Motorized 'Vehicles' Using Bike Trails

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rongrehl
Participant
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Over the past few months, I’ve noticed more and more ‘vehicles’ (bikes & skateboards) using various trails when, as far as I know, they are not permitted on our trails. In talking
with several of them, they were not aware of the restrictions. Trying to find signs which indicate ‘no motorized vehicles allowed on trails’ there are very, very, very few. So, as a result they use the trails.

Any suggestions on what we can do?

Ron Grehl


Eric
Member
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I cross posted this originally on another thread but today two Yahoo’s with gas powered smaller than motorcycle bikes were riding fast on the Southside trail and mocked me when I signaled them to slow down.

Hard to put on signs because there are zillions of access points… Would need a sign every 10 feet and they’ll just be ignored.

Also I don’t mind electric skateboards, like the one with a huge center wheel. Those are less dangerous than regular runners running with headphones on with the volume so high they can’t hear me screaming”on your left!!” to them. Ditto w battery powered e bikes as long as they’re going a reasonable speed (15-16 mph and willing to slow down when the trail is crowded)

Gas powered? No way.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m with Eric here. I see no reason to ban e-bikes, scooters, etc., so long as their operators behave themselves. As I’ve said in other such conversations, I can drive a Lamborghini down Grant Street in downtown Pittsburgh at 20-25 mph. Just because I have a high-speed mechanism to propel me at inappropriate speeds does not obligate me to use them.

Ditto on gas-powered bikes. I don’t drive my 250cc Suzuki motorcycle on trails, either.

Rhetorical question: Is there any problem with pushing a gas-powered bike on a trail if the engine is off?


Eric
Member
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You can push an ox cart on the trail as long as you let people by.

I’m on the trails all the time and the biggest annoyance are people that ride or run 2 or 3 abreast and don’t move over to let people pass. The 2nd biggest annoyance are runners with music up so high that they don’t hear anyone coming.


rongrehl
Participant
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Gentlemen … it’s not a matter of other things being a bigger annoyance than e-bikes or other motorized vehicles. Unless the laws governing the trails has changed, motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trails.


Eric
Member
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That may be true but it is never enforced… The difference between stated law and actual practice. You could petition the PGH police to patrol. Or contact a city council person. or the mayor. Or get bikepgh interested.

Once the trails leave Pittsburgh there are so many different police forces due to Western PA’s model of a million small boros that it becomes impossible.

I do see this as a Sisyphean task, though.


Steven
Participant
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Ensuring there’s a sign at every official trail access point doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. I think the Montour Trail has a big one at every access point, or just about. The Friends of the Riverfront website has a map showing a grand total of 27 access points for all its trails, which is comparable to the Montour’s count.

Once there are signs, you can call 911 to report people disobeying them, and perhaps if complaints are frequent enough, they might dispatch an officer from time to time.

I don’t know of any laws specifically saying what’s allowed on a trail. An organization that owns a trail usually sets its own rules, and I think folks arrested for repeatedly disobeying them get charged with trespassing.

For the Montour, that’s “No gas-powered vehicles, in accordance with the MTC’s Mode of Transport Policy. The only exceptions are approved powered mobility devices and e-bikes, emergency and police vehicles, and Trail maintenance equipment.”

For the GAP, that’s “No vehicles powered by internal combustion. To accommodate disabled persons, electric wheelchairs and other electric mobility devices may be used, provided: Motors on electric vehicles are 750 watts or less; Vehicles weigh less than 100 lbs.; Vehicles are no more than 36″ wide.”

I wasn’t able to find any rules online for trails like the South Side or Chateau. I assume the city would have to set them, but I didn’t find anything in Pittsburgh’s municipal code or its website.


Mikhail
Member
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Unless the laws governing the trails has changed, motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trails.

Could you provide a reference to the law you are referring to? It looks like each trail has it’s own rules and trail around PGH allows electrical vehicles with some speed limit.

 


Eric
Member
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Interesting old thread

TRAIL RULES


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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Here’s the extensive thread Motor Vehices on Trails from 2013:

https://www.bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/motor-vehicles-on-trails/


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Anything written in 2013 is ancient history in terms of e-bikes, be it stories or rules.

 


Swalfoort
Participant
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The question of whether motorized vehicles are permitted on trails is complex.  Since federal funds were used in the construction of most trails, ADA regulations apply.  If a person feels that they are unable to use the facility without some sort of “mobility assist” they may use an appropriate device – hence the “vehicle parameters” you see on so many sets of regulations.  Enforcement is near impossible, as it would be hard to determine WHO would have the right to question a motor assist vehicle about the nature of their “need” for such assistance.

The rise of E-bikes, scooters and other devices have further complicated the question of what is permitted, and by and for whom, no question.

 

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