San Clemente City Council to Debate Limiting Use of E-Bikes on Certain Trails

February 1, 2021 Updated: February 1, 2021

The San Clemente City Council will vote Feb. 2 on a motion to limit the use of electric bicycles (e-bikes) on trails and parks in the Southern California city.

The motion includes restrictions on some regular bicycles as well. It affects beach trails and inland trails, and would prohibit the use of all bicycles on turf within San Clemente’s parks.

“People shouldn’t be expecting a major change in terms of restriction or anything like that,” San Clemente Councilmember Chris Duncan told The Epoch Times. “The issues before the council are more about how to ensure that e-bikes are operated safely on the beach trail.”

At its meeting, the council will address the inclusion of e-bikes in the code addressing use of bicycles in city parks and on trails. Speed limits will be reduced from 10 mph to 5 mph, and bicycles will need to be walked on the Mariposa Bridge.

Duncan said he has not decided how he plans to vote on the measure.

“The things that are on the forefront of my mind are how to balance the widespread use of e-bikes by residents as a mode of transportation, particularly to beach areas, with the safe use of the beach trail by residents for walking and just kind of generally enjoying the ability to be able to stroll that close to the beach,” he said.

Duncan noted that while e-bikes on beach trails are being discussed the most right now, the council will at some point be looking at the use of them throughout the city, because of how prevalent they are in San Clemente.

He said the topic of e-bike safety has been discussed due to a number of reported close calls on beach trails, though there have not been many actual collisions recorded to this point.

“We check with our public safety people and we don’t have a lot of reported actual incidents,” he said. But the council wants to ensure something doesn’t happen “as more and more bikes” use the beach trails, he added.

As the city continues to discuss the use of e-bikes going forward, it will be important to educate the public on how to operate them safely in order to avoid injuries, according to Duncan. He said he wants to make sure people are able to enjoy e-bikes without overregulating their use.

“They are an environmentally friendly and generally a good way to get people transported down to the beach areas,” he said.

Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewVanVoorhis