County of Marin - News Releases - Electric Bikes

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2019

E-Bike Use Proposal Heads to Supervisors

Parks and Open Space Commission recommendations align with state law

San Rafael, CA – Marin County Parks is recommending to update its policy on electric-assisted bicycles, commonly called e-bikes, to allow their use on County paved multiuse pathways.

A woman rides an electric bike.Many survey respondents told Marin County Parks that they welcome the addition of e-bikes as a transportation option.
The Marin County Board of Supervisors will consider the first reading of a proposed amendment to the Marin County Code during its September 17 session. If it receives Board support, a public hearing would be scheduled for September 24.

The amendment would only pertain to rules for paved multiuse paths such as the Mill Valley/Sausalito Path, the Corte Madera Creek Path, and the Pacheco Path. The change would not affect rules on Marin County Open Space District land, where e-bikes remain prohibited.

“We want to accommodate changes in transportation and to help get people out of cars,” said Max Korten, Director of Marin County Parks. “This can help alleviate road congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase opportunities for exercise.”

“We have done our due diligence preparing for this policy action and collected a lot of public feedback, including through visitor surveys,” said Parks and Open Space Superintendent Ari Golan. “Many survey respondents told us they welcome the addition of e-bikes as a transportation option. Survey respondents did express concern about safety. As with all other path visitors, e-bike riders should follow the Share the Path rules: be courteous, know the rules, be responsible.”

All bicycles and electric bicycles are subject to a maximum speed of 15 mph on County-maintained pathways except for the Bayfront Park section of the Mill Valley/Sausalito Path, where the speed limit is 10 mph.

“It is just as important to people that we take steps to ensure the safety of all visitors, especially children and seniors,” Korten said.

The State of California updated its vehicle code in 2016 to include a definition of an e-bike. The state said it is a fully operational pedal bicycle with an electric motor of less than 750 watts. The law still allows for local authorities and public agencies to regulate e-bike use within their jurisdictions.

A Class 1 e-bike has a pedal-assisted motor providing power only when pedaling and turning it off when the bike hits 20 mph. A Class 2 e-bike provides a boost up to 20 mph even when a rider is not pedaling. A Class 3 e-bike assists up to 28 mph.

If approved, Marin’s updated ordinance would allow Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on public roads and parking lots within Marin County Parks facilities, and on County paved bicycle and multiuse pathways. Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes also would be allowed in other areas when specifically signed to permit them. Class 3 e-bikes would be prohibited within Parks facilities except upon public roadways and parking lots or when specifically signed to permit them.

The Marin County Parks and Open Space Commission recommended proposed policy changes on e-bikes at its March 21 meeting.

The September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting will take place in Suite 330 of the Marin County Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael. A precise start time for the first reading is dependent on the flow of the other agenda items. The meeting can be seen on Channel 26 for Comcast and AT&T U-Verse cable TV subscribers or via the County’s livestream or archived webcast.

Feedback on the e-bikes issue may be emailed to the Parks staff.

All public meetings and events sponsored or conducted by the County of Marin are held at accessible sites. If you are a person with a disability and require information or materials in alternative formats – or if you require accommodation to participate in a county program, service or activity – please contact department staff at (415) 473-7331 or (415) 473-4381 (voice/TTY) or e-mail


Ari Golan
Parks and Open Space Superintendent
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6387
Email: Ari Golan