The City Council will take a final vote on Tuesday, June 18 to allow electric bikes on all FUTS trails, both paved and unpaved. These bikes can attain speeds to 20 mph. If anyone would like to see some trails saved for walkers and non-motorized bikes, please write to the council members or speak at the meeting on June 18.
When this issue was discussed at an earlier meeting, many spoke in support of allowing the bikes, which ultimately influenced some councilmembers to be more supportive. I listened to all speakers and can understand the health and enjoyment reasons given. One who has recognized that due to my own health issues, a day may come when I might be confronted with the recreational need for a battery powered device.
It seems the needs of the health and recreational desires of our biking community have been addressed, except for the children and the walkers. Some trails need to be set aside for this group of people also. I am referring to the parents who want their children to learn to bike in a safe area, and the young moms/dads with jogging strollers and babies. Also, some older folks who prefer walking to biking.
I would like to see Buffalo Park, a destination recreational spot, free of e-bikes. Another suggestion could be the Karen Cooper trail. Even the section of the Arizona Trail that is within Flagstaff should not create a precedent for allowing e-bikes on a trail that’s traveled by backpackers and hikers between Mexico and Utah.
I am fully aware that human-powered bikers can attain speeds of 20+ mph, but are all our trails the place for such speed? Speed limits, especially on trails where e-bikes are allowed, would not only be beneficial to prevent accidents, but also serve as an education tool for our youth.