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As Boulder reworks its bicycle sharing program, the city also is taking a look at the ordinances that dictate where bicycles, scooters, skateboards and other means of travel legally can operate.

Currently, bikes and e-bikes are allowed on sidewalks, except in dismount zones, on most multi-use paths and on all streets. Skateboards and rollerblades are allowed on sidewalks, except in dismount zones, and on multi-use paths.

Electric-powered devices, such as e-skateboards and one-wheels, are not allowed on sidewalks, multi-use paths or streets. E-scooters, however, are allowed on streets per a 2019 state statute.

“Staff recognizes that the current distinction of where human powered devices, including e-bikes and skateboards, can and cannot be ridden on sidewalks can be confusing and difficult for some community members to discern,” Boulder Senior Transportation Planner David “DK” Kemp said.

After a discussion Tuesday in a Boulder City Council study season, staff plans to take the feedback gleaned from council and return for a public hearing on the proposed ordinance changes some time in January.

Boulder transportation staff is exploring allowing all devices on all sidewalks, multi-use paths and streets with a few exceptions as well as some other changes, including one that would move the city’s dismount zones to correlate with Boulder’s general improvement district boundaries. This would include downtown, University Hill and Boulder Junction.

Dismount zones currently are identified based on commercial land use, which is “very sporadic,” Kemp said.

“This modification would make it legal to ride human-powered devices on more sidewalks while maintaining the dismount zones in our high pedestrian volume areas,” he said.

Council members thought the improvement boundaries were good but could be refined and some were concerned about high speeds and allowing electric-powered devices on sidewalks.

Mayor Pro Tem Bob Yates recommended a hierarchy that prioritized pedestrians first, then human-powered devices, e-bikes and others that are well controlled and finally the remaining electric devices, which Yates said have little track record for safety.

Council members Rachel Friend and Mirabai Nagle agreed that, moving forward, ongoing feedback and engagement are important. Further, Friend said she felt the council was “quibbling over leftovers,” considering cars are offered the majority of the space whereas she’s often worried about dismounting her bicycle to make it safely onto the sidewalk in areas without designated bike lanes.

“We’re moving in a good direction, but it’s also a bummer of a conversation because it’s not expansive thinking about taking some of the space really away from cars and redirecting it,” she said.

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