Process to regulate electric bikes, scooters underway in Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- While some people consider electric bicycles and scooters more as necessary forms of transportation than recreation, others say the devices are out of place in an area known for natural beauty and the love of jogging, hiking and biking.
In any case, use of the devices is growing in Colorado Springs, and officials are considering how to regulate them.
The process of regulating electric bikes, however, is farther along than the process of regulating electric scooters, a city spokesperson said Monday.
Electric bikes can be used on city streets and roads but only three classifications -- ranging from less motorized to more motorized -- are allowed on trails.
"We started a process 18 months ago to get ahead of the curve on electric bikes because the technology changes so quickly," said Scott Abbott, of the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.
The common perception is that e-bikes are loud but newer models are so quiet they can't be heard.
Abbott said the city will soon begin a two-week period of soliciting online feedback about the bikes, after which officials will decide if more regulations are necessary.
"We've found that most of the users are older people who use the bikes for recreation," Abbott said. "A motorized bike can help people with physical limitations still get out and enjoy recreation."
The Parks Department is in charge of electric bike regulations, and changes don't require the City Council's approval.
However, council approval is required for regulating electric scooters, and council members only recently had their first discussion on the matter.
"We saw the first draft of an ordinance in our work session last week," said Councilwoman Jill Gaebler. "We're considering this not because we want scooters, but because we know they're coming."
Gaebler said no regulations currently exist in the city and most scooters are user-owned. But she said that in many cities, a vendor rents scooters primarily in downtown areas where scooters serve as an effective transportation option.
The matter will come up again at a council work session next week, and could be on the regular council agenda for a vote next month.
What about electric skateboards?
Presently -- except for being prohibited in Garden of the Gods and North Cheyenne Cañon Park -- there are no written regulations on electric skateboards.