The Greenways Commission met last week (see below). After a somewhat confused discussion they decided to recommend no additional regulation of e-bikes on greenways. That’s a victory for the good guys. Only one commission member really pushed back with the same old, same old, they’re heavy, faster, etc. The vice-chairman kept trying to push them along to a decision. There was a possibility that someone might try to convince them to ban class 2 bikes but it never materialized.
They also decided to recommend another study (they haven’t finished the first one) that will look at “infrastructure”. There’s nothing wrong with that but the devil is in the details. We’ll see how that turns out. One of the parks staff members suggested they have some money from the greenways capital fund! So we’ll use money that could go to greenways in order to study greenways?
This nonsense started when BCycle asked the Parks Board for permission to operate in the parks with class 1 e-bikes. The commission was about to adjourn without considering the question! Our good friend Council Member Emily Benedict, who is not even on the commission, interjected and reminded them of their task. The vice-chair, Charles Sueing, basically waved it off and said if there is a contract for it to go ahead?
Here's the video if you’ve a spare hour or so.
I have not been impressed with the Greenways Commission or the parks department staff. The lack of transparency is rather appalling. I think these issues will be taken up at the next Parks Board meeting on March 1. Stay tuned for more information. The Parks Board members are listed here if you want to contact them with your point of view.
Here’s the draft report which is in desperate need of an editor.
Our Previous Communication
Last year the Metro Council and the Board of Parks asked the Greenways Commission to make recommendations on two issues.
Should BCycle be allowed to operate a rental e-bike fleet in Parks for use on greenways?
Should Nashville impose regulations on e-bikes beyond the current law?
State law allows class 1 and class 2 e-bikes on greenways since 2016. BCycle requested approval to operate in parks and it triggered a reaction by the Parks Department and some members of council.
We need supporters to contact members of the Greenways Commission and tell them:
The members of the Greenway Commsiion can be found here:
Over fifty cities and forty states have the same law as Nashville. We have not found a single peer city to Nashville that imposes these kind of restraints.
There is no evidence of that e-bike riders any faster than other bicyclists. A study by the Seattle Parks Department showed that both groups rode the same speed and that bike share bikes were slower.
These requests reflect several misconceptions that e-bikes are more dangerous than regular bicycles and that BCycle will create some kind of threat to other greenways users.
The Bike/Ped Plan, the Parks Master Plan and the Nashville Next plan all state that greenways are part of our transportation network. E-bikes are a legal mode of transportation.
Parks wants to hire an expensive consultant, have a pilot program and operate their own bike share program even though BCycle is already in business.
Here is the report. The recommendations are at page 90.
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