bicycles to public trails.


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