City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks invites community input on a staff evaluation of e-bikes on city open space and a preliminary staff proposal to allow them on 34 miles of designated trails. Current city policy prohibits e-biking on any city open space trails. Learn more about this City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks’ e-bike effort and share your input through the project webpage.

City staff is assessing three alternatives to consider e-bike use on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks trails, and community input on any or all three alternatives is encouraged. Staff have preliminarily identified Alternative B – allow e-bikes on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks “Plains” trails that allow bikes and the Boulder Canyon Trail – as having the most advantages. It would allow e-bikes on the following 34 miles of open space trails, which represents about 22% of City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks’ trail network.

  • City “Plains” trails located east of Broadway within the City of Boulder limits and east of U.S. Highway 36 north of Boulder and Colorado Highway 93 south of Boulder.
  • The Boulder Canyon Trail, a regional trail located west of Broadway, with a segment on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks’ lands. The trail is maintained by City of Boulder Transportation and Mobility within city limits and Boulder County in unincorporated Boulder County.

The preliminary staff proposal would allow both Class 1 pedal-assist only, and Class 2 pedal assist and throttle-actuated e-bikes, which cease to provide assistance when the bike reaches 20 mph would be allowed. Class 3 bikes would continue to be prohibited on city open space trails.

Community Input Opportunities

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks encourages community members and open space visitors to visit the project web page to review the staff evaluation of alternatives and the preliminary staff proposal for allowing e-bikes on 34 miles of designated city open space trails. The department invites community members to provide their input through an online questionnaire available through the project webpage.

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks also will hold “office hours” to answer questions and help community members who may seek assistance with providing their feedback.

  • Where: OSMP Hub, 2520 55th Street
  • When: Noon to 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 20 and 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 26.

Community members can provide feedback on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks’ preliminary e-bike proposal through Monday, Aug. 8.

Staff’s preliminary proposal of Alternative B (Plains Trails and the Boulder Canyon Trail) is based on:

  • An adaptive management approach to allow e-bikes on city open space. Amending City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks’ e-bike policy will provide flexibility and alternatives to disposal of open space or the selling, transferring or giving land to others to manage, which is not typically a preferred approach, if/when e-bike use is provided or contemplated.
  • Consistent visitor experience across interconnected trails with Boulder County and other City trails. Boulder County Parks & Open Space allows e-bikes on Plains trails except trails with joint ownership interest by City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (Coalton Trail, Boulder Canyon Trail and Mayhoffer Singletree Trail north of Coal Creek Drive).
  • Effectiveness of regulations. A boundary east of Colorado Highway 93 south of Boulder / Broadway / U.S. Highway 36 north of Boulder as the dividing line between “Mountains” and “Plains” trails is a relatively simple geographic boundary that is generally easily understood and therefore likely to be complied with by most community members.
  • Significantly increases equitable access to open space lands by inviting community members of more ages and abilities to enjoy open space trails. E-bikes provide a way for community members experiencing disabilities, those with mobility challenges and our aging population to experience much of Boulder’s open space bicycling network.
  • Supports broader city climate goals. E-biking on City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks trails could increase the percentage of visitors who arrive to open space trails by bike and may contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions typically caused by motor vehicles.

City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks staff will use community input to develop a staff-recommended preferred alternative, which will be presented to the city’s Open Space Board of Trustees (OSBT) later this year.