Transportation in communities across America is changing with the advent of many small and light personal mobility options, which typically run on electric motors, such as electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes), e-scooters (scooters) and hoverboards. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) offers this perspective to assist communities, trail managers and policy makers in making decisions about how best to manage these devices on nonmotorized multiuse trails.
The State of Micromobility
Currently, a range of micromobility technologies are in use as both personally owned and shared devices in many communities nationwide. These devices are evolving quickly, and their introduction to the marketplace is swift—often with limited information about how and where the devices can or should be used. While RTC seeks to offer guidance to communities, trail managers and policy makers about these devices that will be flexible and evolve alongside the market, it is important to understand the context of the technologies that currently exist.
Considering the fast-paced evolution of new mobility options, RTC has defined a criteria-driven approach to managing new technologies to prevent unsafe or stressful conditions while creating inclusive places. As the use of micromobility devices on trails is considered, RTC’s recommendations seek to promote greater trail use, including increased diversity of trail users as well as safe and pleasant trail experiences
by preventing and managing trail user conflicts—objectives that at times may be in tension and require balancing by local jurisdictions.
Published September 06, 2019
In order to better guide research into the range of potential social and environmental impacts and benefits related to the use of eMTBs on natural surface trails, IMBA and the BPSA are interested in what questions land managers have regarding this new use. The survey explicitly targeted land managers’ experiences and concerns regarding eMTB use on natural surface and/or singletrack trails – not paths or bikeways – although some land managers are responsible for both types of trail infrastructure.
The emergence of electric bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes, is a rapidly growing component of the bicycle market in the US. As a transportation option, they represent an opportunity to reduce vehicle use and emissions, as well as the physical barriers to cycling. For use on trails, they present similar opportunities to reduce barriers to cycling but, as a new use, present new challenges for trail management.
The study asked e-bike users in the greater Sacramento area about the reasons why they chose to invest in an e-bike, the ways in which they use their e-bikes, positive and negative aspects of using e-bikes, and reactions from friends and family members.
The 2016-2021 Strategic Agenda for Pedestrian and Bicycle Transportation builds on 25 years of progress toward increasing walking and biking safety and activity throughout the United States. The 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study: Transportation Choices for Changing America set the stage for advancing safe, accessible, comfortable, and well-used pedestrian and bicycle transportation networks, with a focus on increasing trips and reducing injuries and fatalities.