October 20, 2021
Subject: ACA Position on Use of E-bikes on the Warren County Bikeway
Warren County Board of Supervisors:
The Adirondack Cycling Advocates (ACA), formerly the Warren County Safe & Quality Bicycling Organization, has followed with interest your discussions on the use of e-bikes on the Warren County Bikeway.
Based on viewing your meetings, research we have followed, and our own personal experiences, we believe Warren County should allow a trial for e-bikes, Class 1 and possibly Class 2, starting in the Spring of 2022.
Sales of e-bikes are growing at roughly twice the rate of standard bikes.1 That means eventually there will be many e-bikers on the roads and bike paths. As a county that relies on tourism, including cyclists, we should be ahead of this curve and encourage them to rent or bring their e-bikes to ride here. As baby boomers age, e-bikes are a great way for them to remain active. The boom is here to stay.
That e-bikes can move faster with less effort than standard bicycles is a concern. However, BikesMakeLifeBetter.com says that most riders are 40 to 70 years old who are looking for an easier way to continue or to start riding. They can no longer handle the hills or ride the distance that they used to.2 It is unlikely that they will be riding faster on bike paths. They are looking to enjoy their ride and typically they ride responsibly.
The Tupper Lake to Lake Placid rail trail and the Ashokan rail trail both allow e-bikes. 3,4
On an anecdotal level, it is rare that one of us is passed by an e-biker on the Bikeway. Usually, if we are passed, it is by a younger road biker, who is getting in their daily workout.
Please give e-bikes a chance by implementing a pilot program for the Spring of 2022. This will give all a chance to see how it works and still allow the board the opportunity to go back to the current state next year. Not only will cyclists who live here and those who visit us be pleased, but I think as a community we will be pleased with the results of increased activity in the area and increased revenue.