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Park City looks to solve e-bike surge with speed limits, separate trails

E-bike sales in the U.S. nearly quadrupled from 2019 to 2022.
Elaine Thompson
E-bike sales in the U.S. nearly quadrupled from 2019 to 2022.

The Park City Council reviewed a community-wide e-bike survey and discussed potential trail regulation changes at its meeting Thursday.

More than 2,000 Park City and the Snyderville Basin residents took the survey which found the majority support biking speed limits on pathways like the Poison Creek and McLeod Creek trails.

The survey showed a consensus on a 12 mph to 15 mph speed limit.

Park City Councilmember Bill Ciraco questioned the root of the e-bike issues Thursday.

“Anecdotally, usually the problem is teenagers on a throttled e-bike, two at a time, speeding down the path with no regard, no etiquette, no heads up as they come up behind you,” Ciraco said. “I’m wondering if the problem is not specifically an e-bike problem, but a user problem?”  

Park City Trails and Open Space Manager Heinrich Deters agreed users, not bikes, are likely the culprit. He said speed limits and increased signage can help target negative behavior.

Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said enforcing speed limits would require a dramatic shift in resources. He said officers would realistically only deal with excessive, reckless behavior.

About 17% of survey respondents said they feel unsafe on pathways because of e-bikes.

More than half of locals surveyed supported Park City’s existing ordinance for natural surface singletrack trails which only allows people 65 and older or those with a mobility disability to use e-mountain bikes.

Snyderville Basin resident Tom Bulfon told the council he supports the restrictions already in place.

“As a frequent hiker and trail runner, I spend quite a bit of time on the singletrack trails,” Bulfon said. “I’ve been a victim of an e-biker that was out of control and couldn’t control that much power on such a small surface.” 

Councilmember Jeremy Rubell expressed interest in a pilot program to designate specific trails for e-bikes. Deters recommended the lower Deer Valley area, since it’s separated from the broader Park City trail network. It could also allow for a connection to Clark Ranch and Wasatch County trails, which allow e-bikes.

The council said it wanted more time to consider options and delayed any e-bike decisions until late May or early June.

The full e-bike survey results are available here.