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.