Friday, May 19, 2017
Steamboat Springs Concerned about becoming a "nanny state" and adopting rules the city can’t enforce, the Steamboat Springs City Council has decided against setting a speed limit on the Yampa River Core Trail.
Instead, the city will rely on its existing trail etiquette rules and self policing to avoid conflicts on the commuter trail when electric bicycles are legally added to the mix later this month.
The council last week was divided on the question of whether to set the speed limit at 10 or 15 miles per hour.
An initial recommendation from city staff to set it at 20 miles per hour was quickly passed over after it was met with concern by some community members.
The council decided against setting any speed limit at all after a plea from City Manager Gary Suiter.
“We should only adopt rules or laws that we can enforce,” Suiter said. “We do not have the resources to put people on the Core Trail and ticket people who are speeding more than 10 miles per hour.”
Suiter said he has not heard any complaints about cyclists speeding on the Core Trail.
The most complaints the city receives are about dogs at large, he said.
Suiter added he recently rode his mountain bike on the trail and found all the other users to be “courteous and respectful.”
“The current rules are working well,” he told the council.
He urged the council to go with the rule of common sense versus regulation. Council members agreed.
“We don’t want to grow into a nanny state where we need someone to enforce” a speed limit, Council President Walter Magill said.
Some council members did note that the city received several comments from people who wanted a 10-mile-per-hour speed limit and felt the trail can sometimes be a dangerous place for pedestrians to be walking.
The council is moving ahead with a proposal to allow class 1 electric bicycles on the Core Trail.
The bikes feature a motor that gives riders a pedal assist.
Council members said bike shops that rent out the e-bikes should educate riders about trail etiquette.
Councilwoman Heather Sloop was absent from Tuesday's meeting and did not vote on the speed limit proposal.