Letter to the Editor – E Bike Use in Larimer County

Safe Routes to School Celebrates National Bike to School Day

This Letter to the Editor is solely the opinion of its author.

It does not reflect the opinion of this newspaper.

Ron Bright

I wish to state emphatically that it is unjustified for anyone in Larimer County to oppose the use of e-bikes on bicycle trails or single-track trails.  Let me make it very clear, however, that I am only referring to pedal-assisted e-bikes.  

I have been riding mountain bikes in Larimer county for the past 20 years and, even at my age (78), I love the technical challenges of mountain biking (steps, roots, bumps, rocks). I also like riding multi-use trails with my wife who rides on horseback.  However, as I age, I find that long distances and steep inclines now prevent me from completing my rides into the far reaches of the back country with her.  So, when I obtained an e-mountain bike two years ago, I was again able to experience the pleasure of riding long distances over varied terrain. The e-mountain bike also enabled me to once more overcome the challenges of the technical mountain biking on single tracks. I also can go alone into the back-country where I love to photograph wildlife.  

Those who wish to prohibit e-mountain bikes on trails will be preventing me from these wonderful outdoor experiences on my mountain e-bike.  I’m not sure why there is so much objection, but if danger from “speed” is an issue, I can assure you that on numerous occasions, I have encountered many a young man or woman on bicycle riding out of control and endangering other riders/hikers/equestrians!  Several times, a tandem mountain bike has blown by me at high speed on single track trails.  Similarly, if speed is an issue, then we should be prohibiting road cyclists from riding at great speeds on heavily used bike trails in and around our cities and throughout the county! 

There have been a number of occasions when I have witnessed cyclists with physical limitations such as total knee replacements, hip replacements, etc., now able, because of e-bikes, to ride again on paved bike trails and some single-track trails). Being precluded from riding an e-bike in these situations would have unfairly limited this subset of our largely geriatric population from the joy of outdoor bicycling. 

I am suggesting that a simple compromise be incorporated into any Larimer County e-bike policy. The caveat I wish to offer is that e-bikes on single-track and bike trails be permitted to persons over 65 and to those with justifiable handicaps such as joint disease.  I also think cardiopulmonary disease should be included for those people riding street e-bikes.

Let’s not be exclusive regarding the use of our natural resources.  Inclusiveness will assure that all of us will be able to share the pleasures northern Colorado has to offer! 

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