E-bikes on Open Space

E-bikes on Open Space

Public Hearing on Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.

Parks & Open Space staff will present an updated recommendation regarding the use of e-bikes to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The recommendation remains the same as presented at the Aug. 22 Public Hearing, and that is to allow Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on most trails on the plains where bikes are currently allowed for a pilot period of one year.

At the Aug. 22 Public Hearing, the BOCC indicated support for allowing e-bikes on county open space trails, especially trails that serve a commuting purpose. The commissioners did not support allowing e-bikes under an interpretation of the new state law, given that the Boulder County Comprehensive Plan restricts recreation on open space to passive uses, defined in part as non-motorized. The BOCC directed staff to investigate 1) amending the comprehensive plan definition of passive recreation and 2) removing selected trail corridors from open space designation. Please see the Staff Memo for complete analysis of the options.

At the Nov. 8 Public Hearing, staff seeks BOCC decisions on these questions:

  1. Should e-bikes be allowed on selected county trails for a one-year pilot period?
  2. If yes, which trails should be open to e-bikes during the pilot period?
  3. If yes, what avenue would the BOCC like staff to pursue for allowing e-bikes on selected county trails after the pilot period?
    • Explore an update to the comprehensive plan definition of passive recreation during the pilot period, then revisit the question of which trails are appropriate for e-bike access.
    • Change the designation to something other than open space on selected trail corridors where e-bike access is deemed appropriate after the pilot period.

Please see the Staff Memo for complete details.

Thursday, Nov. 8 at 3 p.m.
Boulder County Courthouse – Commissioners’ Hearing Room
1325 Pearl Street, Boulder
Staff Memo

Staff Recommendation for E-bikes on Boulder County Trails

Staff considered public input, community input, trail characteristics, and resource values in the draft recommendation. The recommendation is summarized below.

Staff Recommendation

Based on the change in state law, input from the public, trail characteristics, and management considerations, staff recommends:

  • Allowing class 1 and class 2 e-bikes on regional trails and on all trails on the plains where bikes are allowed, with the exception of three trails: the Coalton Trail, Mayhoffer Singletree Trail, and the Boulder Canyon Trail, as requested by City of Boulder.
  • Prohibiting e-bikes on all foothill and mountain trails.

Staff proposes this recommendation as a pilot program to run through 2019. This will give staff an opportunity to conduct targeted studies on e-bikes at selected parks and trails in order to assess the pilot program.

Interactive Map


Use the interactive web map to view the location of trails where e-bikes would be allowed and prohibited according to the staff recommendation.

slide-icon Click the Slide Icon to move between properties
legend icon Click the Base Map Icon to see the map options
layer icon Click the Layer Icon to see the list of layers
base map icon Click the Legend Icon to see the legend

Internet Explorer is not recommended to view the interactive map

POSAC Meeting

On June 28, the Parks & Open Space Advisory Committee voted 3-2 in favor of the staff recommendation.



E-bikes are classified as motorized vehicles and are only allowed on motorized trails, including Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest (USFS) lands.


E-bikes are classified as bicycles and have the same rights of the road as traditional bicycles. In 2017, HB17-1151 Electrical Assisted Bicycles Regulation Operation was passed. The bill changed Colorado bike law, specifically C.R.S. § 42-4- 1412, to allow Class 1 and 2 electric assisted bicycles on multi-use trails unless explicitly prohibited by the managing land agency. The bill gives local governments the authority to allow or prohibit the use of specified classes of electrical assisted bicycles on pedestrian paths and bike paths.


Local governments have the authority to authorize the use of e-bikes on bike or pedestrian paths. Under the current Rules and Regulations, e-bikes are prohibited.

Individuals with Mobility Disabilities

Individuals with mobility disabilities are allowed to use Other Power-Driven Mobility devices (OPDMDs), which can include e-bikes, on all trails open for pedestrian use unless a particular trail has been designated as inappropriate for use by OPDMDs based upon the assessment factors found in 28 CFR § 35.137(b)(2) of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A current list of trails where OPDMDs are allowed is available on the Accessibility on Open Space page.

What is an E-bike?


E-Bike Definition & Classes

E-bikes, also known as electric bicycles, powerbikes, pedelecs, or booster bikes, are bicycles with an integrated electric motor that does not exceed 750 watts of power.

  • Class 1 e-bikes provide electrical assistance only while the rider is pedaling. Electrical assistance stops when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.
  • Class 2 e-bikes provide electrical assistance regardless if the rider is pedaling or not. Electrical assistance stops when the bicycle reaches 20 mph.

Contact Us

Parks & Open Space

Tina Nielsen