Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

5 Nov 2016

City’s subcommittee on electric bikes mostly agree with their use on the Animas River Trail

Posted by Adam Howell


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Electric bicycles should eventually be allowed on the Animas River Trail for commuting purposes.

Bicyclists on the Animas River Trail ride behind the Double Tree Hotel and Albertson's.

Bicyclists on the Animas River Trail ride behind the Double Tree Hotel and Albertson’s.

That was a reoccurring message among appointed City board members Wednesday that were exclusively selected to study the possible regulation of electric bikes on the City of Durango’s trails.

Two people from each of three City Boards were chosen to discuss the regulation of electric bikes as a part of this subcommittee that met at the Durango Public Library.

The three City boards and their respectful committee members were Kim Baxter and Spencer Compton of the Multi-Modal Advisory Board, Christoph Cikaraji and Anthony Savastano of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, plus Mark Smith and Michael Burke of the Natural Lands Board.

As a means of establishing a safer environment for an increase in multiple users of the Animas River Trail, most of the committee members advocated the painting of lane lines as well as the installation of signage on or next to the trail to educate users on speed limits and trail etiquette.

The City of Durango’s Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz moderated the meeting with Durango’s Multi-Modal Director Amber Blake.

In response to a suggestion from Smith that the Animas River Trail be widened to accommodate the increase in users, Metz said that making some sections of the trail could be difficult, given the width of existing easements as well as pre-existing physical obstacles on the ground.

Enforcing speed limits on the Animas River Trail would also be difficult for the Durango Police Department, as they already have trouble enforcing rules in the parks and on the trails, said Metz.

Michael Burke, 70, was the only committee member against the idea of allowing electric bikes on the Animas River Trail.

Burke said that speed limit signs would be ignored by e-bikers, thus creating a dangerous situation for other trail users.

“I’m concerned about jumping into this too fast,” Burke said.

Wednesday’s committee meeting was a study session at the library where public comment was meant to be restricted.

In the audience was me, City of Durango Mayor Christina Rinderle, Trails 2000’s Executive Director Mary Brown, her husband Travis Brown, e-bike prohibitionist Chris Paulson, and Durango Herald Reporter Mary Shinn.

The e-bike subcommittee plans on eventually discussing whether or not to allow ebikes on the City’s Natural Surface Trails, where conservation easements currently ban their use in every open space parcel except for Twin Buttes.

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