The News recently weighed in on the JIA’s decision to ban rental of e-bikes on Jekyll, suggesting the authority should do more research on the subject. However those responsible for regulating trails, including the National Park Service, have done the research, and they believe that type of path, clientele, condition and design of paths must be evaluated before allowing e-bikes on trails.
Jekyll’s paths are multi-use paths — pedestrians and runners use the paths as well as people on bikes of many types, scooters, wheelchairs, surreys, etc.
Jekyll is family-oriented with people of all ages and physical condition using the paths. The number of people visiting the island has grown tremendously, especially on the weekends, and during peak periods the paths are beyond functional capacity.
Jekyll’s paths wind through oaks and marshes and were simply not designed to handle the quantity and variety of bikes/vehicles currently using the paths.
Finally, The News argues that the JIA should consider businesses and jobs when making a decision on the rental of e-bikes. Thankfully, the JIA is taking the responsible position on this matter by considering first the safety and welfare of the people who visit, live and work on the island.
Truth be told, with the increase of development and visitation to Jekyll, the JIA needs to wrestle with the hard fact that island capacity and the infrastructure to ensure safety must be evaluated.
The Jekyll Master Plan update currently underway provides an ideal time to do that.