Traverse City News and Events

Local Trail Users Support E-Bikes Before House

By Ross Boissoneau | Sept. 11, 2017

Two longtime local trail supporters, George Lombard and Linda Deneen, testified in front of the Michigan House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Standing Committee on a set of bills designed to define and classify electric-powered bicycles. Electric bikes, or e-bikes, utilize a battery-powered motor for extra power. The bills would serve to define e-bikes as bikes that must follow the same rules as pedal-only bikes, and in most cases would also give local authority to land managers of non-motorized trails to decide whether or not to allow e-bikes.

Lombard, an 86-year-old leg amputee, sports a Spartan prosthetic. He is a Paralympian, TART Trails’ Jim Mudgett Trail Pioneer Award winner, and long-time trail user largely responsible for working with the DNR to create the Vasa Pathway. An e-bike owner and supporter, his testimony referenced the types of people who benefit from being able to continue cycling thanks to e-bikes, including those with early Parkinson Disease, neuromuscular disorders, cardiac by-pass patients and pacemaker wearers.

Deneen is also a longtime trail user and founder of She-Bikes, geared to celebrate and encourage women to get active and involved with cycling. She cited how having an e-bike has touched her personally, noting, “Being able to ride again and participate with friends and family in a beloved sport with my pedal assisted e-bike has returned to me a huge part of my life I believed was gone forever.” 

TART Trails is working on a policy that would support e-bikes on local paved trails so long as users are operating them with control, caution, and courtesy for other trail users.

Pictured: Lombard (fourth from left) and Deneen (fifth from left)

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