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E-bikes on city trails approved

 
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Feel free to take your fancy new e-bike for a spin on any of Grand Junction's paved and packed trails.

After nearly a year of consideration and input from trail groups, the Grand Junction City Council voted Wednesday night to allow electrical-assisted bicycles on the city's 21 miles of trails, including most of the Colorado Riverfront Trail. The ordinance passed 6-1 with Councilor Bennett Boeschenstein dissenting.

By definition, Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are not fully motorized and probably couldn't be distinguished from other bikes, said Rob Schoeber, Grand Junction Parks and Recreation director.

 

"I think some people have this vision that they look like a motorbike or a scooter," Schoeber said. "They come in a lot of different configurations."

As the city fine-tuned its ordinance, several communities around the state have changed their tune and now welcome e-bikes on their respective trails, Schoeber said. Additionally, state lawmakers last year approved legislation that removes Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes from the motorized vehicle classification.

Officials with the Colorado Riverfront Trail initially believed allowing e-bikes along the popular route would run afoul of rules that limited the route to non-motorized uses.

They worried the state granting agency Great Outdoors Colorado would consider e-bikes a motorized vehicle, and possibly not offer future grants for trail construction or attempt to claw back millions of dollars in grant money already spent on local trails.

GOCO officials subsequently said they wouldn't take a stance on e-bikes on GOCO-funded trails, leaving those decisions up to municipalities.

 

Councilors on Wednesday night said the assisted pedal power of e-bikes could help a greater segment of the population enjoy the city's trails.

Boeschenstein, who has been opposed to allowing e-bikes on city trails, said he is pleased the Audubon section of the Colorado Riverfront Trail is not included as part of the city's trail inventory.

Boeschenstein read a statement from the Grand Valley Audubon Society indicating its opposition to allowing e-bikes on their section of trail, located on the south side of the Colorado River below the Redlands.