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Bend’s new shared e-bike rules and regulations for trails and parks rely on self-awareness

(Update: Adding video and comments from Bend Park and Recreation)

E-bikes are growing in popularity and so is the concern over their speed

BEND ,Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend isn't new to biking, but e-bikes are starting to become more popular, drawing some controversy. Bend recently became the first city in Oregon to offer Bird's rentable e-bikes, meant to make the area more accessible.

There have been e-bike complaints regarding the speed and how fast they can go. E-bikes are allowed on any Bend Park and Recreation District trail where a pedal-only bike is allowed, as long as it's a Class 1 e-bike.

Park board Chair Ariel Mendez recalled an instance when an e-bike collided with another trail user, causing injuries.

Another person contacted NewsChannel 21 to report a fast-moving e-bike passed him at Riverbend Park, scaring him and his dog.

"The park district rules requires that users not do anything to disturb or harm other people's enjoyment while in the parks," Mendez said Thursday.

"So a lot of this comes down to, are you being courteous, are you being respectful? Frankly, e-bikes are so fun, if you haven't tried one. Once you do try one, you won't be able to stop smiling. But we have to find a way to make sure we do it in a harmonious way."

There are three types of e-bikes. Type 1 is limited to 20 miles per hour and requires the rider to pedal to activate the motor. Type 2 allows riders to go up to 20 miles per hour with an electric motor assist without pedaling. Type 3 is faster and more powerful, going up to 28 miles per hour. The Type 2 and 3 e-bikes are not permitted on park district trails in Bend.

But some residents we encountered were supportive of the new travel mode.

"Bend has a lot of congestion, and anything we can do to kind of alleviate the congestion is great," Jason Karn said.

"I don't think they're too loud by any means," he said. "Sometimes people ride the non-pedal ones on the sidewalk. I think that's kind of unacceptable. If you're going to do that, you need to ride really low speeds or something like that. But, other than that, I think they're a great new project in the modern age."

Mendez said that ultimately, it all comes down to self-awareness.

The U-S Forest Service has banned e-bikes on trails where motorized vehicles are prohibited.

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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

Comments

21 Comments

    1. This was a solution looking for a problem (and will become one). Bend has been touting itself as a health focused outdoor community which the e-bikes will add zero value to overall health. Probably good time to learn magnet-fishing to start capturing the soaking e-bikes in Mirror Pond…

      1. E bikes help those who can’t peddle far or hard. They are fun and absolutely increase one’s health. Usually, the owners are older people. We are able to go farther on ours than with no battery. So you really think that people don’t peddle with these? Ours only go at most 20 MPH.

        1. Fine, at 20+ mph, tool around town. I think that’s great, saves gas. But stay off the trails that are used by unassisted bikers, hikers and people riding horses. There’s plenty of dirt roads and trails out there for dirt bikes, if you need to go 20mph, use those! And I beg to differ with “usually, the owners are older people”……not anymore, just take a look around.

      1. That is incorrect! Anyone can pick one up and throw it in the river. Which is exactly what happened in Portland. Vandals threw the scooters into the river. They were not considerate enough to setup an account first!

    2. We as a society are also not mature enough for driving cars responsibly but they are still everywhere almost totally unregulated now.

  1. These are electric powered bikes. I think most of the problems with bike share in the past were with pedal bikes which are much less expensive. I’m guessing renting one of these electric jobs may involve a higher degree of financial penalty if abused.

  2. @iknow is correct. And to the others complaining, it’s your community and your elected. I won’t name names but seems like an inner party disagreement.

  3. This whole program is structured to uphold the white male patriarchal supremacy of the Bend City Council. I can’t believe they are doing it. It’s time to get some women involved and Make Oregon Great Again!

  4. Angry motorists and global warming deniers will toss them in the river. They dont make noise than can be heard 4 blocks away or let you roll coal on pedestrians, so they aren’t allowed in central oregon.

    1. Oh, those deniers. If everyone switched to electric vehicles today, lithium mining would essentially destroy the planet, our electric grid would collapse, CO2 emission would go up since 95+% of our electricity is generated by fossil fuel, dump all used batteries into the landfill poisoning our ground water since recycling is non-existent. So who is the “denier” exactly? Or should I say clueless?

  5. Park board Chair Ariel Mendez recalled an instance when an e-bike collided with another trail user, causing injuries.

    Didn’t realize we have self driving vehicles now. Better arrest that e-bike. On the serious note, you mean one time a bicyclist ran into something and caused injury. Better not tell Ariel Mendez that nearly one injury per day occurs by people moving around in the Bend urban area.

  6. Simple solution. When I snowmobile we slow down to walking speed when a cross country skier is encountered. Same with my e-bike, I slow down to walking speed or stop when there is someone walking or another bike and get a “good morning hello” or just a smile.. Just one of those courtesy things where everyone is enjoying what central Oregon has to offer.

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