What is an E-bike?
An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, powerbike or booster bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion. Its motor does not exceed 750 watts of power. Also, it has two or three wheels, and fully operable pedals.
The definitions and classifications of e-bikes are set by Federal and State Statues and Law. These statutes exempt e-bikes as motor vehicles when they exhibit the characteristics mentioned above. The laws are as follows.
Class 1: Pedal Assist
The electric drive system on the e-bike can only be activated through a pedaling action and is limited to relatively low speeds. In America, this class is limited to a motor powered speed of 20 mph (32 kph) with a motor wattage of <= 750 watts.
Class 2: Throttle On Demand
The electric drive system on the e-bike can be activated through a throttle element such as a grip-twist, trigger or button and is limited to low speeds. The motor system may also be activated through a pedaling action as with Class 1. In America, the top speed is limited to 20 mph (32 kph) with a motor wattage of <= 750 watts as with Class 1.
Class 3: Speed Pedelec
The electric drive system on the e-bike can be activated through a pedaling action to reach higher top speeds. In America this class could still be considered a “low-speed electric bicycle” if human power propels the bike above 20 mph and as such, does not require special licensing but may be even more restricted to roads, adjacent bike lanes or on private property with a maximum speed ~28 mph (~45 kph) and motor wattage of <= 750 watts.
Colorado Springs allows Class 1 e-bikes to operate on Urban Trails. These trails are typically described as local commuting and recreational trails which traverse neighborhoods and connect to the core of the City of Colorado Springs.
At this time e-bikes are not to be operated on what is commonly known as multi-use trails. These trails are always soft surfaces and are part of large Regional Park or Open Space property infrastructure.
Class 1 e-bikes permitted on the following urban trails:
- Cottonwood Creek Trail
- Homestead Trail
- Midland Trail
- Pikes Peak Greenway
- Rock Island Trail
- Sand Creek Trail
- Shooks Run Trail
- Sinton Trail
- Stetson Trail
- Templeton Gap Trail
- Woodmen Trail
- Foothills Trail
- Skyline Trail
- Rockrimmon Trail
- Mesa Valley Trail
Pilot Program Expands Trail Access for E-bikes
A temporary pilot program to expand e-bike access on City-owned and maintained trails has been proposed by the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Department. The proposed start date of May 31, 2021 has been postponed until further notice. The pilot program proposes the following expansion of e-bike usage:
- Class 1 e-bikes are allowed on all City-owned and maintained trails that currently allow bicycles, rather than just urban trails.
- For the first time, Class 2 e-bikes will be allowed on City-owned urban trails only.
- A speed limit of 15 miles per hour will be implemented for all bicycles, on all trails, whether or not they are electric powered.
The pilot program was designed using the definitions and classifications set by Federal and State Statues and Law, which exempt e-bikes as motor vehicles when they exhibit the characteristics mentioned above.
Other Agency Trail Policies for E-bikes
El Paso County, CO
Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes can be used on El Paso County Parks’ Primary and Secondary trails up to a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Class 3 Electrical Assisted Bicycles are not permitted on any County trail.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife
E-bike usage varies depending on which state property is involved. Visit https://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/E-Bike-Rules.aspx for the latest policies on e-bike usage on state-owned and managed trails.
U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service
View the latest policy here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/e-bikes.
U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management
View the latest policy here: https://www.blm.gov/programs/recreation/e-bikes.