Breckenridge will implement a pilot e-bike program in 2023

A handful of Summit Bike Share dockless e-bikes sit outside the Broken Compass Brewery in August 2018 in Breckenridge. The city plans to launch its own e-bike pilot program in 2023.
Hugh Carey / Daily Summit News

The City of Breckenridge plans to launch an e-bike sharing pilot program next spring.

In January, some city council members disagreed with the original pitch, citing concerns about how it might affect bike rental businesses, whether the money would be better invested in Free Ride and s whether or not it would be popular with the locals. However, at Tuesday’s meeting, mobility staff presented an updated version that would address these concerns.

“We’re here now with a specific, strategic pilot who we believe has addressed many of the concerns we’ve heard,” said deputy director of mobility Matt Hulsey. “For example, the first concern about the impact on rental income for bike rental shops is addressed in two ways – both by the price structure discouraging anyone from riding for more than 30 minutes, and the bikes being geolocated in an area that we can simply determine who won Don’t let bikes ride outside a specific area.

The adjusted proposal would include 25 hubs and 125 e-bikes, and the pilot program is scheduled to begin on May 23, 2023 and run until October 31, 2023. Users can only start or end an e-bike sharing session at locations of designated hubs. which will be placed close to labor quarters and areas they may travel to frequently, such as the Transit Center or City Market, to focus on priority use of premises.​​

The pilot program will offer hubs near or in Wellington/Lincoln Park, Breck Terrace, Valley Brook, Blue 52, Denison Commons, Moose Landing, the French Creek neighborhood, Vista Point, Gibson Heights and Alta Verde.

Breckenridge’s e-bikeshare pilot program has central locations focused on where the city’s workforce lives and can hang out. Community members will pay a lower rate to use the bikes.
Town of Breckenridge/Courtesy Image

E-bikes will have a two-tier pricing structure. The first tier allows community members to travel for free or at a significantly reduced rate throughout the pilot program for the first 30 minutes, then pay per minute thereafter. For level two, the general public can ride for 30 minutes at $10, then $5 per minute thereafter, or $160 for 60 minutes.

In 2021, the city received a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Options Fund for $420,000 for a feasibility study and subsequent implementation of an e-bike sharing system. With approval, city staff will use $80,000 to $125,000 of grant funds and a matching amount of city funds to begin the pilot program.

The maintenance of the electric bikes will be provided by the winning company of the city. If a rider needed to complete a ride and the nearest dock was full, the app would either direct them to the nearest dock or someone from the company would locate the bike and dock it, Hulsey said.

“(Tuesday’s) decision on a targeted e-bike sharing pilot program can reduce record traffic congestion by nearly 6,400 car trips, further reducing nearly 11,000 pounds of CO2 emissions,” said Hulsey said.

Much of the city’s messaging focuses on “more boots and bikes, less cars”, and council members agreed this could be one way to achieve this. Council member Todd Rankin said branding the bikes to fit the city brand might be an option since the original lot had bikes that looked “an eyesore”.

“I think it’s good that they’re community members because while it’s good to give things to the workforce, we want people to get out of their cars. That’s to that’s what it’s all about,” Mayor Eric Mamula said. “It’s not a benefit to anyone. It’s ‘don’t drive.’ So the more people who live here who will use it, the more it makes sense. I think we’re limiting that, that’s not the way to go. So I support him – believe it or not.

In 2019, Summit County approved the use of Class 1 e-bikes – or non-throttle e-bikes to increase speed without the need for pedals – on the county’s recreational trail system, and they are also permitted on roads and trails open to motorized use. . However, the county does not allow them on natural surface trails.

This year, the US Forest Service updated its guidelines for how e-bikes can be used on its land. Currently, the agency allows e-bikes on all Forest Service roads accessible to motorized vehicles, as well as 60,000 miles of motorized trails, which represent 38% of all trails managed by the agency. The updated guidelines allow e-bikes to continue to operate on all permitted roads and trails, and they highlight a process to assess future requests for expanded access on trails that are not currently permitted for motorized travel .

Ryan H. Bowman