As an open space agency providing for the protection of natural resources and wildlife, allowing for ecologically sensitive recreational opportunities on the land is a delicate balance and one not taken lightly by the District and our Board of Directors.
In 2019, the Midpen board began considering options for designating specific trails, paved and unpaved, as open to specific classes of electric bikes. A e-bike policy evaluation pilot program was formed in 2020 to study the potential impacts of e-bikes on both paved and unpaved trails.
On June 29, 2022, in a nearly 6-hour meeting that included staff and research data presentations, public comment from more than 100 people and significant deliberations, the Midpen board of directors passed the following e-bike policies:
- Allow class 1 and class 2 e-bike access on limited improved trails at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve
- Allow class 1 and class 2 e-bike access on limited improved trails where bikes are currently allowed at Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve
- Affirm the prohibition of e-bikes on District trails except for specifically designated trails noted above
As part of its deliberations, the Midpen board reviewed the results and findings related to: (1) a 1-year pilot program of class 1 and 2 e-bike use on select trails within Ravenwood and Rancho San Antonio preserves; (2) intercept surveys conducted within Santa Clara County Parks lands where e-bikes are allowed as a proxy to Midpen unpaved trails; (3) an e-bike noise study conducted by H.T. Harvey and Associates; (4) a literature review prepared by the Science Advisory Panel; (5) Midpen compliance data; and (6) public input. Communication to Midpen regarding e-bikes has been collected, monitored and categorized to track public sentiment since the beginning of the paved pilot in December of 2020.
E-bikes will continue to be allowed in areas where bicycles are permitted as an other power-driven mobility device for visitors with a mobility disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.