Letter: In praise of e-bikes
As visitors from Iowa who own property and frequently vacation in Colorado, we were shocked to read the editorial and letter to the editor in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent regarding the RFTA proposal to ban e-bikes from the Rio Grande Trail.
Two of our favorite rides are the Rio Grande Trail and the Glenwood Canyon Trail. We would be very unhappy to no longer have access to one or more of these trails since my wife, Judy, is now riding a class 3 e-bike as the result of chronic knee problems. She chose this model for its 100-mile range, not for its speed.
E-bikes are not very common now, but as older riders or those with physical restrictions find that they can continue to enjoy biking on varied terrain, these bikes will become more common. Judy did not move to an e-bike because of inexperience. In 45 years of bicycling, she has ridden across Iowa on RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) 38 times, in addition to biking in many states. The most recent (RAGBRAI 2017) was enabled by the e-bike.
Our bicycle club had one other e-bike rider on RAGBRAI 2017. He was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery and treatment for prostate cancer. RAGBRAI was made possible for him only by the e-bike.
Safe riding on trails or roads is not determined by the type of bicycle. It is dependent on riding to the right, riding single file, passing on the left, wearing helmets, remaining attentive, advising of intent to pass and most of all common courtesy.
Why would the authorities responsible for supervising the bicycle trails want to discourage enjoyment of the trails by those in need of the electrical assist? This would seem to be trying to solve a problem that does not exist at the expense of tourism and enjoyable bicycling by locals and tourists.
Banning these bikes rather than imposing speed limits on the trail seems akin to banning cars capable of exceeding the posted speed limit from the highway, rather than enforcing a speed limit.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Editor’s note: RFTA’s board on Thursday approved e-bikes on the Rio Grande in Garfield County, but Pitkin County has a ban in place for now.