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E-bikes may soon be allowed on Boulder bike paths

11:33 AM, Jan 14, 2014   |    comments
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(Photo credit should read ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

BOULDER - It's no surprise Boulder has a great system for biking. From street bike lanes to beautiful paths, there's no shortage of ways to get around on two wheels.

Right now, the city says 10 percent of its population bikes to work every day. They hope to soon have as much as 15 percent biking to work, and there is a plan in the works to make it happen.

The City of Boulder is updating its Master Transportation Plan this year. One part of that plan includes updating bike paths across the city.

They hope to incorporate the use of e-bikes into this new plan. An e-bike is an electric bike. According to Colorado State Law, an e-bike can have a motor up to 750 watts, and it can be powered up to 20 mph.

This city's pilot project is putting this question to the test: Can regular bikes, e-bikes and pedestrians co-existing on the same paths?

Right now, e-bikes are only allowed to operate on roadways, those with street bike lanes. But until December 2014, the city is allowing them on the following paths: http://bit.ly/1hT4tze.

Marni Ratzel, the Senior Transportation Planner at the City of Boulder, says even though many people are unfamiliar with e-bikes, there's a growing population of users in Boulder alone. She's seeing vendors pop up that exclusively sell these types of bikes.

There is some push back when it comes to this pilot project. Some pedestrians are worried about sharing space with an e-bike, saying it's too dangerous because of its potential speed.

Ratzel says this is a concern cyclists and pedestrians have had for years when they have shared the same paths.

Ratzel says this one-year test will be vital in the city's final decision of allowing if e-bikes will coexist with pedestrians and other cyclists. They want residents to weigh in on over this next year at inspireboulder.com.

The city will take time to observe various paths across the city to monitor the interaction between e-bikes, cyclists and pedestrians.

Also, they will be surveying people on each path as well. 

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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