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August 1, 2017 > E-bikers to hit East Bay trails

E-bikers to hit East Bay trails

Submitted By Dave Mason

On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors voted unanimously to implement a one-year E-Bike Pilot Program on three regional trails in the Park District. The program will last through July 2018 and includes plans to conduct outreach on specific trails affected to make sure users are informed about the program and share the trails with their fellow users appropriately.

The outreach effort will include gathering information about usersÕ views, perceptions and experiences. Park District employees will be performing user counts, monitoring usage, and conducting surveys on the trails covered by the pilot program.

The pilot program applies to three Park District trails and only covers Class 1 & 2 electric motor-assisted E-Bikes. All existing regional trail rules, including the current 15 mph speed limit, will remain in full effect during the pilot program.

Class 1 & 2 E-bikes includes bikes with fully operable pedals and electric motor of less than 750 watts.

The three trails authorized by the pilot program are the Contra Costa Canal Regional Trail in Contra Costa County, the Alameda Creek Trail in Alameda County and the Iron Horse Trail running through both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

The Park District has an active ÒGreen TransportationÓ network of paved trails that connects users to transit, school and work sites, and the District was recently awarded $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to expand these trail connections.

There has already been an increase in bicycle commuting via our trails and E-Bike users will likely continue the trend, which will help reduce traffic congestion on roadways, advance green transportation modes, and improve access for those with physical limitations. E-bikes are not just used by commuters, however. Many seniors and individuals with disabilities are opting for a bicycle that can do the pedaling when they canÕt. These types of bikes provide new mobility opportunities to people who need extra assistance.

In 2015 the Governor signed Assembly Bill 1096 modernizing electric bike regulations for trails on state parks and authorized local jurisdictions to update their rules for allowing E-bikes on their own local trails. In developing the pilot program, the Park District engaged community stakeholders and user groups to obtain feedback and input. The final proposal approved by the board was endorsed by the Park DistrictÕs Park Advisory Committee.

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