The debate about electric bicycles on the Animas River Trail may not be as fully charged as it seems.
The city of Durango is eight months into a yearlong trial period allowing e-bikes on paved city trails, but the Parks and Recreation Department has not received many written comments about the bikes, said Cathy Metz, department director.
“I’ve had a couple of comments both in support of the e-bike use, and also not thinking that it’s a good idea,” she said. “But not a lot of discussion from the community in terms of one way or the other.”
Metz said at the end of the summer, the city might remind residents that the trial period is coming to a close, and that members of the public can submit comments to Parks and Recreation.
The department will then make a recommendation to City Council about the ordinance, she said.
If the city changes the ordinance, there will be more public comment opportunities during advisory board and City Council discussions.
Walkers on the Animas River Trail on Wednesday did not seem overly concerned about e-bikes, but they did observe that some cyclists ride too fast.
Martha Abernathy, a frequent user of the River Trail, said some cyclists go too fast, but she did not have specific concerns about e-bikes. She does not believe the problem of fast cyclists is unique to Durango.
Adam Hutchison said he has no issues with e-bikes, and he said he thinks they are a cool way to get around. He added that it would be nice if all bikes had a bell to warn pedestrians.
Laura Rockwell, who uses the River Trail every day, said she has not noticed e-bikes on the trail. She said she appreciates when cyclists use a bell to notify pedestrians of their approach.
The trial period, which started Sept. 20, allows e-bikes to be ridden on the Animas River Trail, Florida Road Trail, Goeglein Road Trail, Jenkins Ranch Road Trail and the dirt access road from Chapman Hill to Fort Lewis College.
Before the trial, e-bikes were banned from these trails based on the idea that they are motorized vehicles.
The Parks and Recreation Department has been engaging in education and awareness campaigns about sharing the trails and general safety, including adding signage and striping to areas of the River Trail, Metz said.
Comments can be submitted to Durango Parks and Recreation at firstname.lastname@example.org.