City of Aspen moving toward mandatory e-bike education
Aspen City Council initially approved a list of revisions to the city’s municipal code on Tuesday aimed at improving trail safety, including requiring all companies that offer e-bikes to require their customers to watch a safety video. .
Some of the changes, which the council approved at first reading in an order, have been discussed for more than a decade while others are in response to recent changes in trail use, including the proliferation of e-bikes, and especially those who rent them, according to Brian Long, manager of the city’s trail system.
The revisions are in the spirit of improving etiquette and safety on the city’s trail system and staying ahead of usage trends.
“Some of these are timeless and have been discussed at the Parks Department for some time, such as announcing when you are passing, requiring bells on rental fleets, and codifying signage that guides user behavior on the trail system. Nordic,” Long told the board at its Tuesday meeting. . “A lot of this has been needed for a long, long time and some of the others (restrictions) respond to recent trends of the last four or five years with the emergence of e-bikes and e-bike rentals and how that changes the dynamics on trails for our local users.
Changes to the code include requiring that any bicycle or e-bike used on the Aspen trail system “must be sound and safe to use and must be equipped with a bell or other device to advertise on the trail system,” according to city documents..
Companies that offer five or more bicycles or e-bikes for free rental or use must ensure that all users in the fleet have viewed an orientation video for the safe use of bicycles and e-bikes in Aspen, as prescribed by the Director of Parks and Recreation.
The video is about two minutes long and is produced by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, said Matt Kuhn, director of parks and open spaces for the city.
He also noted that Long has spent a lot of time with bike shops going over code revisions and other details that affect their operations.
The code revisions also make it clear what proper etiquette is when approaching other trail users, which is to announce with a beep or voice before passing others.
Cyclists, skaters, pedestrians and others must yield to equestrians. Horses are restricted to unpaved portions of trails unless otherwise specified as required by law.
Cyclists and skaters must yield to pedestrians, cyclists to yield to skaters, and downhill riders to yield to uphill riders.
Faster users yield to slower users, and trail users must stop on all roads and yield to all vehicular traffic, unless the intersection is otherwise signaled.
Trail network users after dark, on any type of bike or other permitted device, are required to use a light, according to the updated code.
The code revisions also define e-bike classes and set allowances and limits, as well as define other motorized devices allowed or limited on trails, including banning vehicles on the Nordic trail network.
The changes and the issues behind them have been discussed at length by Parks and Open Spaces Department staff, at meetings of the city’s Pedestrian and Bike Safety Team, and with the Open Spaces Board. and trails, according to Long.
The code changes also reflect the contributions of city and county ranger staff and their experiences and interactions with the public while observing the dynamics of trail use in the field.