Following a successful six-month pilot project, the use of two classifications of electric bicycles has been approved for use on all JCPRD paved trails, effective immediately.
During its Feb. 19 regular monthly meeting, the Johnson County Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners voted to approve a variance of JCPRD’s Code of Regulations relating to using a motorized conveyance on all of JCPRD’s paved trails.
“They are suspending the code that limits the ability for patrons to use motorized vehicles on our paved trails,” said Superintendent of Parks & Golf Courses Bill Maasen. “They are waiving the enforcement of that code to allow Class 1 and Class 3 pedal-assist e-bikes on our multipurpose paved trails.”
Approved for use on trails are e-bikes in Class 1, which can reach speeds up to 20 miles per hour, and Class 3, which can reach speeds of up to 28 miles per hour. Both classes are considered “pedal-assist,” meaning that the rider propels the bike normally, while a motor aids in powering the rear wheel. In practice, rider should always base their actual trail speeds on safe operation.
Not allowed are e-bikes in Class 2, which are throttle-operated and do not require any additional pedaling by the rider. Other vehicles such as motorized scooters and Segways are also still prohibited on JCPRD trails.
JCPRD’s e-bike pilot program ran from July 15 of last year through Jan. 15. Throughout this period, a survey was posted on JCPRD.com, comments were received via email, and two demonstration days were planned, although one was rained out. During the demonstration event that took place, participants could ride e-bikes and were encouraged to complete a pre- and post-ride survey. During the pilot program, a total of 17 email comments were received, and included 14 in favor and three against e-bikes. The online survey was completed by 27 individuals with 81 percent in favor, 11 percent against, and 7 percent unsure.
Based on these results, and the fact that cities in the area, including Olathe, Lenexa, and Leawood, already allow these two classes of e-bikes, JCPRD staff recommended allowing the two classes of e-bikes on paved trails.
“It’s a non-issue,” Maasen said. “If there are interactions in a negative way on our trails regarding bikes, it’s not the bike, it’s the user. It’s a user issue, not a bike issue.”