Outdoors Blog

Electric bike legislation delayed to 2018; Soldier Mountain extends season

Boise Rep. Phylis King said Tuesday that she has decided to delay her proposed legislation to classify some electric bicycles as bicycles to consider new language for the bill.

King was contacted by People for Bikes on Monday about joining the trend set by California, Utah and Tennessee to create three categories of e-bikes: the first requires pedaling and provides assistance up to 20 mph, the second has a throttle and provides assistance up to 20 mph and the third requires peddling and provides assistance up to 28 mph.

In California, the first category can go nearly everywhere bicycles can go, the second category can use graded bike paths and the third can use bike lanes. The model language posted on the People for Bikes website includes authority for local governments to determine some e-bike access. Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said last week that he wanted such control, which likely would keep the ban on electric bikes in tact on the Greenbelt. The city does allow e-bike use for those with injuries and disabilities.

Electric bikes aren’t defined in Idaho Code. Because of that, they are classified as motor vehicles. They are illegal to ride on bike paths and sidewalks and even in bike lanes.

The Idaho Statesman published a story online last week and in print Tuesday detailing King’s effort to treat some e-bikes as bicycles and some of the resistance she has faced. About half of the states have defined e-bikes as bicycles but 11 have allowed local governments to restrict e-bike access within those laws. That includes California, Utah and Tennessee.

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Soldier Mountain Ski Area announced Tuesday that it plans to be open for all weekends in March. Operations will be limited to weekends. Traditionally, the ski area is closed by early March.

Any weekday-only deals and passes will be honored on weekends in March. That includes Bogus Basin season-pass holders’ two free lift tickets as part of purchases made during the 2016 Presidents Day sale.

Soldier Mountain expects to close for the season March 26.

“We may have slightly shorter hours of operation, and of course this is dependent on having good snow to ski,” the ski area said in a statement. “Please come enjoy the great snow we’ve had this season; it should provide fantastic spring conditions.”

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Other outdoors stories of note:

▪ Check out some footage of avalanche mitigation at Tamarack, which received 17 inches of snow in one day this week.

▪ Watch a cool, 2-minute video of the elk feeding effort at Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in East Idaho.

▪ The Les Bois Film Festival puts a spotlight on nature films Saturday.