motorized vehicle ban on bike path
Express Staff Writer
a few nitwits have screwed up things for a lot of other people.
more suitable for an interstate freeway have been reported operating on
the Blaine County Recreation District’s bike path. They’ve caused
problems for the district and led to a ban on almost anything motorized,
even whimpy 10-mph electric scooters.
about people driving motorized machines on the Wood River Trails System
are rare, but when they happen, sometimes they’re whoppers.
example, the rebel motorcyclist who, between Ketchum and the Hulen Meadows
neighborhood a few miles to the north, began using the path for cruising—on
a Harley Davidson. Or, there’s the commuter from Bellevue who decided it
was a good idea to rip up and down the path on a snowmobile. The path at
the time was groomed for cross-country skiing. He said he had to get to
work in Hailey.
as those actions may seem, the Rec district’s director, Mary Austin
Crofts, said until now there was nothing the district or law enforcement
could do to stop them.
because county officials inadvertently deleted a section of code while
doing a little bureaucratic housekeeping in the mid-1990s, Crofts said.
The section prohibited motor vehicles on the paths and granted police the
ability to ticket violators.
correct the problem, the Blaine County Commission approved a new version
of the ordinance Monday. The vote was 2-to-0, with Commission Chair Mary
Ann Mix absent.
ordinance, effective immediately, prohibits any device that transports a
person by gas or electric motor to be used on any recreational pathway
within the county. The penalty for violation is a $100 fine.
political and sartorial libertarian Mickey Garcia, who said he was
representing the public, plied the commission to take a less "bright
line" stance on the issue.
should make a distinction between small electric devices and all
others," he said, because the old and infirm are relying on the
devices more and more often for recreation. Some, who are not disabled,
nevertheless have difficulty pedaling a regular bike, he said.
One of the
ordinance’s few exceptions is that it does allow motorized wheelchairs.
But, Garcia said, it should also allow electric bicycles and even electric
inline skates. Those, he added, can be less dangerous than a powerful
bicyclist who’s not paying attention.
Garcia’s proposal would be all but impossible to adopt because the
district had promised to prohibit all motor vehicles when it negotiated
the path right-of-way years ago with 75 to 100 different property owners
from Bellevue to north of Ketchum.
kids can ride their scooters in "parking lots and driveways."
District spokesperson Shelly Preston said it has not so much had
complaints about motorized scooters as it has had inquiries about whether
it is legal to ride them on the path.
The city of
Sun Valley is currently working on a similar ordinance.