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

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I read with interest this thread yesterday. We got our Townie Electra e-bikes three years ago and were under the impression that we were able to use them anywhere a bike could be used. That was, until we rode the York Heritage Trail on May 21 this year. We live a couple of hours away so we planned to ride part of the trail one day, find a hotel to stay over, then ride another section the next day. We parked at Brillhart Station then had a great ride (loved the trail). When we got back to the parking lot, there was a park ranger waiting for us who said we were not allowed to use e-bikes on the trail. We tried to explain that they are pedal assist bikes and don’t have a throttle and the we usually go about 11mph. He said he would call his boss, just to make sure. He got back to us with a resounding “No e-bikes”. Needless to say, we packed up and left the York area. I didn’t even want to stop and get lunch. We’re both retired and love our e-bikes. I went online to the trail website and saw that all questions about e-bikes on the trail should sent to the parks department so I did send a letter to Tammy Klunk, asking that they reconsider their stance on e-bikes. I never received a response. I was so glad when I saw that this group is working to get e-bikes back on the trail. Because of the distance, we probably wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting, but let me know if there is any way we can help.
2 or 3 times a year, I also drive 2 hours to get to the Heritage trail. My wife and I usually stay overnight in a local hotel and eat in local restaurants. No more, at least not until these anti e-bike regulations are lifted. I wonder if local merchants are aware of the potential loss of revenue from this ban.

With the exception of the Heritage trail, Pennsylvania is an e-bike friendly state. With the same drive time, you can be in Cumberland, MD. and ride the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail all the way into Pittsburgh, PA. The GAP is 150 miles of scenic, well maintained, e-bike friendly trail and definitely worth the drive.

https://gaptrail.org/system/resourc...DUyL2dhcF9tYXBfd2ViLnBkZiJdXQ/gap_map_web.pdf

From Cumberland, you can also access the western terminus of the C&O Canal trail. Although National Parks are technically off limits to e-bikes, I ride there frequently and haven't had a problem.
 
Went for a ride on the trail yesterday. Parked at John Rudy Park and rode down past Hanover Junction and back. Only a handful of riders out there. I parked my car next to the trail access as the lot was almost empty. Upon returning, there was only one other car in the lot and some groundskeepers weed whacking.
Prior to leaving the lot, the other car pulled out and circled the lot and I realized it was a park ranger. I backed out of my space and he circled around behind me and followed me out. I pulled in by the restroom facilities to wash my hands and he continued on.
Now I'm becoming paranoid that park rangers are following! HA HA :):):):)
 
Went for a ride on the trail yesterday. Parked at John Rudy Park and rode down past Hanover Junction and back. Only a handful of riders out there. I parked my car next to the trail access as the lot was almost empty. Upon returning, there was only one other car in the lot and some groundskeepers weed whacking.
Prior to leaving the lot, the other car pulled out and circled the lot and I realized it was a park ranger. I backed out of my space and he circled around behind me and followed me out. I pulled in by the restroom facilities to wash my hands and he continued on.
Now I'm becoming paranoid that park rangers are following! HA HA :):):):)
Lol. Something out of a Mission Impossible movie.
 
Went for a ride on the trail yesterday. Parked at John Rudy Park and rode down past Hanover Junction and back. Only a handful of riders out there. I parked my car next to the trail access as the lot was almost empty. Upon returning, there was only one other car in the lot and some groundskeepers weed whacking.
Prior to leaving the lot, the other car pulled out and circled the lot and I realized it was a park ranger. I backed out of my space and he circled around behind me and followed me out. I pulled in by the restroom facilities to wash my hands and he continued on.
Now I'm becoming paranoid that park rangers are following! HA HA :):):):)
We definitely got the impression that the ranger was waiting for us when we got back to our truck. He left the parking area right after talking to us. It seems like they may be actively looking for e-bikes. That sounds paranoid, too, but that’s the impression I got. I’ve never had that happen at any other trail and we’ve done quite a few.
 

AlanDB

Well-Known Member
We definitely got the impression that the ranger was waiting for us when we got back to our truck. He left the parking area right after talking to us. It seems like they may be actively looking for e-bikes. That sounds paranoid, too, but that’s the impression I got. I’ve never had that happen at any other trail and we’ve done quite a few.
At least you just got a warning and not a fine, but still it is a sad story and so unfair … an issue we ebikers need to stay on top of. I will probably never have an opportunity to ride this trail, but I sure hope the group of local activists who are posting here can change this rule.
 
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!
I’m surprised that People for Bikes hasn’t weighed in on this. Does the state have any specific statutes on e-Bikes?
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
I'm pretty vague about which rail trail is which in Pennsylvania. Rand Mcnally maps are useless for this. After seeing a TV travel show about PA rail trails, I had developed a desire to come spend some money in PA, but reading this about the park ranger, I'll just stay out of the state. Missouri Katy trail is not infamous yet, and I have a standing invitation to go do the coast route from Sunnyvale CA south. It's e-bikes or nothing, my knees are too unreliable to go out without electric backup. I gave up automobiles in 2008. Restaurant and Motel owners take note: I wasn't planning on camping out with a cookstove. My $200 a day travel budget gets spent elsewhere. The Liberty Bell & Constitution Hall are no draw: I'm a third native Am. I was 40 miles away from Phili when I trained at Aberdeen Proving Ground 1974, 1980. Never bothered to go Phili either time.
 
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I'm pretty vague about which rail trail is which in Pennsylvania. Rand Mcnally maps are useless for this. After seeing a TV travel show about PA rail trails, I had developed a desire to come spend some money in PA, but reading this about the park ranger, I'll just stay out of the state. Missouri Katy trail is not infamous yet, and I have a standing invitation to go do the coast route from Sunnyvale CA south. It's e-bikes or nothing, my knees are too unreliable to go out without electric backup. I gave up automobiles in 2008. Restaurant and Motel owners take note: I wasn't planning on camping out with a cookstove. My $200 a day travel budget gets spent elsewhere. The Liberty Bell & Constitution Hall are no draw: I'm a third native Am. I was 40 miles away from Phili when I trained at Aberdeen Proving Ground 1974, 1980. Never bothered to go Phili either time.
I would highly recommend using traillink online to find lots of good info on rail trails. They are categorized by state and show maps, length of trails, location and reviews by users. It is free to join but they will hound you to upgrade.
 
I’m surprised that People for Bikes hasn’t weighed in on this. Does the state have any specific statutes on e-Bikes?
People for BIKES has opened a file case for York County:


Ashley Seaward
Regulatory & Policy Analyst
PeopleForBikes Coalition
P.O. Box 2359 / Boulder, CO 80306
EMAIL: ashley@peopleforbikes.org
PHONE: 720. 648. 8376
PeopleForBikes.org

Please send her updates from the meeting and contact w/Rangers
 
I rode the trail from Railroad to Seven Valleys and back before the monsoon of rain. I saw two fellow ebikers headed south but no rangers and not many people. Im looking forward to the meeting tuesday.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I'm glad to see all the support this thread has generated. Hopefully, those that are active locally will have some effect on the regulations. I'd like to say thanks to these folks for their efforts.

It would be interesting to know the root cause of the ebike ban by York County. Was it a result of trail user complaints? If so, how many and what were the specifics. Or was it initiated by one influential County resident who has an ax to grind with all ebike riders? Was there an actual injury & resulting lawsuit or just the fear of one. The ban might be easier to fight if the details were made public.

On my last two rides on the Heritage Trail in 2018, I noticed groups of juveniles riding electric scooters and mopeds on the York end of the trail. Both occasions were on a weekday and these kids should have been in school. They were riding recklessly with little concern for other trail users. I made a mental note to avoid that trail section in the future. I'm curious if this is what prompted the ban.
 
I'm glad to see all the support this thread has generated. Hopefully, those that are active locally will have some effect on the regulations. I'd like to say thanks to these folks for their efforts.

It would be interesting to know the root cause of the ebike ban by York County. Was it a result of trail user complaints? If so, how many and what were the specifics. Or was it initiated by one influential County resident who has an ax to grind with all ebike riders? Was there an actual injury & resulting lawsuit or just the fear of one. The ban might be easier to fight if the details were made public.

On my last two rides on the Heritage Trail in 2018, I noticed groups of juveniles riding electric scooters and mopeds on the York end of the trail. Both occasions were on a weekday and these kids should have been in school. They were riding recklessly with little concern for other trail users. I made a mental note to avoid that trail section in the future. I'm curious if this is what prompted the ban.
 
A few months back when I spoke with Katie Klunk on the phone she advised me. "It was because we recieved complaints against ebikers". I personally think any complaints her office recieved about any ebikes was misinterpreted and misconstrued and was probably a complaint stemming from the electric scooters and such. I explained to her all with exception of one individual I have seen ride the trail are all retired , older, responsible adults that enjoy riding to relax and continue exercise. I am sure there are a few anti ebike people aka "haters" out there that are on the bandwagon also.

I am looking forward to the Advisory Board Meeting tomorrow and also looking forward to meeting everyone on here who can attend. I am bringing my bike along. County Commissioner Mr Chris Reilly did express he would like to ride a ebike and see how much fun they are. On that note hopefully afterward we can move forward and all ride and enjoy the trail and not have to worry about cat and mouse games with the Park Rangers.
 
A few months back when I spoke with Katie Klunk on the phone she advised me. "It was because we recieved complaints against ebikers". I personally think any complaints her office recieved about any ebikes was misinterpreted and misconstrued and was probably a complaint stemming from the electric scooters and such. I explained to her all with exception of one individual I have seen ride the trail are all retired , older, responsible adults that enjoy riding to relax and continue exercise. I am sure there are a few anti ebike people aka "haters" out there that are on the bandwagon also.

I am looking forward to the Advisory Board Meeting tomorrow and also looking forward to meeting everyone on here who can attend. I am bringing my bike along. County Commissioner Mr Chris Reilly did express he would like to ride a ebike and see how much fun they are. On that note hopefully afterward we can move forward and all ride and enjoy the trail and not have to worry about cat and mouse games with the Park Rangers.
Hope all goes well that the meeting.
Looking forward to the results.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I wanted to make sure everyone planning to attend the meeting at Nixon Park this evening understands that Nixon Park is the county nature center and that bike riding within this park is prohibited. That probably includes the drive and parking lot. This park is all about nature and many activities are prohibited. It's probably fine to ride to the park, as anyone would a car, but not recreational riding.

There is a trail near the entrance to Nixon Park, called the Hollow Creek Trail. It's a short trail, only a few miles long. This is a Township trail, not a county park.

Hollow creek trail parking
400 Valley Rd, York, PA 17403
https://maps.app.goo.gl/ke1nJw3fmJYcwfX29
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I have no clue why no one seems to have mention this but it is my interpretation that if an ebike is compliant to the federal regulation is is classified as a "BIKE." States can not change that fact...they can only allow a looser interpretation or have usage laws that do not attempt to define an ebike as something different than a bike.

In other words, any trail that allows bikes by default allows federally compliant ebikes. I suggest talking to the officials the wrote the bans on ebikes and review the precedence of the regulations....if people abide by a regulation that is not really legally binding they still get their way. Sometime civil disobedience is justified if the lawmakers lack understanding of the law.

I encourage all ebikers to actually spend the time to read the actual federal definition / regulation for a compliant ebike and not opinions that can differ on this (I'm voicing what I believe is the correct opinion based on a pretty good ability to interpret written English but there are many that have a totally different interpretations and even feel the states can redefine what a compliant ebike is and what it means to be compliant as in my opinion it means it's EQUIVALENT to a long history of a traditional bike).

Note: the federal regulation does not have a speed limit on PAS ebikes so I very much question that states can put an assist limit on them. I have tried to engage with People for Bikes about this but they are not so willing to engage in a discussion that could result in them having to admit an error in the policy they are advocating as "model legislation" on ebikes. Again states can established usage speed limits but not redefine what is a legal/compliant ebike. Seriously everyone should read and reread the federal regulation and understand it's implications.
 
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I have no clue why no one seems to have mention this but it is my interpretation that if an ebike is compliant to the federal regulation is is classified as a "BIKE." States can not change that fact...they can only allow a looser interpretation or have usage laws that do not attempt to define an ebike as something different than a bike.

In other words, any trail that allows bikes by default allows federally compliant ebikes. I suggest talking to the officials the wrote the bans on ebikes and review the precedence of the regulations....if people abide by a regulation that is not really legally binding they still get their way. Sometime civil disobedience is justified if the lawmakers lack understanding of the law.

I encourage all ebikers to actually spend the time to read the actual federal definition / regulation for a compliant ebike and not opinions that can differ on this (I'm voicing what I believe is the correct opinion based on a pretty good ability to interpret written English but there are many that have a totally different interpretations and even feel the states can redefine what a compliant ebike is).
This would be true for road use, however, local municipalities can ban e-bikes from park and rail trails if they choose to. My fear is when one place does this will other local park systems do the same?
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
This would be true for road use, however, local municipalities can ban e-bikes from park and rail trails if they choose to. My fear is when one place does this will other local park systems do the same?
Read the federal regulation / definition. I'm confident they can not ban lkj
This would be true for road use, however, local municipalities can ban e-bikes from park and rail trails if they choose to. My fear is when one place does this will other local park systems do the same?
In my opinion you are wrong. I think the federal definition / regulation clearly states that states can only regulate usage of a compliant ebike but it must be treated as bike by definition.

Maybe I'm wrong about this but I've read the regulation many times and even read a lawyer's interpretation that was the same.

The federal definition does not limit the assist speed of a PAS ebike so do you think states can define the assist limit of a product the CPSC has control of. I think the precedence is at the federal level.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Well! It was a good meeting. There were 14 ebikers and one acoustic rider supporting us there. Twice as many of us as board members and politicians. What a turnout! I was pleasantly surprised.

We were all able to add personal stories and faces to the issue. The board asked a lot of questions and we had the information to answer. They seemed most concerned with class 3 and bikes with throttles. It will be some time before we know what they decide to do. A county commissioner stopped by in the parking lot and thanked us. He suggested we weren't the kind of riders, riding our style of ebikes, the county wants to ban. With so many powered devices on the market, they're having a difficult time regulating what can and cannot be used on the trails. I got the impression they might be happy to accept class 1 bikes. That's what I thought. Like so many things today, it's easier to throw a blanket ban on an entire group, than ban activity by bad actors.

We shall see! I'm very grateful of everyone that turned out. It was amazing! I'm also glad to meet so many of you.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
Well! It was a good meeting. There were 14 ebikers and one acoustic rider supporting us there. Twice as many of us as board members and politicians. What a turnout! I was pleasantly surprised.

We were all able to add personal stories and faces to the issue. The board asked a lot of questions and we had the information to answer. They seemed most concerned with class 3 and bikes with throttles. It will be some time before we know what they decide to do. A county commissioner stopped by in the parking lot and thanked us. He suggested we weren't the kind of riders, riding our style of ebikes, the county wants to ban. With so many powered devices on the market, they're having a difficult time regulating what can and cannot be used on the trails. I got the impression they might be happy to accept class 1 bikes. That's what I thought. Like so many things today, it's easier to throw a blanket ban on an entire group, than ban activity by bad actors.

We shall see! I'm very grateful of everyone that turned out. It was amazing! I'm also glad to meet so many of you.
That is super awesome!