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

J.R.

Well-Known Member
I still don't understand why the Park's Advisory Board wants to make such a big issue about Class 2 E-bikes. I think having a throttle actually makes an E-bike

safer to ride, especially when just starting out from a dead stop. JMHO
Many riders feel they need or want throttles, I personally don't have any issue with class 2. Unfortunately the trend in many areas of North America is against access for throttle ebikes on these off road paths and trails. Europe went the same way years ago. The 3 class designations have brought these targeted regulations. I see less acceptance for throttles in the future.

The expert the county brought in on this issue is the gentleman that wrote the 2014 PA State legislation to legalize ebikes. He draws a lot of comparisons between throttle ebikes, mopeds and motorcycles. He offered some serious warnings about ebikes and these off road venues. With so many sellers offering ebikes outside the law and riders willing to ride them anywhere, our struggle to gain or keep access is getting harder. Ebike companies touting power and speed are hurting the cause. Riders willing to buy and use ebikes that aren't legal are hurting the cause. It's become commonplace for people to ignore laws they don't agree with, when they should be lobbying to change bad laws. If the laws are bad.

It's difficult fighting regulators on one side and have people on our side breaking the current regulations in place. Industry and user outlaws are offered up as examples for our side, and reasonable, law abiding riders are the ones punished. I feel it's ridiculous to punish the law abiding because others are willing to break the law. Personally I can't defend the outlaws and I can't fight both sides.
 

Shoestring

Active Member
Update 10/15. This afternoon JR, Myself and a few other generous members , supplied the YCP advisory board members with our ebikes for a fact finding ride and discussion. About 10 members and park staff rode our bikes. Everyone was friendly and seemed to enjoy a "no pressure" experience. More then one had that "ebike smile" when returning. We don't know what they will decide, but they seem to be genuinely considering all options. Some questions included " How would we separate the 'fast bikes'(class 3) from legal bikes(class 1)? And "would you be against a trail/park sticker to identify your legal Bike?" Since the riding season is winding down, I don't expect to have any earth shaking news before the end of the year. We'll keep everyone posted of any new developments. Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions. Shoestring over & out.
 

WalkinTarget

Active Member
The best part of this event was the impeccable timing of the guy who rode by us on a 2 stroke engine equipped Frankenbike at a VERY fast pace, making a lotta noise and smoke as he flew by our assembled group. I heard at least one person say "So I assume that wasn't an ebike?" :p He then proceeded to fly by a few more times, but at least he was now off the rail trail and on the road that parallels the trail. I still feel that many of the complaints filed against these types of gas powered bikes on the rail trail are being falsely labelled as 'ebikes' simply due to ignorance on what an ebike actually is.

We also pointed out to the board members several 'roadies' who cruised by us at over 20mph which is where our bikes are capped, so if you are stating that ebikes are a liability based on their speed, then you are missing the point that every single road bike rider (and there's a LOT more of them than there are of us ebikers) is capable of riding at a faster pace than our ebikes can. Overall, I'm very satisfied with the discussion and the input on both ends. We further explained our goals to the members, and they in turn are getting up to speed (heh, sorry) on ebike classifications and general knowledge of our rides. Props to the 2 stroke guy who showed up and gave us all something to point out as the real problem that should be addressed.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Now that Maryland has passed a 3 class ebike law, perhaps they will be allowed on the Torrey C Brown Trail. Since the TCB is effectively the lower half of the Heritage Trail, this could apply some pressure on York County to do the same.


Thanks to member Dewey for posting the link in another thread.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Now that Maryland has passed a 3 class ebike law, perhaps they will be allowed on the Torrey C Brown Trail. Since the TCB is effectively the lower half of the Heritage Trail, this could apply some pressure on York County to do the same.


Thanks to member Dewey for posting the link in another thread.
We did inform them about MD new law. Unfortunately none of these laws pertain to off road trails and paths. I wish they did! The best comparison for off road acceptance is PA DCNR and the Fed Dept of the Interior, National Parks. We did all we could do, I hope it was enough. Now it's time to wait and see.

I'm really grateful for everyone's support. Thank you!
 

Beeps

New Member
Today ,1/15/2020,I stopped in the York County Parks Dept. office to renew my permit for riding a ebike on the York Heritage Rail Trail. I was told that that is not necessary anymore,and the office is waiting on legalese wording to permit ebikes on the trail . The Rangers have been instructed concerning this development,and this news can be shared publicly.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Today ,1/15/2020,I stopped in the York County Parks Dept. office to renew my permit for riding a ebike on the York Heritage Rail Trail. I was told that that is not necessary anymore,and the office is waiting on legalese wording to permit ebikes on the trail . The Rangers have been instructed concerning this development,and this news can be shared publicly.
We were asked to not divulge the development publically back in December. The proposal has to be approved by the county commissioners, which we as of last week have three new commissioners. There are only three.

For now the rangers have been told to not ticket or kick ebikers off the trail. The new proposal, if passed, will allow class 1 ebikes only. Same regs as Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
Whoever brought this about ....thanks! I wonder if a disabled throttle would reclassify a class 2 into a class 1 ?
 

EBCheryl

New Member
I called York County Parks and Recreation today and they confirmed that while they have yet changed policies you see online, the policies have been officially changed to allow class 1 Ebikes on the Heritage rail trail. I asked about a class 2 with a disconnected throttle :) The policy is for class 1 ebikes. I would say as long as you are peddling up hills, then no one would know what class bike you have.
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
I would say, Unless you have a class 1, don't ride on the HRT. Why push it and ruin it for others. not pedaling on a class 2 is no different than the battery-powered mopeds some kids are using.


I would suggest that tax contributions that paid for the HRT are spread out between those on class 1 and 2 and for that matter 3, eBikes. I would venture that if a big red dummy (or real) throttle on/ off switch was mounted on a class 2 or 3 eBike and someone was actually stopped by an enforcement agency, not Class 1 eBike riders making complaints, the most they might get is a warning. The throttle/no throttle divide on here comes off more as elitist bull-crap then a legitimate debate on what is a ridiculous system. It reminds me of a DH mountain biker saying that eBikes are damaging trails. I think speed limits ( for any bicycle) and riding unsafely laws would handle the whole debate.
 

digtigs

New Member
I am 69 with some joint issues. I wanted a Class 2 bike so that if my joints started to become painful or if I twisted my ankle on uneven ground, I could use the throttle to get home. It was a backup; not the primary means to ride on the trail. I thought like others that if I unplug the throttle or removed it from the bike I would be considered a Class 1. After reading people’s encounters with authority, I decided they would be as ignorant about E-Bike classes as I was when I first became interested in them. Realizing that every E-Bike that interested me had a label that stated what class it was, I would be hard pressed to try and explain why my Class 2 E-bike was no longer a Class 2. All they would do is look at was the label. Therefore, I thought it would be safer to get a Class 1.

I believe posted speed limits on the trail would cover everyone that had a speedometer, otherwise it is somewhat useless for the cantering horse or the marathon runner that overtook me trying not to break her pace. But that doesn’t solve the problem of safety. If I am the only one in a section of trail, what harm am I doing if I am going fast as long as I am at a speed that I can slow/stop if someone comes out of the bushes unexpectedly? A slow 10 MPH limit does not make for safety when you blow by a group of people from behind with little kids that didn’t hear you coming. Some bike riders will verbally announce “On the left” when they come through, but still sometimes way too fast for people who are walking; especially with dogs. I usually give one ding on my bell as I come up slowly behind them. I used to totally ring the bell which had multiple dings in one pull. I had no idea that it was that loud until I saw the startled reactions of the people. They usually moved in a panic manner to one side of the trail. One group of people split and it was only because I was going near their speed that I didn’t hit the people who jumped in front of me without looking. For safety on the trail, a sign stating something like this may be more helpful. “Anyone passing another person will pass them no faster than a walking speed of about 4 MPH.” Announcing your intentions by voice or bell is also a good safety measure and required in some places. I recommend not using a bell with horses; especially if they are a retired race horse. J
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
I am 69 with some joint issues. I wanted a Class 2 bike so that if my joints started to become painful or if I twisted my ankle on uneven ground, I could use the throttle to get home. It was a backup; not the primary means to ride on the trail. I thought like others that if I unplug the throttle or removed it from the bike I would be considered a Class 1. After reading people’s encounters with authority, I decided they would be as ignorant about E-Bike classes as I was when I first became interested in them. Realizing that every E-Bike that interested me had a label that stated what class it was, I would be hard pressed to try and explain why my Class 2 E-bike was no longer a Class 2. All they would do is look at was the label. Therefore, I thought it would be safer to get a Class 1.

I believe posted speed limits on the trail would cover everyone that had a speedometer, otherwise it is somewhat useless for the cantering horse or the marathon runner that overtook me trying not to break her pace. But that doesn’t solve the problem of safety. If I am the only one in a section of trail, what harm am I doing if I am going fast as long as I am at a speed that I can slow/stop if someone comes out of the bushes unexpectedly? A slow 10 MPH limit does not make for safety when you blow by a group of people from behind with little kids that didn’t hear you coming. Some bike riders will verbally announce “On the left” when they come through, but still sometimes way too fast for people who are walking; especially with dogs. I usually give one ding on my bell as I come up slowly behind them. I used to totally ring the bell which had multiple dings in one pull. I had no idea that it was that loud until I saw the startled reactions of the people. They usually moved in a panic manner to one side of the trail. One group of people split and it was only because I was going near their speed that I didn’t hit the people who jumped in front of me without looking. For safety on the trail, a sign stating something like this may be more helpful. “Anyone passing another person will pass them no faster than a walking speed of about 4 MPH.” Announcing your intentions by voice or bell is also a good safety measure and required in some places. I recommend not using a bell with horses; especially if they are a retired race horse. J

I'm 73, also with joint issues which is the main reason I chose a class 2 bike. I now have 3 class 2 e-bikes but only one was delivered with a class 2 sticker attached. The one I ride most has no sticker. My theory is, I can always plead ignorance if questioned.

I travel a great deal and ride trails in many states. While I don't advocate knowingly breaking the law, many of the places I ride are not posted and I never know for sure if my class 2 bike is legal. It's been my experience, and other trail riders I've talked to agree, the place you are most likely to encounter law enforcement officers is in trail head parking lots. To avoid potential problems, I tend to use the least popular parking areas and don't load or unload my bike when law enforcement is present.

I have seen a few LEO's patrolling trails on ATV's though. In any case, if you are pedaling and not using throttle only, they have no way of knowing what you are riding. If you don't ride like an idiot, they are not likely to stop you.

To repeat, I don't knowingly break the law. If a trail is posted class 1 only, I simply ride somewhere else. Being a Pennsylvania resident, I used to ride the York County trails frequently on my conventional bikes but now take my business elsewhere due to their class 1 only laws.

While I agree that posting signs should be sufficient but from what I've seen, they are largely ignored. It isn't just foolish youngsters but also spandex clad adults who are the biggest violators. It is the riders that need to be regulated, not the bikes. Unfortunately, this isn't going to happen without strict enforcement.
 

digtigs

New Member
I too called York Parks today and they stated,"All bike trails are open to Class 1 bikes and that it takes a while to update their literature stating no E-Bikes. If a ranger sees you and you are on a Class 1 he will say have a good day." Who knows if they random stop bikes to check but I suspect if you are not doing anything to raise attention it would be minimal.
 

Shoestring

Active Member
Good evening ebike friends, good news to report. Today I received the May issue of the YCRTA (York County Rail Trail Authority) newsletter. It's official, class 1ebikes are allowed on the Heritage Rail Trail. This official announcement comes almost exactly one year after I received the call banning the bikes from the trail. I would like to personally thank everyone for their support and good words and the members of this forum who were able to show up at meetings and help to make this decision possible. I would also like to thank the advisory board members from YCP (York County Parks) who patiently listened to our concerns and input as we progressed through the process. For anyone who is interested: having the board members actually ride our bikes in a friendly environment was the game changer. Mission: accomplished! Shoestring- over and out.
 

digtigs

New Member
So tell me Shoestring, would a year be an appropriate time to wait until we request they also consider Class 2 bikes? After they see that Class 1 bike riders are responsible riders, we can inform them of the safety advantage a Class 2 bike offers older people that might aggravate an injury during the ride. Does anyone know if electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters are allowed on the trails?

On the lighthearted side, phrases like "Roger Wilco" and "Over and Out" are only used in the movies. :)