Following the release of electric bike ride-share programs in Harris County, The Woodlands Township board of directors Jan. 18 discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the vehicles within the township, but they did not make any immediate changes to township policy. A portion of Spring Creek Greenway in The Woodlands Township is in Harris County.

What you need to know

Following the expansion of ride-share programs for e-bikes in Harris County that could result in their use on Spring Creek Greenway, township directors requested feedback regarding the use of e-vehicles and bikes on pathways in the township.

Township Chief Operations Officer Chris Nunes said a number of issues surround the possibility of allowing e-bikes on pathways and trails in The Woodlands, such as monitoring speed, filing incident reports and verifying the class of motorized vehicles on the trails. Another issue with allowing e-bikes on trails within The Woodlands is due to the density of trees along pathways with wide variation in terrain and trail width, he said.

Some context

Motorized vehicles and e-bikes are defined by the Texas Legislature in House Bill 2188 as "propelled by an electric motor, exclusively or in combination with the application of human power." There are multiple classifications of e-bikes including:
  • Class 1: partially human-powered with a speed limit of 20 mph
  • Class 2: primarily motor-powered with a speed limit of 20 mph
  • Class 3: partially human-powered with a speed limit of 28 mph
Additional vehicles considered a concern on pathways include electric scooters, hoverboards and golf carts.

What they're saying

"[Spring Creek] pathway is going to be more linear where you're seeing further ahead than the serpentine rails that you see in The Woodlands," Nunes said. "Over time and many, many examples I can cite, the pathways were moved and zig-zagged specifically to stay away from areas of larger trees, and we're doing that right now."

"Safety is our highest priority, and we believe the pathway should be safe for all users that includes walkers, strollers, walking dogs, riding scooters, and riding bikes," said Tricia Monticello Kievlan, board president of Bike The Woodlands.

How we got here

The issue of e-vehicles on pathways initially arose in 2013, and restriction of e-vehicles was upheld by the township board in 2021 following concern from the public regarding walking safety throughout the park systems. The board of directors decided to not make any change to the township's e-bike policy Jan. 18, and it will consider the information at a future meeting, according to discussion at the meeting.