Stricter leash, e-bike enforcement coming to Snowmass after education
The Snowmass Police department is rolling out stricter dog leash and e-bike enforcement strategies over the last few weeks of summer, police chief Brian Olson said.
But this doesn’t mean if your dog doesn’t have a leash on or you’re riding an e-bike too fast on the paved trails you’re definitely getting a citation, Olson explained.
“It’s really the educational piece we want to focus on,” Olson said late last week. “Just the most egregious violations will get citations, everyone else will get a warning so we can track it. … If it’s your second or third warning, you’ll get a citation.”
Through greater police presence along Snowmass paved trails and unpaved trailheads, Olson aims to create a safer environment for all town trail users.
For the dog leash enforcement, Olson said the goal is for officers, namely those working with animal services, to talk with hikers about ensuring they have full control of their off-leash dogs and not letting them run too far ahead where they can cause issues with other trail users and their pets.
“As long as owners have real control of their dogs, it’s OK that they’re off leash,” Olson said. “It’s dogs that are out away from their owners at a distance that can cause issues. That’s not OK.”
With trail use increasing in the Snowmass area, Olson said officers are hearing more anecdotal reports of out-of-control, off-leash dogs, though police generally haven’t dealt directly with many problems.
Owners without control of their off-leash dogs will most likely receive a warning, unless a citation is warranted, Olson said. Citations could be as much as $50.
He also said officers are looking to carry out this stricter enforcement on Fanny Hill for the two remaining Thursday night summer concerts, which are dog friendly.
For e-bike enforcement, Olson said Snowmass officers plan to start doing more to educate users on local electric bike laws.
Last summer, Snowmass Town Council approved Class 1 e-bikes on paved trails only. Class 2 and 3 e-bikes aren’t allowed on trails or sidewalks, roads only, and no e-bikes are allowed on any of the town’s unpaved trails, Olson said.
Snowmass police have received reports of e-bikes that look a lot like mountain bikes traveling on some of the single-track trails in the area, Olson said. He’s also heard of e-bike users on the paved trails not using proper passing etiquette, meaning they’re not letting other trail users know when they pass on the left and often zooming by unannounced instead.
“If you’re using a Class 1 e-bike, you have to be aware of who you’re sharing the trail with,” Olson said. “When you come upon people to pass, you have to give a warning in a way that maintains safety for everyone.”
Olson said Snowmass Police plan to increase their presence on local trails to help promote e-bike safety and education. The department doesn’t have any trail rangers but does have officers who cycle in their free time, Olson said, meaning some of the increased enforcement may come on their days off.
Police also are planning to work with town parks and trails officials to enhance signage on Snowmass paved and unpaved trails to better inform users of e-bike and dog leash rules.
“We’re slowly going to ramp up and implement these things so that next summer we’ve already got a good plan in place,” Olson said.
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