Electric Bikes: Trails and Policies

What is an E-bike?

An electric bicycle, also known as an e-bike, powerbike or booster bike, is a bicycle with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion

E-bike Classes

Class 1: Pedal Assist

The electric drive system on the ebike can only be activated through a pedaling action and is limited to relatively low speeds. In America, this class is limited to a motor powered speed of 20 mph (32 kph) with a motor wattage of <= 750 watts.

Class 2: Throttle On Demand

The electric drive system on the ebike can be activated through a throttle element such as a grip-twist, trigger or button and is limited to low speeds. The motor system may also be activated through a pedaling action as with Class 1. In America, the top speed is limited to 20 mph (32 kph) with a motor wattage of <= 750 watts as with Class 1.

Class 3: Speed Pedelec

The electric drive system on the E-bike can be activated through a pedaling action to reach higher top speeds. In America this class could still be considered a “low-speed electric bicycle” if human power propels the bike above 20 mph and as such, does not require special licensing but may be even more restricted to roads, adjacent bike lanes or on private property with a maximum speed ~28 mph (~45 kph) and motor wattage of <= 750 watts.

Class 4: Moped or Motorcycle

The electric drive system can be activated through a pedaling action or throttle. The top speed is above 28 mph (45 kph) and/or the motor wattage may be greater than 750 watts. In all major geographies, this class would be considered a motor vehicle which requires licensing and registration and is limited to certain motorized off-road trails or traditional roads

City Policies

Colorado Springs allows Class 1 E-bikes to operate on Urban Trails.  These trails are typically described as local commuting and recreational trails which traverse neighborhoods and connect to the core of the City of Colorado Springs.

At this time E-bikes are not to be operated on what is commonly known as multi-use trails. These trails are always soft surfaces and are part of large Regional Park or Open Space property infrastructure.

Class 1 E-bikes permitted on the following trails:

  • Cottonwood Creek Trail
  • Homestead Trail
  • Midland Trail
  • Pikes Peak Greenway
  • Rock Island Trail
  • Sand Creek Trail
  • Shooks Run Trail
  • Sinton Trail
  • Stetson Trail
  • Templeton Gap Trail
  • Woodmen Trail
  • Foothills Trail
  • Skyline Trail
  • Rockrimmon Trail
  • Mesa Valley Trail

State Policies

  • State Law treats Class 1 and 2 like bicycles. Class 3 is not allowed in bike lanes.
  •  State parks allow Class 1 on all trails that allow bicycles.

Federal Policies

All classes of E-bikes recognized as “motor vehicles” are not permitted on non-motorized trails.