Legal hurdles loom for Segways on trails
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The City Council’s desire to exempt Segway-type personal transport vehicles from a city ordinance that prohibits motorized vehicles on bike and pedestrian trails may not be so simple.
At their July 19 meeting, council members directed city attorney Jan Shute to draw up a code amendment that would allow Segways and similar two-wheeled, electric-powered devices to use the city trail system.
The move was in response to a request from a local outfitter who gives guided Segway tours around town.
The tours, run by Glenwood Adventure Co., include use of the lower section of the Rio Grande Trail along the Roaring Fork River, and the city’s portion of the Glenwood Canyon Trail out to No Name.
A recent citizen complaint brought to light the city’s prohibition of such devices on city trails. Council members agreed they would like to provide an exemption so that the tours can continue.
However, according to a memo from city attorney Jan Shute to be discussed at tonight’s regular council meeting, there are a few legal complications.
One is a Colorado state statute that prohibits the use of “Electric Personal Assisted Mobility Devices” on designated bike and pedestrian paths.
“It does appear that you could allow for the use of Segways on the roadways and sidewalks,” Shute states in her memo.
Another section of the statute also gives some flexibility to local governments to authorize such devices on bike and pedestrian paths.
Shute said that after the July 19 meeting she was also reminded that easements acquired by the city for some trail sections limit use to non-motorized transportation. That includes the new Atkinson trail along the Roaring Fork River between 27th Street and Three Mile Creek.
In addition, conditions of some of the grants that were used to build certain trail sections could make opening trails up to any type of motorized vehicle difficult, Shute also pointed out.
In any case, it may take longer to do the legal research and prepare the necessary code amendments than earlier thought. Council had hoped to have the amended ordinance in place by the end of August.
In the meantime, council agreed to let the tours continue during the summer tourist season, as long as certain routes are adhered to and there are no problems.
Tonight’s regular city council meeting agenda begins at 7 p.m. at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 W. Eighth St.
A pair of work sessions are also on council’s slate, including a noon meeting with Clark Anderson of the Sonoran Institute to discuss redevelopment concepts for the river confluence area and West Glenwood.
At 5 p.m., council will also meet to discuss local efforts to expand the public and private use of compressed natural gas vehicles locally.
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