States, counties and cities license everything from dogs to doctors and cars to contractors to raise enough money to build infrastructure, to support necessary inspections and to enforce laws.
The Sun Valley City Council’s debate regarding whether to allow electric-assisted bicycles and scooters on the city’s public pathway shows that cyclists should be required to pay fees to operate there.
Fast-moving cyclists on the city pathway, which links to the Wood River Trail, are nothing new. However, the introduction of e-bikes and e-scooters will increase their numbers enormously, along with the threat of injury to other users.
The council tabled deliberations on an ordinance that would establish pathway speed limits because members couldn’t agree on what the limit, if any, should be. The council also realized that the city’s ability to enforce the speed limit would be nearly nonexistent with present funding.
To date, the council and the Blaine County Recreation District have accepted the presence of e-bikes and e-scooters on the pathways as inevitable. They don’t want to push them onto roadways, but seem willing to mix baby carriages, dogs, horses, kids, runners and walkers of all ages with bicycles traveling up to 28 mph.
That’s a recipe for disaster.
Highway speed limits don’t exist without enforcement. Neither will speed limits on public paths. The cities and the district must either enforce such limits or put e-bikes, e-scooters and road bikes, which can reach the same speeds, on the streets.
The expense of enforcement should not fall on slow-moving users. The obvious solution is to require license fees for all bikes and scooters and to use them to pay for enforcement.