City E-Bike Laws for Trails and Greenways?

CareyR

New Member
I'm in Nashville TN where we have a Parks Department and local greenway supporters who would like to ban e-bikes on greenways. Tennessee passed the People for Bikes model law in 2016 and the local parks people didn't know about it for five years. It's the model law that automatically allows class 1 and 2 on trails but authorizes a city to regulate or prohibit by passing an ordinance to "protect public safety". We are now doing a "study" to survey park users and find out the law in peer cities.

If you're in a city of similar size what is the law and where can I access the ordinance or rules? I know class 1 and 2 are legal on trails in places like Austin, Denver, Seattle, etc. Knoxville and Chattanooga TN also follow the state law. Anybody in Portland, Louisville, Charlotte, Richmond, Kansas City, Pittsburgh or similar cities?

I don't care about state law I need to know about local governments.

Thanks for any help.
 

Catalyzt

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Los Angeles, CA -- I am sorry I cannot find a link for you, but usually, it's the usual Class I, Class II and Class III restrictions. No Class III on trails. In Griffith Park, the rules are a bit more restrictive due to the large number of horse trails and fire roads; these are reserved for horses, though there seems to be an unwritten rule than if solo riders occasionally use these trails respectfully at hours when horses are generally not present, enforcement is very limited. EMTBs almost never use these trails during most daylight hours, though occasionally I see MTBs or EMTBs descending a trail at or just after sunset.

Just across the valley in Glendale, the hills are more primitive, and while trails are explicitly limited to Class 1 and 2, enforcement seems limited or non-existent and Class I and II are explicitly allowed on all trails-- on these bikes, you can go anywhere. Trails are shared between pedestrians and MTBs and EMTBs equally and without much friction or conflict; the Class III bikers are also seem to be respectful of Class I, Class II, pedestrians and acoustic bikers.

These are not "Greenways" -- I think on the Burbank Greenway, Class III is prohibited, but many ride Class IIIs and there have been complaints from pedestrians, acoustic bikers, and others. Santa Monica has a bike path on the beach, and I have no idea what the rules are, but many people ride scooters that seem to go faster than 20 MPH, there does not seem to be much enforcement, though I expect there would be more in Venice.

The website mtbproject.com provides a lot of guidance and advocacy on trail usage in Los Angeles area parks-- as well as maps and other great resources.
 

billmeek

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Summertown, TN
I checked the cities you listed and could not find relevant info online, except Kansas City, MO treats ebikes as bicycles:


Bicycle means every vehicle capable of being propelled solely by human power upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels. And including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or rear wheels. "Bicycle" includes an electric-assisted bicycle, as defined in this section.

Electric-assisted bicycle means a bicycle with two or three wheels that has a saddle and fully operable pedals for human propulsion and has an electric motor that:

(1) Has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts,

(2) Is incapable of propelling the bicycle at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour,

(3) Is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propel the vehicle at a speed of more than 20 miles per hour, and

(4) Disengages or ceases to function when the vehicle's brakes are applied.

Something that might be of interest:


UPDATE: Initial success! Due to a large amount of interest in including e-bikes in this proposed regulation, even before the public comment period had formally opened, the Missouri Department of Conservation staff has withdrawn the proposed regulation and is re-writing it to include e-bike access.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I have a petition with the CPSC that would preempt the 3-class legislation in all states because they are more stringent than the federal LSEB definition (intent was that an LSEB is a bike and I'm in communication with the lawyer that started the effort to get HR727 passed all the way back in 2002). I know a lot of people on this forum will speak out against me effort but the best path forward for ebikes in one definition and the equivalence of a bike for states to use law as a bike (not to parse into classes to harmonize with Europe, to appease the auto and oil industries, or to make local trail managers feel comfortable about only allowing class 1 ebikes that they have no idea how to even verify besides a goofy sticker requirement).

People for Bikes was given a lot of lobby money by the largest car parts manufacturer in the world to push 3-class legislation. We need pro-bike legislation not more pro-car legislation.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
I think the fact that a growing number of brands are releasing "multi-mode" models (nothing preventing this) the classes become a very grey line since the rider can flip between them by simply hitting a button. I predicted this the very first time I read about the 3-class legislation being promoted by People for Bikes with lobby money from the largest car parts manufacturer in the world (with the intent of limiting the urban mobility potential of ebikes to keep people driving cars).

The idea that there is a difference between a class 1 and 2 ebike is laughable given how easy it would be to require cadence for a throttle to function such that a Class 2 actually complies with the definition of a Class 1 ebike. I tried to bring this to People for Bikes attention as well but they only had their brains focused on that lobby money for regulatory capture.
 

Bikeknit

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Kansas City
I checked the cities you listed and could not find relevant info online, except Kansas City, MO treats ebikes as bicycles:

Thanks @billmeek Most info on these posts focuses on the coasts. This is my neck of the woods and very useful.