Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

19 Nov 2018

City of Durango ordinance amended to allow Class 1 & 2 electric bikes on hard-surface trails

Posted by Adam Howell


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A City of Durango ordinance was amended to allow Class 1 and 2 electric bikes on five prominent hard-surface trails at a City Council meeting Monday.

Class 1 and 2 electric bikes with a top speed of 20 miles per hour are now allowed on Animas River Trail, Florida Road Trail, Goeglein Gulch Road Trail, Smart 160 Trail, and the Three Springs Trail.

City officials decided to lift the ban on electric bikes for these trails following a year long trial period.

In October, three City Boards voted to allow ebikes on specific trails after City Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz reported that there were no conflicts between ebikes and users during the pilot program.

Before the ebike trail period began, City staff upgraded the Animas River Trail with safety features such as reflective painted stripes separating the flow of traffic. Signage was also installed in strategic areas.

City staff decided to avoid putting speed limit signs after Durango Police Chief Kamran Afzal advised against the idea, saying that it could hurt tourism.

Electric bicycles were generally not permitted on natural surface trails under the trial period, with the exception of one trail: the snowcat commuter connector on Chapman Hill linking Florida Road to Fort Lewis College.

After the trial period, Chapman Hill staff reported that they had not seen ebikes on the commuter connector, according to Metz.

“The reason we excluded it is because we didn’t see a lot of use of Chapman Hill with electric bicycles, and I didn’t see that there was a lot of public need for that.”

City of Durango boards will soon be discussing whether they want to see electric bikes be allowed on trails in a City open space area known as Twin Buttes.

Adam Howell is a writer who is on the City of Durango’s Natural Lands Preservation Advisory Board. He can be reached by clicking on this link to the contact page.



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