Snowmobiles, electric bikes discussed by Transportation and Defense Committee

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Electric bicycles and license and registration fees were the topics of the Idaho House Transportation and Defense Committee Feb. 6.

Rep. Terry Gestrin, R-Donnelly, brought forward two RSs dealing with registration fees for those using Idaho trails. The first would charge out-of-state off-road vehicle riders for using trails in Idaho.

“Many times, we could ride in their states, our neighboring states, and not be charged, and we’d reciprocate,” he said. “Well, some of those states are starting to charge our riders, so (Idaho riders) feel like it’s time to reciprocate.”

Gestrin said it would also allow riders to pay the fee for their vehicle every two years, rather than every year.

The second bill Gestrin spoke on came from the Idaho State Snowmobile Association. The bill would allow the association to collect fees from not only snowmobilers, but most users of their groomed trails, defined as “over-the-snow travelers.”

The fee would apply to cross-country skiers using the trails. Rep. Steven Harris, R-Meridian, said with most other trail-user fees, the line seems to be drawn between motorized and non-motorized vehicles. All-terrain vehicles, for example, may need to pay a fee to use certain trails, while bicyclists do not.

“Is this any different, for any reason?” Harris asked.

Gestrin said it is different, because the snowmobile trails must be groomed every week.

A bill regarding electric bikes was also brought before the committee. Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, said her legislation would define e-bikes into three categories. The bill would enable counties and cities to more easily set speed limits on such bikes or prohibit some categories of bikes from using certain trails.

Two other bills dealt with fees on certain licenses, and another pertained to the registration and titling of army vehicles, which are often used in agriculture.

The committee voted to introduce all bills.

•••

Nina Rydalch covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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