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Park City sticking with existing e-bike singletrack ordinance

Dawn's Trail in Thaynes Canyon.
Parker Malatesta
Only people 65 and older or those with a mobility disability can use an e-bike on Park City singletrack trails.

On Thursday the Park City Council was asked if it wants to allow e-bikes on a portion of singletrack in lower Deer Valley. The council supported designating just one trail.

Outside of 5 miles of trails in Clark Ranch, Park City doesn’t allow e-bikes on singletrack, unless users are 65 and older or have a mobility disability. That ordinance was passed by the Park City Council in 2016 and amended in 2019.

The city council was asked Thursday about designating some trails in lower Deer Valley for e-bike use, to cater to the growing technology sold at numerous rental bike stores around town.

Council member Jeremy Rubell was supportive of running a pilot program in a small network of trails near the Deer Crest neighborhood. He noted that Deer Valley Resort is already selling rental e-bikes for use on its private trails.

“If Deer Valley is already allowing it, and they’re gonna backup to the this other trail system, if we truly mean what we say in supporting our community and small business and driving people here and wanting them to be here and supporting rental shops and all this stuff, like it’s a no brainer,” Rubell said.

Rubell said he understood there’s hesitation and concern in the community about allowing e-bikes on singletrack.

“Which is why a measured approach probably makes sense,” he said. “I’m not saying just lift this restriction altogether.”

Council member Ryan Dickey was opposed to the pilot and said there shouldn’t be any future changes to Park City’s e-bike singletrack rules.

“The main problem with our trails is that they’re overcrowded on the weekends,” Dickey said. “That is the number one issue. I don’t ride my bike on the weekend… E-mountain bikes bring a new class of users to the trails, so they’ll actually make the trails more crowded. If you take one of the best trail systems in North America and add e-mountain bikes to it, that’s when the folks from the Salt Lake Valley will come. I just think it's a huge mistake, because it’s a genie that you can’t put back in the bottle.”

During public comment at Thursday’s meeting, Old Ranch Road resident Jennifer Fiekin said e-bikes could make her daily walks in Round Valley hazardous.

“They have the potential to go 20-plus mph, and around some of those switchbacks and blind curves, it could be really a potentially dangerous situation.” 

Mountain Trails Foundation Executive Director Lora Anthony also voiced support for the existing ban.

Council members Bill Ciraco and Ed Pargian agreed with Rubell that the city should run a pilot program for e-mountain bikes.

However, Parigian suggested doing the pilot on just one trail that connects to Clark Ranch and Wasatch County, which has several e-bike friendly trails. He said it’s crucial that Park City is proactive with the growing technology, citing recent surveys of residents.

“In 2020, 17% of survey respondents owned e-bikes,” Parigian said. “In 2024, 43% owned. It’s coming. Like pickleball was coming, we ignored it. Like affordable housing was coming, we ignored it. I don’t want to get behind on this one.”

The council came to a consensus to designate one new trail for e-mountain bikes as a pilot.

Park City Trails and Open Space Manager the route they develop will involve a couple of different trails in the Deer Crest area. It’s expected to take up to two months to complete.

The pilot e-mountain bike trail will be located somewhere within the black border.
Park City Municipal
The pilot e-mountain bike trail will be located somewhere within the black border.

Corrected: May 24, 2024 at 5:49 PM MDT
A previous version of this article incorrectly said Ryan Dickey was supportive of the e-mountain bike pilot program.