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Not so fast e-bike riders: Motors aren’t allowed on bike paths in Oregon State Parks

Posted by on July 6th, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-57

Riders on the Historic Columbia River State Trail.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last week we posted a story about how electric bicycles have opened up new riding opportunities in the Columbia River Gorge. But it turns out it’s illegal to ride an e-bike on the Historic Columbia River State Trail — or on any other paved bike path within the Oregon State Parks system.

We’ve since updated that story with a note after learning about the issue from a commenter (Park Chambers, who happens to own Fat Tire Farm and Hood River Bikes) and then confirming the facts in a phone call with an Oregon State Parks spokesperson.

This prohibition of e-bikes on paved trails caught me off-guard. As pedal-assisted bikes gain in popularity, I think the issue merits a closer look.

What the laws say

Right now there’s confusion surrounding the issue because of how state laws are written. I asked bike law expert Charley Gee for a clarification.

“E-bikes are considered motor vehicles and they can’t operate on trails designated for pedestrians and bikes.”
— David Spangler, Oregon State Parks

“Electric-assisted bicycles are not legally bicycles,” Gee said. “But they are given the same status as bicycles under Oregon Revised Statute [ORS] 814.405.” That law states, “An electric assisted bicycle shall be considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute.” The Oregon Vehicle Code is laid out in ORS chapters 801 through 825.

For all other laws, Gee says, “Electric-assisted bicycles are not considered ‘bicycles’ and cannot be considered as such when reading the law.”

In other words, the ORS Vehicle Code deals with highways and roadways and since paved paths meant for non-motorized uses within State Parks are neither, those laws don’t apply.

The State Parks and Recreation Department is governed by chapter 736 of the Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs), which classify electric bikes as ‘motor vehicles’. According to Oregon State Parks East Columbia River Gorge Park Manager David Spangler, “We define ‘motor vehicle’ as anything that has a motor and can transport a person, and we only allow motor vehicles on roads or other areas designated for this use.”

Unlike the Oregon Vehicle Code, which includes a statutory definition of e-bikes (ORS 801.258) and the aforementioned clarifying note about their legal status, the OARs don’t even mention e-bikes. Because of that silence on the topic, Spangler says, “E-bikes are considered motor vehicles and they can’t operate on trails designated for pedestrians and bikes.” (As per OAR 736-010-0025 (3)).

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The no-ride list

Portland to Stub Stewart family camping trip-29.jpg

E-bikes are not allowed on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

Before you plan any e-bike rides in Oregon, you’d be wise to consult the State Parks search tool to see if your route includes any of their trails or paths. Here’s a few parks that are particularly popular for cycling:

  • Banks-Vernonia State Trail
  • Champoeg State Heritage Area
  • Cottonwood Canyon State Park
  • Deschutes River State Recreation Area
  • Elijah Bristow State Park
  • Fort Stevens State Park
  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail – Tooth Rock Trailhead
  • L.L. Stub Stewart State Park
  • La Pine State Park
  • OC and E Woods Line State Trail
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • Willamette Mission State Park

Is this a bad thing?

Yuba Spicy Curry cargo bike-3.jpg

Does Oregon really want to prohibit people from riding e-bikes in State Parks?

Unlike the raging and ongoing debate around e-MTBs on dirt singletrack, there’s no conservation or environmental controversy around paved trails. The argument for e-bikes on paved trails is very strong. They open up cycling to a huge new market of people who would otherwise never get in the saddle. The argument against them is probably the all-too-familiar philosophical objection against motors of any kind in non-motorized areas.

But what’s worse? A tourist on an e-bike rolling along at 18 mph while soaking up fantastic views of the Gorge — or someone training for a race on a high-end road bike swooshing downhill while narrowly avoided other path users? According to Spangler with Oregon State Parks, the latter scenario is the problem his office currently struggles with.

We can fix this

“I have no comment. All I know is e-bikes are wonderful.”
— Stephen Demosthenes, owner of e-bike rental business in Mosier

Like many annoying bike law issues (Idaho stops, mandatory sidepath laws, and so on), the big problem here is that we’re forced to deal with a set of laws that hasn’t kept up with advances in how bicycles are made or used. The status of e-bikes in the OAR needs to be addressed. Currently, Oregon State Parks is unable to issue a clear statement about their use and it’s leading to confusion among users and business owners.

Park Chambers, the Hood River bike shop owner, doesn’t rent e-bikes because he knows they’re illegal on the paths many of his customers would likely ride on — like the popular Twin Tunnels segment of the Historic Columbia River State Trail between Hood River and Mosier. But the legal status hasn’t stopped Mosier-based Route 30 Classics owner Stephen Demosthenes (the business owner we highlighted last week) from renting them. When asked for his opinion about renting e-bikes to customers who are very likely to ride them illegally, he said, “I have no comment. All I know is e-bikes are wonderful.”

With two new shops in Hood River now renting e-bikes, and with the Historic Columbia River State Trail getting more popular every year, this issue will only get worse if nothing is done about it. A sensible approach might be to focus on a maximum bicycle speed limit (20 mph let’s say) instead of whether or not the bicycle has a low-power, pedal-assisted motor.

Putting aside the debate about motors on bicycles, confusion in the public based on lack of legal clarity is not a good thing. We need to amend the OAR so that State Parks can give the public a simple “yes” or “no” answer about e-bikes on their paved paths. The OAR rulemaking process must begin with the agency itself; but on an issue like this it’s unlikely State Parks would take that first step until they are encouraged to do so by the public and/or a lawmaker, advocacy group, or other policymaking body.

So who’s up for it?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

What is it about paths through parks that makes them not highways, constitutionally not eligible for gas tax funds, and subject to administrative rule rather than traffic law? Certainly the ones named “state trail” and “highway state trail” would seem to fit. https://www.oregonlaws.org/glossary/definition/highway

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

We could also use some clarification of multi-use path (which is legally just a sidewalk, unless it’s a bike path?) with regard to right-of-way, speed limits, and use of electric bikes.

Michael Williams
Guest
Michael Williams

I am surprised at the top speeds people are willing to attribute to e-bikes that are treated the same as bicycles. I believe 20 MPH was mentioned in this article (too lazy to look it up). Many e-bike riders will have low or no bike handling skills. I would love to have them out there riding but dread giving them a 20 MPH motorcycle on a crowded path. Tourist rentals are probably the epitome of that scenario. Am I just being too elitist? Maybe…

rick
Guest
rick

just wow. but we saw how higher speed limits worked out for ODOT in recent years on state highways.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

“But what’s worse? A tourist on an e-bike rolling along at 18 mph while soaking up fantastic views of the Gorge — or someone training for a race on a high-end road bike swooshing downhill while narrowly avoided other path users? According to Spangler with Oregon State Parks, the latter scenario is the problem his office currently struggles with.”

Both are a menace and should be strongly discouraged.

My guess is that the reason Spangler worries more about e-bikes is that road cyclists come down hard on those who ride MUPs at high speed so the number of offenders is small — the only people who actually do this are physically strong newer riders who don’t know better.

Tourists on e-bikes riding close to 20mph is a terrible idea. That kind of speed is inappropriate on busier paths with newer riders and is an especially bad idea for those who lack judgment or handling skills.

I see no problem with a little boost to help elderly or those facing physical difficulties, but let’s be real. If they allow electric bikes, that’s not who’s going to show up.

J_R
Guest
J_R

I began sailing before there were Jet Skis, aka personal watercraft. I can tell you with certainty that on the water, the ability to go fast with little effort and no training causes otherwise reasonable people to do really, really stupid things that put themselves and others at risk. Not all of them, mind you, but a disproportionate share of people with a throttle that allows them do things effortlessly fail to recognize or appreciate their personal limitations or those of their conveyance.

I worry that power assisted bikes operated by novices on state park trails, where they think they are safe from cars, will be increasing the risk to other users.

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

From personal experience…

My sons attend a local high school. One of their friends, at age 15, became the proud owner of a Walmart MTB with an after market electric motor assist. Top speed *without pedaling* was ~45 mph. (I think it’s faster now because it was “upgraded”.)

I asked him if he had to use the pedals… The answer was – “I only pedal when there are cops around”.

One of my sons asked for one. “Because it’s just a bicycle Dad!” My answer was, hell no! It’s a freaking motorcycle.

The law hasn’t caught up to technology yet. So be careful what you ask for – you just might get it.

I’m sure riding the old scenic highway at 45 to 50 would be a blast! What could possibly go wrong?

Beeblebrox
Guest
Beeblebrox

Thank you for reporting on this issue. This is a terrible legal oversight that needs to be changed. If I wanted to go ride the Columbia Gorge Trail with my aging parents, I could probably convince them to rent electric assist bikes to do it, but there’s no way they would use regular bikes. So this law is basically denying access based on physical limitations.

Peter Hass
Guest
Peter Hass

I think e-bikes are a real game changer. Not just for old, sore knee crowd but for the young and healthy too. I’ve seen websites that sell e-bikes capable of speeds of 28mph and greater…even over 40mph. My prediction is that it won’t be long until we routinely see several of these motorized bikes blasting along bike lanes and multi-use paths at speeds greater than 20mph. Heck, I’m already seeing a lot more of them. Human powered bike riders who have the financial means may decide to buy one these stealthy steeds just to keep up! And “No motorized vehicles” and/or “20mph speed limit” signs won’t slow the flow because, like with cars, there will be little to none enforcement.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Jonathan – add the Interstate Bridge/ Delta Park Bikeway to your list

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Closer to home this affects the paved trail in Tryon Creek and the MUP and trails at Banks-Vernonia and Stubb Stewart SP.

John Liu
Subscriber

Throttles open the door to more problems than human power. We know that from the roads.

Maybe the parks could test access to e-bikes through a pilot program. Pick a couple of varied trails, allow e-bikes for a couple of years, see what happens.

There is no reason why decisions like this have to be made in one big statewide move without the benefit of testing and experience.

Norah Macey
Guest
Norah Macey

If e-bikes stay under 10 mph (the posted speed limit) then what does it matter?

The eBike Store
Guest

This is flat wrong! eBikes are legally bicycles.

2015 ORS 814.405¹
Status of electric assisted bicycle

An electric assisted bicycle shall be considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute. [1997 c.400 §4]

The eBike Store
Guest

under David Spangler’s interpretation, electric wheelchairs are not allowed on paved paths either then.

Jeff S
Guest
Jeff S

I don’t think e-bikes are going to go away even though I personally think life was just fine without them. I find there use is mainly for the elderly, the physically challenged or people who just want it to be easy. Limiting the speed to 15 mph for all both e and pedal bikes on these public trails would be a good thing. You are always goin to get a few who won’t adhere to the rules but I tend to think it’s more often than not the Strava ahole not the ebiker that’s blowing by you.

Big Knobbies
Guest
Big Knobbies

This type of bureaucratic over-reach is exactly why Trump was elected. People are just getting fed up with it. In the case of the federal government, which he’s over, we’d be talking hundreds of thousands of rules and regulations that are over the top.

Drew
Guest
Drew

I was passed by a jerk on a modified electric longtail on the springwater. It was going at least 30mph. Just blew by me/buzzed me without bell or any notice. Scary. It changed my opinion of electric bikes.

mpeasee
Guest
mpeasee

What seems to be missing from the dialogue is sustainability of battery life when using an ebike. Yes- you can go 35 or 40 with an illegal hacked ebike, but its not sustainable to do so on a ride that is 7-15 miles; any longer your SOL on your return unless its downhill. You’ll learn your lesson the hard way (depending on your rig setup)…ebikes can be heavy when spent of power (tourist riders in the gorge). Throttling uses lots of power too, it will not sustain for long without pedal assist…you have to pedal. Folks should be able to roll as long as gas and combustion is not allowed. Its good that the law is vague- it too can evolve, hopefully towards the future and more freedoms for all bikes.

Skip
Guest
Skip

As a long-time bike commuter (25 years), and more recent ebike commuter (2 years), I am disheartened by the anectodal “I had a bad experience with an ebike rider who was being a jerk – so now I’m against ebikes” arguments peppered through these comments.

This is the same erroneous logic used by car drivers to bad-mouth bikes in general over the years (“I saw a bike rider break laws and ride like an idiot – so now I’m against bicyclists.”)

There will, of course, be inappropriate jerks or incompetent riders no matter what they are riding.

I was cut off by a group of obviously inexperienced teenagers on Biketown bikes causing me to crash to the ground as they rode away a few weeks ago. Am I justified in painting EVERY Biketown rider as incompetant, uncaring jerks?

Of course not.

As with everything, there are going to be exceptions that shade opinions about a particular group and give justification for any point of view.

Let’s hope that bikes and ebikes can share the road/trail/path moving forward.

It would be a real shame for folks to draw lines in our already small community.

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

Kyle Banerjee
I don’t doubt this describes most of the people who actually buy/use e-bikes nor that there’s an issue with these riders.
However, I don’t think these ratios will carry themselves to the parks and paths. More importantly, I worry simply allowing e-bikes will bring some very dangerous mоrons in.
Despite the amount of harshing I do on e-bikes, I not only recommend them for some people, but I’ve helped set some people up. But 100% of those cases were for people who had a legitimate need.
I don’t know if it would be practical to allow e-bikes ridden by those who qualify for disability permits and to have a brutal fine for riding an e-bike illegally (accompanied by some random enforcement).
Recommended 1

100 years ago people believed women shouldn’t be riding bikes either. Now we know how silly it is to limit ones freedom on what kind of bike we choose to ride.

Thus, e-bikes are available to everyone and anyone who decides to own one. Young or old.

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

Drew
I was passed by a jerk on a modified electric longtail on the springwater. It was going at least 30mph. Just blew by me/buzzed me without bell or any notice. Scary. It changed my opinion of electric bikes.
Recommended 2

Really? so if a black person or woman blows by you, should you negatively change your mind as well? Why are we even judging others?

Phil Richman
Subscriber

If every SOV driver traded for an e-bike the world would be a better place.

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

Alex
I was just in Europe for 3 weeks and e-bikes were everywhere. They shared MUPs all over the place and I didn’t see any conflict. I saw all ages – but usually it was the 50+ crowd on the ebikes.
Regarding your ebike comment on naito/esplanade – I honestly wish they would rent them. That being said, they should also have signs up reminding people to share the path, peds stay to the right, act predictable, don’t stop in the middle of the path, try to separate the foot/bike traffic as much as possible, etc.
Have you seen any real world experiences with ebikes? Or is your opinion all conjecture? Honest curiosity to what your experiences have been – not trying to be a jerk.
Recommended 10

Aa Kyle was callled out in other articles about e-bikes: he has never ridden one himself. I was wondering that myself: what alternate reality does Kyle live in?

SAM jonas
Guest
SAM jonas

Skip
As a long-time bike commuter (25 years), and more recent ebike commuter (2 years), I am disheartened by the anectodal “I had a bad experience with an ebike rider who was being a jerk – so now I’m against ebikes” arguments peppered through these comments.
This is the same erroneous logic used by car drivers to bad-mouth bikes in general over the years (“I saw a bike rider break laws and ride like an idiot – so now I’m against bicyclists.”)
There will, of course, be inappropriate jerks or incompetent riders no matter what they are riding.
I was cut off by a group of obviously inexperienced teenagers on Biketown bikes causing me to crash to the ground as they rode away a few weeks ago. Am I justified in painting EVERY Biketown rider as incompetant, uncaring jerks?
Of course not.
As with everything, there are going to be exceptions that shade opinions about a particular group and give justification for any point of view.
Let’s hope that bikes and ebikes can share the road/trail/path moving forward.
It would be a real shame for folks to draw lines in our already small community.
Recommended 3

Whats also disheartening? lots of people who aren’t speaking up to opinions like you describe. Is this bigotry? Intolerance?

I’m ashamed that people of our dear cycling community think this way.

Roland Klasen
Guest
Roland Klasen

I recently purchased a 28mph ebike and it enables me to commute from North Portland to Tigard every day with ease.

Drew
Guest
Drew

John L wrote: By god, let’s punish everyone that rides an ebike because of that one jerk you met in passing (literally) once.

I got buzzed by some serious kinetic energy at a high rate of speed on a narrow MUP. It was the scariest episode so far, and like I wrote, my opinion about electric bikes has changed. Yes I have been buzzed by racers on MUPs, but this is much different. Fyi my bicycling experience spans 45 years, many thousands of miles a year. Electric bikes are coming and that is mostly a good thing, but there is a dark side to this as well.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

Extremely good question.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.

How are ebikes in state parks going to be enforced? I’ve never seen a police officer and rarely do I see park rangers on trails.

Paul Z
Guest
Paul Z

I just rode the Mosier Twin Tunnels trail yesterday end to end (non e-bike). Having seen your article about the e-bike rental shop in Mosier I specifically asked at the Hood River trailhead office, and was told by the volunteer behind the counter that e-bikes “are” allowed there. My wife has run a RideKick trailer there without any problems (she’d be “walking” the grades otherwise!). However, I didn’t see any e-bikes on the trail.

Goretex Guy
Guest
Goretex Guy

Since when have cyclists been concerned about following all the laws? If we can justify blowing red lights, etc, surely we can rationalize riding ebikes anywhere.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Is there no way to post “BICYCLES SPEED 10 WHEN PEDESTRIANS ARE PRESENT” signs?

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

So, regular bike riders can be reckless. And e-bikes increase the chances that much more for reckless behaviors/accidents–esp. because of the newbie factor. So, the answer is… to allow e-bikes on non-motorized vehicle pathways? Because anyone can be a careless jerk, and so we should be equally fair to all careless jerks?

It would seem we have it within our power to minimize the possibility of accidents by regulating path usage more strictly and without having to rely on our faith in humanity to do the right thing. I don’t know about you, but my faith in humanity is near nil at the moment–esp. in this city, right now.

Norah Macey
Guest
Norah Macey

I’m a 66 yr old grandmother, and a very experienced cyclist, have led groups around Victoria for many years. If I want to cycle on Oregon State park paths at around 8 mph, just enjoying the scenery and the air, why does it matter whether its an e-bike or a bike? I recently did the bike path in Astoria, gorgeous views of Columbia River, on my e-bike. I went slowly, and stopped to let pedestrians pass. I’m not dangerous, or a “jerk”, just purring along very slowly. My view is that there should be a speed limit, and it should be enforced. Please don’t discriminate against someone on an e-bike, we’re not all newbies, or dangerous, or jerks. Some of us are just grandmothers.

VRU
Guest
VRU

always great to see a portland native who lifted themselves up by their bootstraps.

WJI
Guest
WJI

Next they will make it illegal for me to ride my old Vespa on these paths. WTF.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

So what. Don’t be a jerk, ride the paths and live/let live. It’s gonna take some jerk cop ticketing before it’s changed. The whole segment is small. Enjoy life

Mike Christy
Guest
Mike Christy

2015 ORS 814.405¹
Status of electric assisted bicycle

An electric assisted bicycle shall be considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute. [1997 c.400 §4]

KBT
Guest
KBT

I ride one of those longtail cargo bikes with a high powered motor referred to previously in this discussion (raises hand). I live in an area surrounded by steep hills and this has enabled me to replace thousands of car trips to transport kid to school and back, to and from sports, to and from shopping, etc etc. I’ll confess, I own three cars and also three motorcycles and barely use them except for out of town trips or hauling heavy building materials occasionally, I prefer to ride my electric bikes.

I am a very experienced cyclist, worked in a bike shop, know how to ride safely and share the paths with other riders and try to do so. I hate getting lumped in with a few idiots who utilize ebikes and ride irresponsibly. Electric bicycles have an amazing potential to eliminate a whole lot of ICV traffic, IMO their useage should be encouraged. Education on their safe responsible usage is going to be part of that-they’re coming like it or not (look at Europe), especially when gas prices spike again (and they will, matter of time). Needs to be ebike education in high school, just like Driver’s Ed for ICV’s.

Nuala
Guest
Nuala

Lots of great comments- especially in regards to understanding that e-bikes allow disabled folks access. Just another note, the majority of physical disabilities are not visible. That means that often people need assist, but you might not be able to tell by looking at them. Having said that, do not assume that disabled folks have lower navigating skills than non-ebike riders. Any speed limit should be for all riders and not arbitrarily put on accommodation devices. Cheers.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Re: The USDA arbitrary stance that “E-bikes are not considered an assistive devise.
This stance discriminates against those with disabilities.
There are good citizens, including veterans who have had to electrify their bikes, for assisted peddling. Veterans have obvious reasons for their disabilities. Others have life changing injuries or congenital issues. A lot of us are just getting older: hip, knee, neck and back problems. Chronic disabilities. Everyone will get to that place where they need some assistance because of this disability. Healthy and fit people who ride daily or weekly through the forest sometimes need assisted peddling. There are good days and bad days. Who knows what kind of day it will be until after riding through the forest when it becomes a bad day? Also an issue, E-biker’s are confronted and threatened up in the middle of now-where about your e-bike. The USDA’s stance has motivated cycle vigilantes.
These e-bikes are considered the same as bikes under Oregon State Law 814.405 and 801.258 (https://bikeportland.org/2010/08/26/e-bikes-the-law-and-you-38493). Furthermore, Oregon State Parks do not take USDA’s stance on E-bikes, they are permitted in all Oregon State Parks, without incident. Why has the USDA taken the arbitrary stance that “e-bikes are not considered an assistive devise”? https://bendtrails.org/wp-content/uploads/e-bikes-reminder.pdf?
E-bikes are built to assist the rider. That’s why they are advertised as “assisted pedaling”. And for people like us, e-bikes are the only way to enjoy our forest….safely. According to the USDA’s nondiscrimination statement, this stance may be in violation. E-biker’s should not be discriminated against for their inability to safety pedal, e.g., up hills or for extended endurance. These are healthy people who for many reasons have become slightly less able than non-disabled riders who just want to make it back home safely. 50, 60, 70+ year olds who have been riding trails for many decades should not be restricted from their pursuit of enjoying our national forest. We need to encourage people to lead an active and healthy life style. Keeping people healthy can save taxpayers millions of dollars each year. E-bikes allow many disabled and the elderly the ability to enjoy the forest the same as anyone. We need to slightly tweak USDA’s decision. I suggest the USDA waive e-bikes for individuals with a disability, which would include people with arthritis, joint trauma or any issues that may at times impair their ability to pedal a bike up hill or for long durations at a time. A letter from a medical doctor, certifying the person’s disability or condition would be mandatory for a reasonable accommodation permit to be issued from the USDA. All e-bikes must follow the rules of the road, http://bikeleague.org/content/rules-road-0
and be restricted to a maximum of 20 per hour while in assist mode on all trails.

Larry C
Guest
Larry C

OK, couldn’t read all of these comments but got the gist of it. I am a pretty fit 69 year old whose been a recreational rider all my life. Had a MTB built in 1980 before they were massed produced. My wife and I are e bike riders. We just got to where the hills were just too difficult for us, but we don’t consider ourselves “seniors” or disabled. We love our ebikes. These bikes allow us to get a great workout and travel enough distance to make that workout enjoyable. It still takes considerable energy to climb a hill on an e bike. This controversy actually caught us off guard for 2 reasons. Federal law considers our bikes “non motorized” because they are under 500w and limited to 20mph. OR law is a little more liberal. My wife’s bike has a throttle, class 2, and mine does not, have to pedal, and it is a class 1, but both fit the federal and OR standard. Something I have not seen mentioned is that although we can “turn off” our electric assist, our bikes weigh around 50 lbs, so we must use some of our assist power to overcome this weight disadvantage. We have not had any incidents while riding our bikes. These bikes are also expensive. I see no reason that we should be excluded from enjoying state park and other public use paths in our state. As mentioned, this has become common in the rest of the world. As for “inexperienced riders”, first, everyone was inexperienced at one time, and also, these bikes are just as “unforgiving” as any non powered bike, so lack of attention or skill will definitely get the attention of anyone in that class. As for reckless/irresponsible law breaking hooligans, that is an enforcement issue, not a reason to exclude ordinary law abiding citizens from public facilities. I hope reason prevails and OR can allow all citizens to enjoy our public parks and lands.

david c
Guest
david c

I have an ebike. And yes 20 mph is the top speed. But it is not like a motor cycle. It takes a while to get there and doesn’t take much incline to slow you down. So for those people that say 20 is too high, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Not only that but it taxes the battery to try and run full out 20 mph. Battery will go dead very quickly so you will have to rely on pedal power after that. When I do ride there are plenty of people that pass me by on regular bikes.

I am 64 and ride for pleasure. I would love to ride the CZ trail out where I live in Columbia county. I have never hit a pedestrian or another cyclist yet. And people that think that all the people that get ebikes are new to riding bicycles are just presumptuous. What a dumb thing to say. It’s people that don’t want to have to work too hard to be mobile. Lazy, maybe weak but I don’t think people that buy ebikes don’t know how to ride a bike.

Tony
Guest
Tony

I have two eBikes. eBikess should be allowed anywhere a regular ebike is allowed. An eBike is just a regular bike plus an electric motor. I don’t understand what the concern is about them. The top speed of the bike with the motor engaged is 20miles/hr. That’s controlled by the computer to abide by the law. After that the motor disconnects and the biker has to rely soley on leg musles. An eBike is a lot heavier than a regular bike because of the weight of the battery and the motor, so good luck for an eBike rider going faster than 20 miles/hr on such a heavy bike relying on leg muscles only. If the concern is the bike’s speed, then we should be concerned with all those riders on racing bikes going 30+miles/hr which an eBike can’t do because of the bike’s weight. Think about it more carefully if you’re against eBikes. If you’re a cyclist and you get health or physical issues which make you too weak to ride a regular bike, you will be thankful that you can ride an eBike. Don’t be selfish.

Tony
Guest
Tony

9watts
“An eBike is just a regular bike plus an electric motor. I don’t understand what the concern is about them.”Early motorcycles were (also) just regular bicycles plus a gas motor. What is the concern? The interest?Recommended 0

They were polluting, big and very noisy. Pretty good reasons to keep them out then and now, don’t you think?

Tony
Guest
Tony

9watts
I don’t think any of those were true initially. And definitions of what is offensive, polluting, dangerous changes all the time. We have had and I predict will continue to debate whether electric propulsion is or is not polluting.My stance is that as fun/profitable/sexy as it is to use electricity for tasks once accomplished by muscles and the metabolism of sunlight, the world we are fast approaching has run out of atmosphere to accommodate this preference. I’d love to be wrong; enjoy using electricity for a variety of tasks as much as the next person. I just refuse to claim any climate virtues for electricity.Recommended 0

I am sure you don’t want to be biking behind a 2 stroke gas engine bicycle. There’s no way this can be compared to an electric bike in terms of how one negatively affects a nearby riders. I am not sure about your understanding what an eBike is. It’s pedal assisted biking using a regular bike. I have the choice to bike with zero assistance or different levels of assistance. I don’t it’s any one’s business how I pedal.
Everyone is charging all kinds of electric devices and appliances at home. An electric bike is just another device. The people who are against electric cars and bikes and the use of electricity should stop using electricity and electric devices altogether, otherwise I find them hypocrites. I would rather live in a city full of electric cars than gas powered cars. Electricity is a renewable type of energy.

Tony
Guest
Tony

9watts
“The people who are against electric cars and bikes and the use of electricity should stop using electricity and electric devices altogether, otherwise I find them hypocrites.”You aren’t reading my posts very closely. I recognize the risks, uncertainties, consequences of all electrical end uses. But in this particular context we are discussing a fairly ‘new’ electrical end use. Expanding our reliance on electricity into the transportation field is no small potatoes. How or whether we make this move is hugely consequential for our climate. Let’s face it: right now we are unable to generate but a small fraction of our electrical demand from renewable sources. To blithely endorse a massive expansion of our electrical demand without acknowledging the likely (inevitable?) repercussions for the fuel mix in the electrical sector is simply inadequate, myopic.Recommended 0

I am OK with any debates about eBikes. Some people said they are too fast and I said they are not. They are too heavy to go faster than 20 miles/hr when the biker has to pedal only. The regular bikes are faster, especially when they are going downhill. Anything that happens from any eBike towards others is due to the biker, not the bike itself. Bikers should be riding safely and courteously, whether they are on an eBike or regular bike. I want to enjoy the trails like any other biker.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

It cracks me up the number of hard core cyclists that are against e bikes. It really just makes you come off as a purist snob. Kind of the Lycra patrol that believes true riders onlybwear clicky shoes and ride bikes that cost more than a a small car. It really does. Look in the mirror. You are being an exclusionist.
The goal here is to decrease four wheeled travel where and when possible and move to a two wheeled or two legged move where and when possible. Even buses are downright terrible for people walking or riding.

If our only problem was charging electric bikes, compared to the ongoing world war we have to keep cheap oil flowing….would that be so bad?

9 watts, please put things in perspective before trying to take away something from your team mate. I want a world filled with polite ebikers.

Tony
Guest
Tony

9watts
“The people who are against electric cars and bikes and the use of electricity should stop using electricity and electric devices altogether, otherwise I find them hypocrites.”You aren’t reading my posts very closely. I recognize the risks, uncertainties, consequences of all electrical end uses. But in this particular context we are discussing a fairly ‘new’ electrical end use. Expanding our reliance on electricity into the transportation field is no small potatoes. How or whether we make this move is hugely consequential for our climate. Let’s face it: right now we are unable to generate but a small fraction of our electrical demand from renewable sources. To blithely endorse a massive expansion of our electrical demand without acknowledging the likely (inevitable?) repercussions for the fuel mix in the electrical sector is simply inadequate, myopic.Recommended 0

I know where you’re going with this. Very few people use eBikes in Portland. The extra use of eBikes has no effect on the power grid. Why is this even a concern when a ton more people are charging their laptops, computers running when not in use and using AC all day long just to feel a little cooler. We’re talking about eBikes that get charged with a miniscule amount of electricity. I think you’re blowing their effect very much out of proportion.

I would like to keep this discussion in focus. The objections of their use in public trails.