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    HomeLifestyleTrail Talk: Colorado Springs should embrace e-bikes | Lifestyle

    Trail Talk: Colorado Springs should embrace e-bikes | Lifestyle

    Denver residents and community leaders are leading the pack when it comes to e-bikes. Their rebate program is proving to be wildly successful.

    This year the city has paid up to $1,700 to 4,000-plus new e-bike owners. Now they’re factoring e-bikes into their future trail and on-street bike infrastructure plans. Instead of the typical 3-foot bike lane, Denver will recommend a width of 5 feet. Wider bike lanes allow bikes to pass each and provide more distance from traffic.

    In Colorado Springs, we still don’t know if e-bikes are even legal on our most popular urban trails. We do know the number of e-bikes on our trails and in our streets is growing with few reports of problems.

    Encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take an e-bike to work or to run errands is a no-brainer. E-bike use impacts air quality and traffic congestion, and because Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes require some pedaling, they’re good for your health.

    Plus there are currently more federal dollars available for multi-modal projects. Road projects that accommodate people on any kind of bike or electric scooter are going to score higher.

    To really take advantage of e-bikes’ growing popularity, e-bike users must feel safe on the routes they take. Otherwise, the bike is likely to sit in the garage. Bike lanes on busy city streets will not attract as many new e-bike riders as trails will.

    We are fortunate to have a pretty amazing trail system that will improve over the next few years. The Legacy Loop will see significant progress over the next couple of years.

    At the same time, with the exploding popularity of e-bikes, our trails are also likely to become more crowded as our population continues to grow.

    Colorado Springs has “great bones” when it comes to trails. Improved signage that includes safety tips for new riders would help. So would wider bike lanes.

    We’re also looking forward to the four new “trail rangers” in the proposed 2023 city budget. With 120 miles of urban trails, we could use a few more, but it’s a good start.

    Davies is the executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

    Davies is the executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

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