City of CS e-bike survey open until Aug 4

The city of CS Parks department ebike survey is open : June 14 – Aug 4. Direct link to survey.

What we like about the survey: Since 2017 MedWheel has been advocating with Parks to take a step such as this – a true community-wide assessment of how we can (legally) expand ebike access. Parks and city leadership have now acknowledged that a change to the TOPS ordinance to allow certain types of motorized use will require a vote of the people -this is a critical concept for the long term protection of the public lands that have been preserved by the TOPS program.

What we don’t like about the survey: It implies that there are only 2 alternatives that could be considered for expanding ebike access, when in fact there exists a range of better alternatives. Specifically, like our partners at Bike Colorado Springs, MedWheel believes there should be a broader expansion of the use of our urban trail network for people who want to get around without requiring a car. We suggest that class 3 e-bikes, and other small electric mobility devices including e-scooters, one-wheels, and future devices not yet imagined, are valuable tools that can be used to safely expand personal mobility, and should be considered in this initiative. The focus on urban trails should be on max speeds, etiquette and proper usage, rather than limiting this use to class 1 and 2 ebikes. Also the definition of Urban Trails was identified as a crucial need by the ebike task force, and this is still missing.

On Open Space trails, we agree with the direction to consider class 1 ebikes only, as these most closely duplicate the usage of traditional MTBs. However MedWheel continues to suggest that there should be a phased introduction of ebikes on our soft surface trails, rather than a blanket expansion of their use everywhere. There are some OS trails that are open to traditional MTBs, but are not suitable for eMTBs, which would significantly and negatively impact today’s usage. One prominent example is Upper Codell trail in Red Rocks – allowing uphill eMTB use on this trail would change the experience drastically. We have for years suggested a thoughtful and incremental approach to expanding class 1 eMTB use in our open spaces, potentially with some areas designated for this use and some that do not include it.

The final concern we have with the survey, which was not shared with us prior to launch, is the format. Specifically the ‘free form feedback’ section at the end is limited to 200 characters – why this limit? If we are to truly learn the feelings of our community this limit should be expanded to allow more complete answers.

What do you think? Please take the survey and share your thoughts with the city. Also please feel free to share your suggestions with us, send to info (at) medwheel.org.

MedWheel was a part of this spring’s ebike Task Force, here is a summary of that process.