E-Bikes Expand Horizons and Allow for Greater Use
Electronic bikes — or e-bikes — are giving a “leg up” to commuters of all ages and abilities to
bike to work every day. They enable cyclists to ride farther and tackle tougher terrain with
their power-assist motors, and increase accessibility to routes such as the new US 36 Bikeway.
At the beginning of 2016, Commuting Solutions (formerly 36 Commuting Solutions) convened government staff from Boulder, Louisville, Superior, Broomfield and Westminster to encourage local communities to adopt electronic bike ordinances that would allow e-bikes on the US 36 Bikeway and other local cycling facilities. They had previously been prohibited due to their battery-powered motors.
The US 36 Bikeway is 18 miles long, connecting communities throughout the northwest Denver metro region. Not only does it connect businesses to their employees, it also makes biking to work a safer commute option.
E-bikes help commuters travel farther and also help riders pedal across challenging terrain that would otherwise be too difficult. To put this into perspective, the US 36 Bikeway has a 300-foot elevation gain when riding Davidson Mesa into and out of Boulder. This can be a muscle-burning climb for an experienced rider and a lung-busting task for a novice cyclist. E-bikes allow cyclists to decide when they want to pedal solo and when they need an extra power boost.
Expanding city ordinances along the US 36 Bikeway to allow e-bikes on the path would mean increasing access to cycling for all ages and abilities. We are pleased that Boulder, Louisville and Superior have approved an e-bike ordinance and Broomfield and Westminster are in the process of doing the same. In addition, a state bill passed the legislature this session which enables e-bike usage unless a community opposes it. This is exciting progress!