Tucson, AZ, ban on ebikes riding the Loop

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Recently Kyle Chittock of Bolton Ebikes recorded a video describing the ebike ban Pima County have on the Chuck Huckleberry Loop, 136 miles of paved shared use paths and bicycle lanes that encircles Tucson, AZ. The local ban is despite Arizona having adopted the People for Bikes model ebike legislation that permits Class 1 and 2 ebikes to ride wherever pedal bicycles can ride. I have visited the Tucson area twice in recent years where my aunt lives on a senior retirement community, and I have observed how battery electric vehicles are very popular among seniors and the disabled in her community, and among students on the University of Arizona campus downtown, to get around for fitness, recreation, and transportation. If you feel so moved please consider offering feedback on the ebike ban using this form.
 

rawlus

Active Member
Region
USA
i suspect it’s simply not solely a “goes too fast” rationale. otherwise why prohibit motorcycles, autos, tractor trailer trucks in the path as long as they are going the speed limit.

the flaw in logic is that electric bikes are not “simply” bikes, they are electric bikes and that has meaning. electric bikes are not solely human powered…so depending on the argument someone is making, the two can be addressed as different rather than the same.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
There are so many people of this forum that support the 3-class state legislation even though it's utterly meritless.

The original 2002 federal HR727 "low speed electric bicycle (LSEB)" definition was crystal clear - a compliant LSEB is not a motor vehicle and it's to be considered just another bike by the states. The CPSC holds jurisdiction over what can be sold legally in all 50 states and LSEBs are safety and compliance regulated as bicycles. The states drank the 3-class legislation kookaid pushed by LOBBY money to People for Bikes and it has done nothing but create a mess far worse that what proceeded it.

The only issue with the federal definition was that states were incredibly slow to move away from thinking ebikes were motor vehicles because they were originally under NHTSA safety agency control. When they were transferred to the CPSC and defined as bike the states should have just accepted the definition and allowed them to be used a bikes which had "use" and traffic laws going back decades. That would have been so much better but People for Bikes accepted money to promote legislation that in effect neuters ebikes which damages their true potential for urban mobility.

I know some will not chime in and say I'm a broken record again but this issue on the Pime County trail is a classic example of why the class system is a joke.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
i suspect it’s simply not solely a “goes too fast” rationale. otherwise why prohibit motorcycles, autos, tractor trailer trucks in the path as long as they are going the speed limit.

the flaw in logic is that electric bikes are not “simply” bikes, they are electric bikes and that has meaning. electric bikes are not solely human powered…so depending on the argument someone is making, the two can be addressed as different rather than the same.
The best logic is that a compliant LSEB is same as any other bike (road, mtn., gravel, trike, etc.). That is exactly what HR727 states but it's just ignored because the remnants of ebikes being under NHTSA control as a motor vehicle still exist in state legislation and the minds of people that don't want to read and accept what HR727 clearly states (LSEBs were put under CPSC jurisdiction as a non-motorized vehicle and defined to be just a bike safety regulated under public Law 107-319 2002 and safety regulated by part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations. They are bikes by federal definition and this is not just an opinion - if everyone would just read HR727 including those at People for Bikes.

If they are not considered a motorized vehicle then creating classes based on the performance of the drive system or the assist technology utilized (throttle- vs pedal-assist) has no tangible basis - by definition there is no motor / drive system. They are same as a human powered bike so long as compliant to the LSEB definition in HR727.

This takes away the local nonsense that an LSEB is not treated as a bike for "use" regulations. The states can still ban all bikes but they can not treat LSEBs and bikes differently in the "use" regulations / laws.

If an LSEB is DEFINED federaly as a non-motorized vehicle then explain why the states can claim they are motorized and different than a human only powered bike? I understand that intuitively they are not the same but by law they are defined to be the same and why can't we and states just accept that and give ebikes the best chance for wide adoption. That will help in climate change and improved health efforts in the US. We do not need parsing by class to screw up a very rare simple and logical policy that was adopted in 2002 via HR727.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
i suspect it’s simply not solely a “goes too fast” rationale. otherwise why prohibit motorcycles, autos, tractor trailer trucks in the path as long as they are going the speed limit.

the flaw in logic is that electric bikes are not “simply” bikes, they are electric bikes and that has meaning. electric bikes are not solely human powered…so depending on the argument someone is making, the two can be addressed as different rather than the same.

The best logic is that a compliant LSEB is same as any other bike (road, mtn., gravel, trike, etc.). That is exactly what HR727 states but it's just ignored because the remnants of ebikes being under NHTSA control as a motor vehicle still exist in state legislation and the minds of people that don't want to read and accept what HR727 clearly states (LSEBs were put under CPSC jurisdiction as a non-motorized vehicle and defined to be just a bike safety regulated under public Law 107-319 2002 and safety regulated by part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations. They are bikes by federal definition and this is not just an opinion - if everyone would just read HR727 including those at People for Bikes.

If they are not considered a motorized vehicle then creating classes based on the performance of the drive system or the assist technology utilized (throttle- vs pedal-assist) has no tangible basis - by definition there is no motor / drive system. They are same as a human powered bike so long as compliant to the LSEB definition in HR727.

This takes away the local nonsense that an LSEB is not treated as a bike for "use" regulations. The states can still ban all bikes but they can not treat LSEBs and bikes differently in the "use" regulations / laws.
Where anywhere is there current federal legislation saying that a compliant LSEB is something besides a bike? There is nothing I have ever found saying that just because not solely human powered they are not same as a bike.

There were "different" when under NHTSA but that ended in 2002 which is a long time ago and plenty of time has passed for everyone to accept them as just a bike. There are states that successfully "use" regulate compliant LSEBs as just a bike such that they are SAME for use - everywhere bike can be used a compliant LSEB can be used. That is so elegant and simple.

I get hammered on these forums for being a broken record but NO ONE has ever provided anything buy purely subjective attacks vs the actually references to regulations and laws that I provide. It's frustrating.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
Regulators gotta regulate. It's what they do. Not that they understand what they are regulating. It's more to the point that they justify their paychecks by regulating.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
You are right. Per that document an electric bicycle is considered the same as bike as I believe was the intent of HR727. What I do not understand is why they recognize the 3-classes yet treat them all the same. That is as non-nonsensical as the consideration of an LSEB to be a bike is sensical.

Obviously the person starting this tread did not read the local regulation.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
The ban is from Pima County, not the City of Tucson, and their "user etiquette and guidelines" sub section of the FAQ's at the bottom of this web page has this to say under "Can I ride my motorcycle or electric bike on the Loop?":
"The Loop moves between the city of Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley and unincorporated sections at various locations along the path. In September 2018, the city passed an ordinance, #11582, relating to electric bicycles. The ordinance permits riding an electric bicycle on shared-use paths under the jurisdiction of the city of Tucson. However, the sections of the Loop within the City of Tucson incorporated limits and in unincorporated Pima County are under the management authority of Pima County and the Pima County Regional Flood Control District and the use of electric bikes on the path is prohibited as declared on our Loop Guideline signage."
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
The ban is from Pima County, not the City of Tucson, and their "user etiquette and guidelines" sub section of the FAQ's at the bottom of this web page has this to say under "Can I ride my motorcycle or electric bike on the Loop?":
"The Loop moves between the city of Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley and unincorporated sections at various locations along the path. In September 2018, the city passed an ordinance, #11582, relating to electric bicycles. The ordinance permits riding an electric bicycle on shared-use paths under the jurisdiction of the city of Tucson. However, the sections of the Loop within the City of Tucson incorporated limits and in unincorporated Pima County are under the management authority of Pima County and the Pima County Regional Flood Control District and the use of electric bikes on the path is prohibited as declared on our Loop Guideline signage."
Makes no sense that the city of Tucson defines all CPSC compliant ebikes as bikes and yet the PIMA county officials ignore that.

The FAQs you reference only mentions the restriction on "motorized vehicles" which a compliant LSEB is not. I think you are reading the regulation wrong as they don't want mopeds and motorcycles on the path.

At some point this non-sense has to end if we are going to see the maximum adoption rate of ebikes as viable transportation. Sadly there are big business interests at stake that do not want that widespread adoption so we will likely continue to see non-nonsensical legislation like this for some time to come. Does PIMA county have any officials that completed High School that would be willing to explain their position on this?
 
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Dewey

Well-Known Member
This trail ban on the best piece of cycling infrastructure in Tucson comes despite City, State, and Federal permissions. Justifications for ebike bans on paved trails might have some weight if there were a dangerous overcrowding situation as was reported on the Santa Monica beach path before that City enacted a ban in 2018 of riding electric bikes, scooters, balance boards, etc on the beach path, but that does not appear to be the case here. Kyle's video mentions Pima County stating they didn't want to encourage speeding on the Loop, which is an argument easily disproven by studies of ebike speeds on multi-use paths with a trail speed limit such as those done in Boulder, CO, and Seattle, WA, etc.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
This trail ban on the best piece of cycling infrastructure in Tucson comes despite City, State, and Federal permissions. Justifications for ebike bans on paved trails might have some weight if there were a dangerous overcrowding situation as was reported on the Santa Monica beach path before that City enacted a ban in 2018 of riding electric bikes, scooters, balance boards, etc on the beach path, but that does not appear to be the case here. Kyle's video mentions Pima County stating they didn't want to encourage speeding on the Loop, which is an argument easily disproven by studies of ebike speeds on multi-use paths with a trail speed limit such as those done in Boulder, CO, and Seattle, WA, etc.
Why can't someone call the Pima County officials and put them on the hot seat. Compliant LSEBs are not "motorized vehicles" and allowing them does not encourage speeding any more than allowing a Ferrari or Bugatti to be licensed in the US. Someone needs to stand up to idiots when idiots make decisions like this. If I lived there I would just keep riding my compliant ebike on the full loop and be willing to fight the ticket in a local court room. I continued to ride my ebikes on paths in Boulder county that claimed they banned ebikes under the "motor vehicle" ban and never was I stopped. I was more than willing to even tell the local officials where and when I would be riding (they knew their local ban had no legal standing but if it was successful at keeping most ebikers off the multi-use paths they considered it successful regulation). Many of these local land managers will refuse to even read anything that does not support their opinions...assuming they can read (sorry but I do get a bit fired up on really poor decision making by local officials that have no clue what they are doing).

They have not data (they could care less about studies from Boulder or Seattle or anywhere else for that matter). They ignore the city, state, and federal regulations / definition. They probably hate LSEBs for other reasons (maybe they own car dealerships that could be impacted...who knows).

Those who make these decision should be required to defend them. As voters we should just do our best to ensure local thru federal officials are objective.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
I left a message on the PIMA county general information call in. I think everyone should leave messages expressing their objection to local regulations like this. To consider compliant LSEBs as a "motor vehicle" to ban them from the best bike infrastructure in Tuscon is just not good policy making. They are essentially going bone dry down there for lack of water due to climate change and they don't want more ebike riders - is keeping ebikes off this infrastructure more important the doing something pro-active about their water challenges and helping more people be more healthy? Sorry but makes no sense.

Here's the number to call. Phone: +1 (520) 724-9999 Toll Free: 1-800-775-7462
Anyone that reads this thread just take a minute and call and voice your disagreement with this local regulation. Make the offices there have to hear it over and over again. Seriously it can't hurt to call them out!!!!
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Anyone with a stake in this issue can effect change in this policy. Not using the language Ken has used though.

Ebikes were banned from trails and paths where I live in PA. Rail trails are the paths people use to commute and recreate here, as we have more rail trails than other states and second or third most miles. We don't have the kind of nice paved paths mentioned in this thread. These paths are important to all of us, whether it's a paved path or a dirt rail trail. For many it's the only safe place to ride.

When ebikes were banned here, a buddy of mine got the ball rolling to overturn the ban by contacting the major local newspaper. He setup a meeting with a reporter and he took 2 ebikes so the reporter could see and ride and really understand what ebikes were all about.

The reporter took photos and did an interview. My friend never 'called anyone out', never called regulators or regulations 'dumb'. The entire article was positive and objective. He showed the reporter how class 1 & 2 (the only legal ebikes in PA) were very much like any other bikes.

Then 4 of us local ebikers went to all the local regulatory meetings. We went to the rail trail authority meeting and got most of their support. That authority has no regulatory power, but getting them on our side was important. They understood we were their neighbors, fellow volunteers and we cared about the trails.

We attended local regulatory meetings. Our numbers grew from the original 4. We originally had no support from regulators. We spoke to the issue at public meetings. We brought facts to support ebikes. We setup a demo ride that was extremely well attended. In the end we had overwhelming support in overturning the ban.

I think authorities need to see and talk to the people, they need to see and ride an ebike. It takes some time to get it done, but nothing worthwhile is easy and cheap. The worst thing for the ebike cause is language and attitude that Ken posted above.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Anyone with a stake in this issue can effect change in this policy. Not using the language Ken has used though.

Ebikes were banned from trails and paths where I live in PA. Rail trails are the paths people use to commute and recreate here, as we have more rail trails than other states and second or third most miles. We don't have the kind of nice paved paths mentioned in this thread. These paths are important to all of us, whether it's a paved path or a dirt rail trail. For many it's the only safe place to ride.

When ebikes were banned here, a buddy of mine got the ball rolling to overturn the ban by contacting the major local newspaper. He setup a meeting with a reporter and he took 2 ebikes so the reporter could see and ride and really understand what ebikes were all about.

The reporter took photos and did an interview. My friend never 'called anyone out', never called regulators or regulations 'dumb'. The entire article was positive and objective. He showed the reporter how class 1 & 2 (the only legal ebikes in PA) were very much like any other b

Then 4 of us local ebikers went to all the local regulatory meetings. We went to the rail trail authority meeting and got most of their support. That authority has no regulatory power, but getting them on our side was important. They understood we were their neighbors, fellow volunteers and we cared about the trails.

We attended local regulatory meetings. Our numbers grew from the original 4. We originally had no support from regulators. We spoke to the issue at public meetings. We brought facts to support ebikes. We setup a demo ride that was extremely well attended. In the end we had overwhelming support in overturning the ban.

I think authorities need to see and talk to the people, they need to see and ride an ebike. It takes some time to get it done, but nothing worthwhile is easy and cheap. The worst thing for the ebike cause is language and attitude that Ken posted above.
Is calling it "nonsensical" policy really going to hurt an effort to change it? Any effort to get it changed is by default saying that is how it is viewed by those promoting the change. By now there is plenty of awareness of ebikes and their close similarity to traditional bikes that these policies shouldn't happen. My view is that compliant LSEBs are defined as a bike. That is what the federal definition has been since 2002 so it's time to expect the states and local governments to accept that or they should do the work to change it.
 

Sparky731

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Madison, WI
Thank you, Dewey, for bringing this to our attention. I am a Pima County winter resident so I filled out the form and hope we really don't see any active enforcement of this local ban.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Does anyone even understand how something like this happens? It's a if these decisions are made in a vacuum.