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Following collection of public input over three years and a recent exploratory electric motorized bike (e-bike) study on trails at Devil’s Backbone Open Space in 2020, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR) will expand access for individuals with a mobility disability to use e-bikes as an “other powered mobility device.” Beginning July 1, the expansion allows individuals with a mobility disability to access all LCDNR’s paved and natural surface trails where bikes are allowed.
Additionally, LCDNR will continue to allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on all paved surface trails and will continue existing regulations to prohibit e-bikes and other motorized devices (except for those individuals with a mobility disability) on natural surface trails managed by LCDNR.
Factors taken into consideration for this decision included public comment and survey results, the public’s desire for greater accessibility for those with disabilities, existing regional e-bike opportunities, e-bikes as alternative forms of transportation on paved, regional trails, natural surface trail congestion at parks, and open spaces, regulatory consistency across jurisdictions, and overall enforcement and administration. A complete summary of these considerations can be found at larimer.org/naturalresources/e-bike-study.
Overall, 64% of community respondents opposed allowing e-bikes on natural surface trails with 36% in support, as expressed by two online surveys conducted in 2018 and 2020. Online respondents in favor of e-bikes (36%) primarily noted their reasoning as to provide access for individuals with disabilities or chronic health constraints. Public input was received via open online surveys, citizen letters, a statistically valid on-site survey combined with an e-bike study at Devil’s Backbone Open Space, ranger reports and trail cam data, e-bike study participant rider logs, informal stakeholder meetings, and discussions with the department’s advisory boards.
Natural Resources manages Larimer County’s great outdoor places, including magnificent open spaces and water-based recreation areas, and fosters responsible land stewardship through weed management and healthy forest practices. To learn more, visit www.larimer.org/naturalresources or for a complete summary of findings, please visit larimer.org/naturalresources/e-bike-study.