© 2024 KPCW

Spencer F. Eccles Broadcast Center
PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley
Park City | UT | 84060
Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

Music & Artist Inquiries: music@kpcw.org
News Tips & Press Releases: news@kpcw.org
Volunteer Opportunities
General Inquiries: info@kpcw.org
Listen Like a Local Park City & Heber City Summit & Wasatch counties, Utah
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Utah may see e-bike regulation changes and interstate trail connections in the future

Mountain bike season is nearing.
pavel1964 - stock.adobe.com
Mountain bike season is nearing.

The Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation is working on e-bike rules and increasing trail connections.

Utah’s outdoor recreation economy had record-breaking growth in 2022 and it’s still growing. The Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation was created in 2022 to accommodate that growth and is now working on e-bike regulations and trail designs.

Tara McKee is the deputy director of grants and planning at the outdoor recreation office. She said e-bikes are a hot topic every year. To keep trails safe, the office has to think about making and enforcing rules and educating riders. However, McKee said it’s hard to police which bikes are allowed on trails because the line between e-bikes and motorbikes is becoming increasingly blurred.

“We do have continuing need to be looking at and staying ahead of the technology on the e-bikes, so that people aren't getting used to taking something that's very close to the capacities of a lightweight motorcycle out on trails that are meant to be nonmotorized,” she said.

That means the office has to look at how all types of bikes are geared and how fast they can go. Adaptive e-bikes for people with disabilities are also part of the equation. McKee said e-bike technology has made trails more accessible for adaptive riders and the office wants to create a good experience for them too.

“Are the trails needing tweaks to make it possible for them to enjoy those trails as they go out with their families and friends?”

Park City and the Snyderville Basin Recreation District have also been working on e-bike regulations as they have different rules regarding e-bikes. The two entities are working on creating consistent rules.

The outdoor recreation office is also working on creating a trail network crossing state lines. McKee said they are looking to model trails after the Continental Divide Trail, which spans from Canada to Mexico.

“Most of that infrastructure already exists, and there's opportunities to just make some connections, or solve some of the issues that might make doing those trails difficult, such as access to water,” she said.

Utah’s outdoor recreation team will meet with recreation departments from Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming May 13 to 15 to discuss trail connections. The Mountain West Trails Conference will be in Vernal, Utah.