On December 18, 2018, the Sioux Falls City Council passed the first E-Bike ordinance only allowing E1’s. Listen to the testimony for allowing E2’s also (FF: 27:00). Folks, nothing has changed in 5 years! The only thing that has changed is that E-Bikes have become safer, lighter, more affordable and technologically advanced. Just look at this ride, the battery is so powerful you can use it as a power source (it has an inverter) and can be ridden full throttle and full headlamp for 105 miles on one charge.

Councilors Starr and Stehly tried to amend it to allow all E-Classes and were voted down. Starr’s argument holds true today, this is an opportunity for people with mobility issues (old folks) to get some exercise.

E-Bikes are not going away, in fact I think in 10 years you will probably be hard pressed to find a traditional bike in a storefront and E1’s will be considered dinosaurs.

I had to chuckle a bit during public input, former Mayor Rick Knobe suggested they put signs on the rec trail that inform people to be ‘courteous’. LOL. He got his wish.

UPDATE: The Active Transportation Board tabled their recommendation today saying they didn’t know enough about E2s to make a decision. Which is good.

As I have mentioned before, there is an Active Transportation Board meeting Wednesday morning at 8:30 AM in City Hall in the old commission chambers, 1st Floor, and at 4 PM a Parks Board meeting with a recommendation.


The board will be taking action on the E2 recommendation from Councilor Greg Neitzert with some clarity with rec trail speeds and ADA mobility devices.

As I have mentioned in the past there is a lot of misinformation out there about E2s.

The Micro Mobility Device industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, most users in Sioux Falls are over 60 years of age and finding an E1 bike has become increasingly difficult and will probably be non-existent in 5 years. Police Chief Thum has told councilors that he supports the change and doesn’t see any issues with it, just more concerns about speed, which is addressed. The Parks Director (and probably the board) support the change also telling us at a recent meeting their hasn’t been any major accidents involving E2s on the trail in the past 5 years. I have heard about 2 major accidents, but didn’t get a lot of details.

Besides the health and mobility advantages for seniors, I like my E2 for commuting and can easily switch from the trail, to a sidewalk to a street, riding safe speeds on all (I can lock in certain speeds depending on level, essentially a cruise control).

The opposition is coming from the fact that E2’s can be throttled (I have suggested a no throttling rule on the trail) which is a shallow argument since most users only throttle when starting out or going up a hill. There is also the ‘what about the kids’ group, and I get it, I want kids to safely play along the bike trail, but when I am riding my bike ON THE TRAIL my main focus is my safety and the safety of riders and walkers around me. If your child suddenly decides to break free in a public park and jumps in front of my bike on the trail, that’s on the parent or caregiver. I have never had a close call with kids. WHY? Because parents ARE responsible and ARE watching their kids when in the parks. I have almost got into serious accidents when dogs off leash decide to run in front of my bike, maybe that is the rule that needs to be enforced?

Your attendance is crucial form informing the board about your experiences with your E2.

If you cannot attend, please call or email your councilors HERE telling them you support the change.

UPDATE: The bicycle committee was evenly split on allowing E2s on the trail, but were supportive of a speed limit. The concern is the throttle, but as I have demonstrated below, you can put in a NO throttling rule on the trail for coasting or riding and it wouldn’t limit the E2 riders at all because they would be just riding with regular E1 assistance. The SFPD and Police Chief Thum has told councilors he is NOT in opposition to the E2 extension and has told councilors that nothing has happened in 5 years that would concern him with the use of the E2 on the trail. The Sioux Falls Parks Department Administration also does oppose the changes, but they do have to go in front of the Parks Board for approval hopefully in August. At the Active Transportation Board Wednesday morning they will be discussing and either recommend or deny the use of E2s. The meeting is at 8:30 AM, July 19, Old Commission Chambers at City Hall.

UPDATE II: I shot this video of the WORST intersection in Sioux Falls to cross as a pedestrian or bicyclist. It’s like a 1/4 mile crosswalk 🙁 This is NOT how you design a complete street. You wonder why people use the rec trail for commuting? Cross this intersection on foot or on a bike and you will figure out why.

Before I rode one 3 years ago, I had a lot of questions of how they worked. I put together some rough videos of how E2s work.

A gentleman came forward to the council meeting tonight during public input (FF 40:00) and was surprised that he was told not to ride his newly purchased E2 Bike on the trail.

He found it ironic because he got a warning from a motorcycle cop.

UPDATE: Someone who spoke to the gentleman before his testimony, said he wasn’t even riding his bike on the rec trail but was SITTING next to it on a park bench when the officer gave him the warning. I guess it is easier to give out citations to people who are not moving 🙂

I also found it funny that the mayor tried to correct this first time inputer by telling him there is a speed limit on the trail. THERE IS NOT! No where in city ordinance is there a speed limit on the rec trail, there are also NO posted signs except one on the 41st street bridge that has been there for over 30 years.

UPDATE: I have also been informed that the rec trail does have a 20 MPH, but it is NOT posted and is just a ‘parks policy‘. Would love for someone to pay me to try to find this policy on the city website, it could get expensive.

Once again the mayor has NO CLUE what is actually in statute.

I heard from a city official tonight that they will be moving forward within the next couple of weeks on a change to the E2 restrictions (and other adjustments).

UPDATE: The bicycle ordinances on the bike trail are a prime example of the lack of transparency in our government. They post NO signs telling people about rec trail restrictions (vehicle, speed or otherwise) and expect people to just pull up their city hall crystal ball and know these things. Government runs more efficiently based on transparency, not tongue and cheek suggestions based on limited information.