Breckenridge votes to regulate e-bike rentals | SummitDaily.com

Breckenridge votes to regulate e-bike rentals

A handful of dockless electric bikes from Summit Bike Share sit outside the Broken Compass Brewery on Aug. 7 in Breckenridge. The town of Frisco joined Breckenridge earlier this week in tightening restrictions on dockless mobility devices, including on electric bikes like these.
Hugh Carey / hcarey@summitdaily.com

Breckenridge officials favored a 25-bike cap, a financial guarantee, advertising restrictions and more as the town council passed a dockless bike-share ordinance Tuesday on first reading.

The move covers anyone looking to offer a dockless bike-sharing program in town — electric or non-motorized — but the measure is a direct result of the small fleet of dockless electric bicycles that popped up in Breckenridge last summer.

“We need to do everything we can to anticipate what’s coming,” Councilman Dick Carleton said before the proposal came to a vote. “We are at the very beginning of this thing.”

Passed unanimously on first reading, town council backed establishing new licensing requirements for bike-sharing programs, including making operators pay a $500 initial licensing fee and produce a management plan for the town’s approval. Officials also want a financial guarantee from operators that the town could draw upon should it incur any losses associated with the cost of removing, relocating or impounding the bikes or damage to town property.

At town staff’s suggestion, each operator would have to pay an $80-per-bike deposit up to $8,000, and Breckenridge police could impound any bikes parked illegally or left out where they shouldn’t be.

Operators would also have to promote helmet use, set up a 24-hour customer service hotline and respond to the town’s requests to remove or redistribute bikes within two hours of getting the call.

There would be no caps on the number of operators allowed in town.

The decision to rule down bike-sharing programs follows the August rollout of about 25 e-bikes by Summit Bike Share, a partnership between local bike store owner Nick Truitt and the Boulder-based company UrBike.

Over the phone, Truitt acknowledged the new regulations will affect Summit Bike Share’s operations, but Truitt said he won’t know exactly how until he can clarify some specific details about how the ordinance might be implemented.

The new requirements could mandate hiring new staff, he agreed, but Truitt said doesn’t think they will prevent him from renting e-bikes in Breckenridge.

“There are definitely solutions here, and there is definitely an opportunity to work with (the town),” he said, emphasizing that the goal is to close “a gap” in Breckenridge’s options for in-town travel.

After town staff and council members expressed some concerns with the e-bikes, like parking, council talked last month about what they would like to see from bike-sharing programs in town. As a result, town staff returned with the proposed ordinance for Tuesday’s vote.

While council had previously discussed keeping the price of e-bike rentals low, in hopes of encouraging their use as first- and last-mile travel, absent from Tuesday’s conversation and the ordinance was any form of price control.

Instead, at council’s suggestion, some of the changes that are going to be made before second reading involve reducing the proposed 50-bike cap to 25 bikes per operator, restricting licensing perimeters to include just Breckenridge and limiting any electric bicycles in a dockless bike-share program to Class 1 e-bikes, which do not assist riders after the bicycle reaches speeds of 20 mph or greater.

The town manager could also raise the 25-bike cap for an operator depending on performance.

Beyond that, the town will look to limit the seasons of operation so Breckenridge won’t have bikes “out in snow banks,” as town staff put it. Council also asked town staff to consider restrictions on the bikes’ allowable signage so they won’t become roaming billboards.

It should be noted that while e-bikes are allowed most places regular bikes can go in Breckenridge, they are not currently allowed on the paved recpaths crisscrossing Summit County.

There has been some conversation about changing this, and Breckenridge town staff said Tuesday that they are holding off making any moves to allow e-bikes on the recpath system in town until the county and U.S. Forest Service take a firm position.

Meanwhile, the county has conducted a public input process on whether to allow electric bicycles on the recpath system and taken comments from both a number of proponents and opponents of the idea.

In response, the county has put it on the Open Space and Trails Department to gather more feedback on e-bikes to help determine whether they should be allowed on all, or portions, of the recpath system.

Currently, county officials are only considering e-bikes on the paved pathways, not on natural-surface trails.

In addition to passing an ordinance dictating new rules for dockless bike-sharing programs, Breckenridge Town Council also amended the town’s traffic code and its definitions of the different classes of e-bikes to better match state law in two related but separate measures.

In other business, town council backed the reasons driving a proposed renovation at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena for an estimated $2.5 million but balked at the cost. With that, council asked town staff and the architects to revisit designs in hopes of bringing down that preliminary figure.

The move covers anyone looking to offer a dockless bike-sharing program in town — electric or non-motorized — but the measure is a direct result of the small fleet of dockless electric bicycles that popped up in Breckenridge last summer.

“We need to do everything we can to anticipate what’s coming,” Councilman Dick Carleton said before the proposal came to a vote. “We are at the very beginning of this thing.”

Passed unanimously on first reading, town council backed establishing new licensing requirements for bike-sharing programs, including making operators pay a $500 initial licensing fee and produce a management plan for the town’s approval. Officials also want a financial guaranty from operators that the town could draw upon should it incur any losses associated with the cost of removing, relocating or impounding the bikes or damage to town property.

At town staff’s suggestion, each operator would have to pay a guaranty of $80-per-bike deposit up to $8,000, and Breckenridge police could impound any bikes parked illegally or left out where they shouldn’t be.

Operators would also have to promote helmet use, set up a 24-hour customer service hotline and respond to the town’s requests to remove or redistribute bikes within two hours of getting the call.

But there would be no caps on the number of operators allowed in town.

The decision to rule down bike-sharing programs follows the August rollout of about 25 e-bikes by Summit Bike Share, a partnership between local bike store owner Nick Truitt and the Boulder-based company UrBike.

Over the phone, Truitt acknowledged the new regulations will affect Summit Bike Share’s operations, but Truitt said he won’t know exactly how until he can clarify some specific details about how the ordinance might be implemented.

The new requirements could mandate hiring new staff, he agreed, but Truitt said doesn’t think they will prevent him from renting e-bikes in Breckenridge.

“There are definitely solutions here, and there is definitely an opportunity to work with (the town),” he said, emphasizing that the goal is to close “a gap” in Breckenridge’s options for in-town travel.

After town staff and council members expressed some concerns with the e-bikes, like parking, council talked over last month about what they would like to see from bike-sharing programs in town. As a result, town staff returned with the proposed ordinance for Tuesday’s vote.

While council had previously discussed keeping the price of e-bike rentals low, in hopes of encouraging their use as first- and last-mile travel, absent from Tuesday’s conversation and the ordinance was any form of price control.

Instead, at council’s suggestion, some of the changes that are going to be made before second reading involve reducing the proposed 50-bike cap to 25 bikes per operator, restricting licensing perimeters to include just Breckenridge and limiting any electric bicycles in a dockless bike-share program to Class 1 e-bikes, which do not assist riders after the bicycle reaches speeds of 20 mph or greater.

The town manager could also raise the 25-bike cap for an operator depending on performance.

Beyond that, the town will look to limit the seasons of operation so Breckenridge won’t have bikes “out in snow banks,” as town staff put it. And council also asked town staff to consider restrictions on the bikes’ allowable signage so they won’t become roaming billboards.

It should be noted that while e-bikes are allowed most places regular bikes can go in Breckenridge, they are not currently allowed on the paved rec paths crisscrossing Summit County.

There has been some conversation about changing this, and Breckenridge town staff said Tuesday that they are holding off making any moves to allow e-bikes on the rec path system in town until the county and U.S. Forest Service take a firm position.

Meanwhile, the county has conducted a public-input process on whether to allow electric bicycles on rec path system and taken comments from both a number of proponents and opponents of the idea.

In response, the county has put it on the Open Space and Trails Department to gather more feedback on e-bikes to help determine whether they should be allowed on all, or portions, of the Rec Path system.

Currently, county officials are only considering e-bikes on the paved pathways, not on natural-surface trails.

In addition to passing an ordinance dictating new rules for dockless bike-sharing programs, Breckenridge Town Council also amended the town’s traffic code and its definitions of the different classes of e-bikes to better match state law in two related but separate measures.

In other business, town council backed the reasons driving a proposed renovation at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena for an estimated $2.5 million but balked at the cost. With that, council asked town staff and the architects to revisit designs in hopes of bringing down that preliminary figure.


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