Electric Bicycles on Nashville’s Greenways?

Greenway E-Bike Access Survey – CLOSED 

Metro Parks’ Electric Bicycle Greenway Access survey was conducted from October 29th through November 30th, and is now closed.

The results will be included in a forthcoming report by NDOT, the Greenways and Open Space Commission, and the Metro Legal Department. We look forward to sharing that with you when it becomes available.

Some Background:

Since the first greenway was opened in the early 1990’s, Metro Parks’ greenways have been enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, nature lovers, runners, families, commuters, rollerbladers, neighbors, bird watchers, skateboarders, and people of all ages and abilities.  A long-standing Parks’ rule of No Motorized Vehicles served as the policy for how people enjoyed the greenways.  Nashville’s greenways are designed to meet ADA compliance and, of course, motorized wheelchairs have always been welcomed.

In 2016, a state law was passed that defines and authorizes the operation of Class I and Class II electric bicycles on any path or trail intended for use by bicycles. However, the bill also stipulates that local authorities can regulate electric bicycles in their jurisdictions. In a clarifying determination this summer, the Metro Legal Department determined that the Parks’ No Motorized Vehicles no longer applied to Class 1 and Class 2 Electric Bicycles.

 

 

2021 Evaluation E-bikes on the Greenways:

This August, Metro Council passed a Resolution to evaluate electric bicycles on Nashville’s greenways. Conducted by Metro Parks, Nashville Department of Transportation, and Metro Legal Department, this process will include community engagement, peer city review, safety analysis, and the collection of other relevant information. This evaluation is being to help determine future policy for electric bicycles on Nashville’s greenways that ensures the physical safety of all greenway users.

Greenways for Nashville is a champion for community engagement and supports this study process.  We encourage all Davidson County citizens, regardless of their opinion, to participate in this survey to make their voices heard.

Photo (left) taken on the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge

Electric Bicycles Definition and Classes:

Electric Bicycles, also known as an E-bikes, powerbikes, pedelecs, or booster bikes, are bicycles with an integrated electric motor that does not exceed 750 watts of power.

Class 1 Electric Bicycles provide assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph

Class 2 Electric Bicycles provide assistance regardless of whether the rider is pedaling, and ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 mph

Class 3 Electric Bicycles provide assistance only while the rider is pedaling up to 28 mph.  TN law currently prohibits the use of Class 3 Electric Bicycles on paths or trails such as Nashville’s greenways.

Photo (right) courtesy of Walmart.com

Links and Resources:

Metro Nashville Parks Department 2021 Electric Bike Greenway Access Survey: http://ebikesurvey.nashville.gov

Metro Council Resolution to Solicit Community Input Regarding The Authorization of Electric Bicycles on Greenways: https://nashville.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5083018&GUID=3A86F486-8735-4516-A97F-895A6AE9B032&Options=Text%7c&Search=electric+bicycle

Tennessee State Bicycle Law: https://www.tn.gov/tdot/multimodal-transportation-resources/bicycle-and-pedestrian-program/resources11/tennesse-bicycle-laws.html