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Electric Assist Bicycles (E-bikes) Pilot Program
On April 21, 2020 the Fort Collins City Council approved City and Traffic Code updates to allow Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails following the completion of the pilot program, which was implemented this past year. During the pilot program, staff and volunteers collected extensive data and public input regarding e-bikes on paved trails.
Thank you for your feedback!
During the one-year pilot program, which allowed Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails, City staff and volunteers collected data and feedback from the community to assess perceptions and impacts associated with allowing e-bikes on paved trails. A report summarizing the information collected and recommendations is available below.
What are E-bikes?
|Under Colorado and Fort Collins law, e-bikes are defined as bicycles with two or three wheels, fully operable pedals, and an electric motor.|
|Class 1 E-bike||Class 2 E-bike||Class 3 E-bike|
Provides electrical assistance only while the rider is pedaling, up to 20 mph
Currently allowed on paved trails.
Provides electrical assistance regardless if the rider is pedaling or not, up to 20 mph
Currently allowed on paved trails.
Provides electrical assistance while the rider is pedaling, up to 28 mph. Class 3 e-bikes must be equipped with a speedometer, and may not be ridden by people under 16 (unless as a passenger). People under 18 must wear a helmet.
Not allowed on paved trails, but allowed on streets and in bike lanes.
Recommendations from City Boards and Commissions
Staff presented the results of the pilot program to the following City Boards, Commissions and Committees; to date, seven have voted in favor of allowing both Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails, or just Class 1 e-bikes.
- Senior Advisory Board (January 8 – subsequent action, voted in favor of Class 1 e-bikes on paved trails in conjunction with a requirement that e-bike users have insurance) Minutes here
- Land Conservation & Stewardship Board (January 8 – subsequent action, voted in favor of Class 1 e-bikes on paved trails) Minutes here
- Commission on Disability (January 9 – no action taken) Minutes here
- Transportation Board (January 15 – voted in favor of allowing Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails) Minutes here
- Parks & Recreation Board (January 23 – voted in favor of allowing Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails, and recommended ongoing monitoring) Minutes here
- Bicycle Advisory Committee (January 27 – voted in favor of allowing Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails) Draft minutes here
- Youth Advisory Board (February 5 - voted in favor of allowing Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails, and supported allowing Class 3 e-bikes if they can be programmed to a 20 mph top speed) Memo here
- Natural Resources Advisory Board (February 19 – voted in favor of allowing Class 1 e-bikes on paved trails) Draft minutes here
- Air Quality Advisory Board (March 16 – canceled until further notice)
E-bike Literature Review
During the pilot program, the City of Fort Collins joined Boulder County, Larimer County, and the City of Boulder as a funding partner in the completion of a Literature Review to provide a snapshot of relevant research related to e-bikes and how they are being addressed in other jurisdictions. The literature review also assessed broader topics related to recreation conflict and emerging technology. The key findings from the literature review were:
Literature Review Key Findings:
- E-bikes provide increased access to recreation and transportation; older adults are more likely to use e-bikes for recreation and fitness whereas younger adults are more likely to use e-bikes for commuting, utilitarian trips, and to replace car trips.
- The addition of the electric-assist encourages people to take more and longer trips by bike, and offers individual health benefits.
- E-bike users indicate feeling safer on an e-bike than a conventional bike given the ability to travel through an intersection quickly or traverse challenging terrain.
- Safety, speed, crowding, and user conflict are common concerns related to bicycles, and even more so for e-bikes. However, e-bike research has shown that people tend to view e-bikes more favorably once they are exposed to or become familiar with e-bikes.
- The literature review found little research to suggest that e-bikes have greater negative impacts on trails or wildlife than regular bikes.
- Many Colorado jurisdictions have acted to allow some or all classes of e-bikes on their trails.
Report a safety concern
We would like to know if you've experienced a near-miss or a safety concern related to electric assist bicycles on Fort Collins' paved trails. Please use the link below to submit this information using Access Fort Collins. If you have been involved in a crash or if this is an emergency, please contact Fort Collins Police Services. If it is an emergency, please call 911.
E-bike Pilot Program Overview (April 2019 - April 2020)
On April 19 the Fort Collins City Council approved a one-year electric assist bicycle pilot program allowing e-bikes on paved trails from May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.
The change was prompted by a new state law allowing e-bikes on trails unless otherwise restricted by a local jurisdiction, and the growing popularity of e-bikes. The City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, Transportation Board and six other City Boards passed recommendations in support of a pilot program to allow and evaluate e-bikes on paved trails.
The pilot program includes:
- One-year trial period beginning May 1, 2019
- Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes only (electric assist provided up to 20 mph)
- All paved trails (no unpaved trails)
- Extensive education and evaluation
For questions, please contact Tessa Greegor: dGdyZWVnb3JAZmNnb3YuY29t