From our friends at WABI Burien:

Please Take the Survey about E-Bikes on King County Trails

Imagine you’re all for jumping on your bike not only for fun and exercise, but also for commuting to work and running errands. And you’re passionate about doing your part toward using “alternative transportation”, with an eye on climate change and emissions reduction. And imagine you’ve just bought yourself an e-bike which makes such commuting more feasible for you.

The good news: There are more than 300 miles of regional trails within King County! (Regional trails are the wide, paved trails like the Burke-Gilman Trail or the Sammamish River Trail.) King County Parks manages a little over half of those trail miles; the rest are managed by other jurisdictions, like cities, park agencies, utilities, and state agencies.

Click here for a quick jump to the SURVEY. (Survey open until Feb. 14, 2020)

The bad news: Those miles of trails are not uniformly accessible to cyclists using pedal-assist e-bikes to commute around the region.

Since the trails are managed by various entities, there are different allowances depending on the city you’re riding through. Let’s say you start your bike commute in Burien, with its own set of rules. Then you pass the city limits into Seattle, or SeaTac, or Renton… You have to KNOW that you just crossed the city limits and you have to KNOW what that city’s rules are, what the bike speed limit is, and whether you’re even allowed to ride your e-bike on the trails in that city!

SB6434 Passed in 2018

More good news: In June 2018, the State of Washington passed SB6434, essentially saying that Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes are considered the same as standard, non-electric bikes, and may go where standard bikes may go.

(CLICK HERE for our earlier discussion of SB6434, definitions of Class 1 and 2 e-bikes, and regional rules concerning e-bikes and trails.)

“If your city doesn’t have specific laws on the books,
the default is that Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes
can go everywhere traditional bikes can.”

More bad news: Even with the passage of SB6434, local jurisdictions’ rules—IF they have them—override the state ruling.

More good news for Burien e-bike cyclists: In September 2018, WABI-ists Maureen Hoffmann and Rob Gala met with City of Burien Director of Public Works Maiya Andrews, and PaRCS then-Director Steve Roemer, to ask about the presence of specific e-bike regulations here in Burien.

Their response: “There are NO e-bike-specific regulations in Burien.”

Therefore, within the City of Burien, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes may be used anywhere that a non-electric-assist bike may be used, subject to the same statewide laws… and of course, courtesy and safety.

But what about riding on the regional trails beyond Burien?

Click here for a quick jump to the SURVEY. (Survey open until Feb. 14, 2020)

King County Regional Trails Lake to Sound Trail

More good news: In a couple of years we’ll have the new Lake to Sound Trail, a 16-mile paved trail from Lake Washington, in Renton, through Tukwila and Burien*, to Puget Sound, in Des Moines. This will increase the trail options for those of us in the south end, and be a treasure for all those seeking fun, exercise and alternative transportation routes.

*Burien’s portion of the trail, Segment B—1.5 miles along Des Moines Memorial Drive from S. 156th St to S. Normandy Rd.—was completed in 2018. This trail segment is open for use.

WABI Walkers strolled the fresh pavement of Section B of the Lake to Sound Trail.

More bad news: As it stands, if you’re on an e-bike you may only be able to ride on select portions of the Lake to Sound Trail.

But more good news: King County Parks seeks to “expand and steward an accessible and interconnected trail network for all ages and abilities to connect communities, inspire healthy living, and support a sustainable future.”

These regional trails are great for cycling, walking, roller blading and other recreational uses. Since they extend from Auburn to Bothell and Seattle to the Cascades, they’re also often used as a transportation option to get to work, school, or around the community.

King County Parks is SEEKING YOUR INPUT.
Here’s the Survey Overview:

  1. Would you support King County’s proposal to allow e-bikes to be used on King County’s Regional Trails consistent with the WA State Law and subject to existing trail rules, like the 15mph speed limit?
  2. Would you support a proposal that allows e-scooters to be used in the future on King County’s Regional Trails consistent with WA State Law and subject to existing trail rules, like the 15 mph speed limit?
  3. King County Parks is proposing to expand the hours that regional trails are open. (Current rules state they are only open from dawn to dusk.) Opening regional trails for night-time use ensures that our regional trails are open to the public for recreation and commuting when they are needed, especially in the winter months when it gets dark as early as 4:30 p.m. Of the nearly 200 people surveyed in fall 2019, we found that 80% supported opening trails for additional hours. Of that 80%, 56% supported opening regional trails for 24 hours and 43% supported opening the trails from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Think of being a bike commuter (e-bike or otherwise). The regional trails give you a safer, away-from-traffic option, but if you go to or from work when it’s dark, you’re currently not allowed to use the trail for your commute.

Weigh in. Take the Survey.

Your input will help to shape long-term recreation and transportation options in King County. Whether you’re a cyclist or not, please take the brief survey here. (Survey open until Feb. 14, 2020)

Thank you!

Maureen Hoffmann
President, Walk/Bike Burien (WABI)
[email protected]