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City council looking into E-Bike ban on all Omaha trails

City council looking into E-Bike ban on all Omaha trails{p}{/p}
City council looking into E-Bike ban on all Omaha trails

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A ban on electric bikes and scooters on all Omaha city trails could go into effect soon.

Biking advocates are now speaking up.

They say the e-bikes don't cause any harm so there's no reason to ban them.

Signs enforcing the ban were actually put up and taken down recently.

Electric bikes are becoming more popular. So seeing a few on a trail is not out of the norm.

Although soon they could become a thing of the past.

The Parks and Recreation Department recently pushed to ban Class 2 and Class 3 electric bikes and scooters from all city trails and the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge.

A class 1 E-bike can reach a speed up to 20 miles per hour and only works when the user is pedaling.

A class 2 E-bike can also reach a speed of up to 20 miles per hour but that one is controlled by the handles.

A class 3 E-bike is also controlled by pedaling but that bike can reach up to 28 miles per hour.

The department cites safety issues as the reason for the ban.

"Everyone's goal is safety and so, again, the more we can look at what our goal is together, hopefully, we'll be able to come up with something that encourages people to safely use the trail," says Sarah Johnson, a biking advocate with Mode-Shift Omaha.

People who use the bikes say they're a good way to get more people riding.

Scott Blake, also a biking advocate says, "It's not for going fast. That's like the big misconception. A lot of people we see using E-Bikes are just wanting to keep up with not falling over. They might have a disability that they can't pedal as fast as they used to so it just gives you a little bit of assist."

Signs that enforced the ban had been put up along the keystone trail, but those signs have since been taken down.

The Omaha city council has agreed to hold off on the ban, at least until the city council meeting on October 20th.

"It does need more thoughtfulness and more discussion and more communication and I agree that class 2 bikes need to come out of this policy and should be allowed on our city trail system," says city council member Pete Festersen during a city council meeting.

Johnson and Blake suggested the city look into a speed limit on the trails if they're worried about people going too fast.

Johnson has plans to meet with the Omaha parks and recreation department tomorrow to talk about her concerns about the ban.

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