If you've spent much time on Colorado's walking and bike trails, it might not come as surprise that motorized vehicles are frowned upon.

In Boulder County, there is a debate over whether to permit electric bikes, or e-bikes, that have a small motor to assist the rider, on trails.

Last year Colorado legislature passed House Bill 1151 saying electric bikes are not considered motorized vehicles.

Despite that declassification, Boulder County decided to uphold its ban on e-bikes.

"Passive recreation is kind of a foundational tenant of Boulder County Parks and Open Space," said Boulder County Parks and Open Space program manager Tina Nielsen.

Ever since the department's inception in 1975, Boulder County has banned electrical vehicles on trails. Its defense, according to Nielsen, is supporting passive recreation and not active recreation.

"We want people using the trail using human-powered modes of activity," Nielsen said.

It's why the department has decided to uphold its ban, despite the state's decision.

For local residents, like University Bikes general manager Lester Binegar, that doesn't sit well.

"The first things is allowing [e-bikes] on the trails. The second thing is educating all the users," he said.

Binegar says his wife was born with a defect that left her with half of a lung.

Until she purchased an e-bike last year, he says she couldn't experience the world of biking.

"This enables her to enjoy the same trials that I do," he said. "It's the great equalizer. This bike allows her to ride at my pace."

Biking purists, however, disagree.

BCPOS's website has a comments section from area residents so they can voice their concern about the issue. Binegar says he hears the conversations in his shop.

"A number one concern is that these bikes will put a stain on regular mountain biking," Binegar said.

Not only are mountain bikers concerned about the higher speeds e-bikes can obtain, Binegar contends some worry about safety and the fact e-bikers can achieve the same goal with less effort.

"I can understand their concerns," Binegar said. "But I don't think that fear is justified."

Boulder County Parks and Open Space has held two open houses to field questions from both supporters and opponents of e-bikes.

Their third and final one will be Feb. 13 from 4 - 5 p.m. at Lagerman Agricultural Preserve 7100 Pike Rd, Longmont.

They department says there is not a timeline for a decision on e-bikes, but anticipate making a decision by the end of the year.