York County,Pa. USA YCP Bans all ebikes on local rail trail

Shoestring reporting on some bad news. I spoke today with a high ranking official of York County Parks, the governing body of the Heritage Rail Trail County Park. Since I have been a park volunteer for about 10yrs, and a ride leader on the trail previously for 5 of those years, and a primary offender, I was called to be informed of a policy change banning all ebikes. The issue is one of liability with regard to speeding ebikes colliding with walkers, horses, other bikers etc. The decision has been made, I had no input or knowledge of this decision or any authority to affect this decision. Unfortunately, this decision puts me and my riding buddies out of business. We have all logged almost 10,000 miles riding this trail over the last 15 yrs, 3,000+ on ebikes. I might add we have not careened into other trail users up to this point. Warnings will start 5/14/2019, Fines will be enforced 5/21/2019. Trail signage will be posted ASAP. Trespassing fines range up to $800.00 but I do not have knowledge of exact anti ebike fines. Those in the mid atlantic region thinking about riding this "hall of fame'' rail trail should leave their ebike home!
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Sad news! Very sad :(

It would be interesting to know if there are actual documented incidents involving e-bikes or if this is the result of a push from some other group that is opposed to ebikes and ebike riders.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I've logged many, many miles on that trail by ebike in the last 5 years. I've met more than 15 ebikers on the trail and all were more than 50 years old. Riders out for a good time and not speeding. No accidents I'm aware of.

I've also volunteered to work on the trail over the years. They've lost some of their biggest proponents and supporters. This action by unelected beurocrats behind closed doors has hit us hard here.
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
Probably similar policy will hit all rail trails eventually. Isn't there the same liability issue with any bike hitting a pedestrian? I've seen my share of irresponsible riding from regular cyclists, in the presence of pedestrians including small children, on my local greenway.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
This is not good news. I've ridden the Heritage often in the past with my MTB and was planning a trip there with the ebike this season. Thanks for the warning.

What happens at the Maryland state line where the Heritage becomes the Torrey C Brown Trail? Are ebikes illegal there as well?
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
If they're going to post signs and issue fines, I would prefer they set a speed limit for ebikes and post that along with the amount of fine. We had that briefly (16 mph) for Chicago Forest Preserve trails. It was a hefty fine of several hundred dollars.

Ah, but what is a fair limit and if ebikes have one, then what about regular bikes. Too much thinking. Easier to ban all ebikes?

Does someone have enough details to start a (possibly meaningless) petititon on change.org?
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
Short of a court injunction, how do you change this stuff?
I don't really have an answer, but maybe working with the local tourist/travel businesses could help. It is obvious from this forum that many E-bike riders are part of the retired crowd. That population tends to have the financial resources, leisure time and desire to travel. If they avoid this trail because of the e-bike restrictions, it can't be good for the local tourist industry.
 

WalkinTarget

Active Member
SOOOO happy to have my hometown in the news here !! As this is my go-to trail, I am just ECSTATIC at this wonderful news !! It is going to take a lot of soul searching for me to skip my weekly Tuesday evening ride with my group and avoid getting very angry with some of them for pushing for this ban. Besides me, there is only one other ebike rider who shows on a weekly basis, and its quite clear to us that we aren't welcome anymore.
 

Ian Moone

Active Member
SOOOO happy to have my hometown in the news here !! As this is my go-to trail, I am just ECSTATIC at this wonderful news !! It is going to take a lot of soul searching for me to skip my weekly Tuesday evening ride with my group and avoid getting very angry with some of them for pushing for this ban. Besides me, there is only one other ebike rider who shows on a weekly basis, and its quite clear to us that we aren't welcome anymore.
Well ... You Could Rebel against it ?? Just Saying, IF MY favorite trail said No Ebikes, I Know what I'd do. ??
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I've logged many, many miles on that trail by ebike in the last 5 years. I've met more than 15 ebikers on the trail and all were more than 50 years old. Riders out for a good time and not speeding. No accidents I'm aware of.

I've also volunteered to work on the trail over the years. They've lost some of their biggest proponents and supporters. This action by unelected beurocrats behind closed doors has hit us hard here.
I last rode the Heritage from New Freedom to York and back in Sept. of 2017. I came across a "gang" of young punks on the trail in York. Several had ebikes and others were riding gas powered scooters but all were riding recklessly. I made a mental note to avoid the York end of the trail in the future.

The other ebikers I saw were on the upper end of the trail and in the 50+ crowd as you say. Sadly, this is the group who will suffer the most from the ban. The young punks don't care and will just continue breaking the law.
 

kathik

Member
Wow! This is really sad news. I went there a few times late last summer and fall and really enjoyed it. The New Freedom restaurant in the train station is very nice. I parked at the Brillhart station instead of York, as York is not a place I will let my car unattended. I have not seen a public notice online regarding this change. It would have really annoyed me to drive almost two hours to reach the trailhead and find out I'm not welcome there anymore.
 

Ian Moone

Active Member
Common sense would dictate If you find no signage indicating such a ban, then Ride to your heart's content ! I would Never rely on Heresay attempting to prevent me from doing what I enjoy ! ?
 

WalkinTarget

Active Member
What happens at the Maryland state line where the Heritage becomes the Torrey C Brown Trail? Are ebikes illegal there as well?
I plan on finding out on Tuesday the 21st, when the group ride is scheduled to start in New Freedom for a short ride to the PA/MD border, then into MD for about 8 miles. Guess who will be riding, sans battery, until we hit that MD line ?? (at which point I will pop it back in). I figure if they are going to outlaw my new ride, I might as well stress them out for one ride before I end riding with them. I'm just stunned that a bunch of podunk Pennsyltuckians can act so quickly to get this rammed through ! They can take 5+ years to work on a Mt. Rose Avenue cloverleaf for access onto Rt 83, but they can ban ebikes in less than 3 months time.
 

Tars Tarkas

Active Member
From a legal standpoint, why does a 50 ish ebiker represent more of a public injury threat than a runaway horse or an athlete pedaling his racing bike at 25 mph?
This might be a basis for a suit against the ban. In my experience, trouble on mixed-use trails is caused by every type of user. Maybe this could be shown to be baselessly discriminatory.

I like to ride fast, but i always slow down for other trail users. Personally, I think it would be kind of a shame to disallow fast riding in those situation when it doesn't affect anyone else, but setting speed limits seems like a much fairer approach than banning a class of user.

Is there already a biking association (that includes e-bike) that could get in front of these kind of restrictive regulations?

It seems to me a lot of this kind of crap comes from biking purists who can't stand the idea of bikes that can be ridden with less than 100% pedal power.

TT
 

kathik

Member
I ride many of the rail trails and some of the mountain bike trails between central and eastern PA and have never had any issues riding my e-bikes. Matter of fact, I seldom ever see another electric bike. Occasionally you will come across one of those noisy gas engine homemade ones. Something must have happened to cause this ban.
No one will convince me that a class 1 peddle assist bicycle is any more hazardous to pedestrians than a regular bicycle.
 

DDBB

Well-Known Member
While the rest of the world is embracing e-bikes as a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, here in the USA we are banning them.. The car culture still dominates and anything else is seen as a threat.. Sad.