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Stearns County looks at allowing e-bikes on trails

Posted by: Jenna Ross Updated: February 10, 2014 - 4:10 PM

Stearns County could revise its rules to allow electric bikes on trails, bringing its ordinance in line with state law. The county board will hold a public hearing Tuesday on the proposal, according to its agenda.

So-called e-bikes -- which are pedaled, but also powered by a small motor -- have become increasingly accepted on public trails.

A small business hoping to rent e-bikes to riders on the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail has led the push to change Stearns County's trail ordinance, according to the St. Cloud Times.

Fans of electric bikes say they're a quiet, nonpolluting way to get people who might not otherwise ride onto roads and trails. But some have raised concerns about speed.

In an email to county commissioners, Kent Beissel argued that if e-bikes are allowed, "there needs to be some speed restrictions," according to the agenda packet. Several other residents who wrote the board were in favor of the change, saying that e-bikes would allow older people to access the trails.

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