Sioux Falls City Council needs to repeal the E-Bike ordinances on Bike Trail

As we saw this past year, CountCilor Alex ‘$127K’ Jensen tried to slip by a deal for one of his business friends to allow electric foot scooters on DTSF sidewalks. They are already allowed in our city, but sidewalks, not so much.

I do agree with one aspect of the Count’s attempt, E-vehicles for recreation like skateboards, One-Wheels, bikes and foot scooters are the fastest growing industry in the country and because it is growing so fast, it is constantly changing. But we are being held back.

A few years ago the city council decided to wring their hands over this (they do piss around a lot with stuff that will be obsolete in a few years, you know, like $26 million dollar bunker ramps to no where).

They decided the problem with the bike trail wasn’t strollers going down the middle of the trail, dogs running about off the leash or people training for the Ironman do 30 MPH down the trail they decided it was those evil E-2 bikers. Well they are a problem, but there is a better solution.

Since the passage of only E-1 vs. E-2 (nobody can really tell the difference) the real issue on the trail is SPEED, courteous behavior and awareness and not classification. As I have mentioned in the past, there are all kinds of E-Vehicles on the trail, I am not sure we can control that.

So what is the solution? It can be accomplished by 3 simple changes to the ordinance;

• Repeal the current ordinance in it’s entirety, or at least certain parts;

§ 95.031  BICYCLING.   Bicycle and e-bicycle riders in the parks and upon recreation trails shall abide by the ordinances governing the operation and equipment of bicycles except bicycling and Class I e-bicycling need not be limited to paved areas. Bicyclists and e-bicyclists shall operate their bicycles or e-bicycles in a prudent manner and with due regard for the safety of others and the preservation of park property.(1992 Code, § 27-16.13)  (Ord. 49-99, passed 4-19-1999; Ord. 118-18, passed 12-18-2018; Ord. 66-19, passed 6-18-2019)

§ 95.031.1  WHEELED MOTOR VEHICLES PROHIBITED ON RECREATION TRAIL.   It shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate any motorized or motor driven, wheeled vehicle except a Class I e-bicycle on any of the recreation trails. This section shall not apply to or limit authorized vehicles on the levees for maintenance, patrolling, and flood emergency purposes.

• Create a speed limit on the trail. (I am not sure what that should be, but research would probably suggest 15 MPH. We could also put up speed signs about ever 1-2 miles with a solar detector telling your speed).

• Allow ALL E-Vehicle transportation (prohibiting gas/electric motorcycles, ATVs and scooters)

One of the main reasons to support this is because of what Jensen said, TOURISM!

Also, the bike trail is one of our greatest assets in Sioux Falls. I constantly shake my head with all the money we dump into concrete along the river greenway when we could be spending this money to improve this gem instead like solar lighting, 24/7 commuting, and dual trails for walkers and bikers. We could make this asset even better.

It’s time to start again and simplify our recreation trail rules and regulations.


#1 Hooterville's Boutique Grocer on 01.02.22 at 10:10 pm

I once saw a bunch of teenagers drive a Plymouth Duster on the bike trail and they were very courteous. #JustSayin

#2 D@ily Spin on 01.03.22 at 10:26 am

Meanwhile, there are unregulated unlicensed ATV’s on the street. It’s general public right-of-way whether street or trail. Regulation is state or federal. City ordinances can be defeated legally. Further, city citations lack authority in that they’re unconstitutional because there’s no appeal into Circuit Court. Let the council initiate ordinances. They don’t mean anything and it keeps them busy so they’re not approving $27m multi-story parking ramps.

#3 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.03.22 at 12:38 pm

I haven’t been on the bike trail since it became regulated. It’s like the Taliban are back. And do they still keep the mountain lions to one area?

#4 David Z for Mayor on 01.03.22 at 1:48 pm

I really love the city’s bike trail. New developments should be designed to connect to the existing trail with minimal stop signs and instead use underpasses whenever practical.

When there are people on the bike trail, we bikers have to slow down. This is especially an issue during summer days on the downtown part of the trail. I love to ride, and I love to ride hard, so I usually ride at night when the trail is basically empty. I would find a speed limit stifling. Another issue with speed limits is bikes frequently don’t have speedometers. It might be fun to have a few of those fancy signs that tell people how fast they’re going. Out by the airport where the trail is flat and straight you can really pick up some speed and do it safely. It would be nice to know how fast we go there. A speed limit for e-bikes makes sense because some of them reach 45 mph.

Another bike trail issue is the police use of squad cars and motorcycles for patrolling the trail. Motorized vehicles do not belong on the bike trail. Police should use either pedal bicycles or e-bikes to patrol the bike trail.

#5 Zach DeBoer on 01.04.22 at 8:30 am

100% agree Scott. The e-bike regulation was such a waste of time and classic over regulation of something that didn’t need it. Set a speed limit and we’re done.

#6 Very Stable Genius on 01.04.22 at 12:08 pm

We used to have signs upon entrance of the Sioux River dike system that prohibited motorized vehicles. Since then, the dike system has become a part of our bike trail system. There was a reason for this prohibiting. It was a safety issue. How will a speed limit solve this new modern version of an old problem? Who will enforce it? I thought we didn’t have enough officers in town as it is?

I am old enough to remember when we had snow alert signs in town, too, that warned, or suggested, that the streets would be plowed if we received two or more inches of snow. We know that doesn’t happen anymore. Just as we no longer plow in this town, or at least with great hesitation, why should we have confidence that a speed limit on the bike trail will be successfully enforced as well?

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to have an ebike, too, probably will get one eventually – and the I like the ones that look like vintage motorcycles (which means speed) – and they are only going to get more efficient and faster with no enforcer to be found, I am afraid.

#7 Roadglide on 01.04.22 at 1:52 pm

My big black shiny Road Glide identifies as an electric bicycle, and it demands equal rights. I don’t complain like you all do….where do I start with my outrage? Who do I contact?

#8 Scott D Hudson on 01.04.22 at 9:18 pm

It always seems to me that the people who complain about complainers ultimately complain about more things than the complainers they’re complaining about.

#9 Further Fear & Loathing on 01.06.22 at 11:46 am

“‘The Complainers'”: …..”This fall on NBC”…..