City staff will present a one-year program to test the use of class one e-bikes on all Round Valley trails. Class one e-bikes are pedal-assist only—they don’t have a throttle and max out at 20 miles per hour. Park City Assistant City Manager Matt Dias says Round Valley will be a good place to try the program.
"We think it has large width, large views—it's not sort of these narrow channels and canyons that you can get in other parts of our trails system," Dias said. "So, we thought if we were going to start with the pilot program, and if we're going to choose an area, it sort of represents a lot of things where e-bikes may be an applicable use long term."
Along with the proposed pilot program in Round Valley, Dias says the city will roll out an online survey to continue to gauge the community’s response to e-bikes on trails as well as an allowance for bike riders 65 and older to use pedal-assist e-bikes on any trail in Park City. People with mobility disabilities could already use e-bikes on trails, but if staff’s recommendations are approved, they and seniors will have access to a sticker or tag to display on their bike, to prevent criticism from other trail users.
Dias says the Utah Legislature has defined e-bikes as bicycles, not motor vehicles, but local municipalities have been left to decide where e-bikes can go. The current city ordinance allows them on paved trails only. At a council work session earlier in August, trail users and bike shop representatives gave feedback on whether e-bike riders should have access to natural trails.
Dias says the city has been working with Mountain Trails Foundation, Basin Recreation and Summit County to develop an updated plan for e-bikes.
"Trails are a very, very special thing in our community, and I don't think any of us want to denigrate that experience," Dias said. "However, there are e-bikes out there already. People are using them, and we're aware of some conflict that's going on where people are yelling at each other and having these bad experiences, and so we'd like to try something out to see if we can create a better balance."
The city council is scheduled to discuss the e-bike pilot program and vote on amending the current e-bike ordinance during their regular meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building. Dias encourages the public to provide input at that time.