Marin County Sheriff institutes new speed limit on Corte Madera trail

Pasha Fooman

On April 19, 2023, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office announced they will be patrolling the popular Corte Madera Creek Pathway in an effort to enforce the recently instituted 15 mph speed limit. These new implementations are a result of an influx in e-bike use on this three-and-a-half mile trail in Corte Madera. This increase is likely to continue growing, and according to The Roundup, e-bike sales are projected to reach a staggering 10 million purchases annually worldwide. This policy is primarily targeted toward Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, both of which are characterized by an inability to supply power to the pedals when the rider exceeds 20 miles per hour. The policy also entirely banned the more advanced and high-speed Class 3 e-bikes. 

Overlooking the Corte Madera Creek, the pathway serves bikers and hikers alike.

In a partnership with the Marin County Parks organization, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office has placed deputies along the path. The intent of this department action is to not only enforce the new speed limit, but to also educate local residents on the policy, as oftentimes the sight of an officer is enough to slow down most e-bike riders. This policy is being strictly enforced, as officers will be using light detection and ranging (LiDAR), as well as radio detection and ranging (RADAR) guns to scan the exact speeds of bikers all around the trail. 

For some local outdoor enthusiasts, this is a step in the right direction. Despite the convenience and advancement of e-bike technology, authorities are growing increasingly upset at their seemingly high injury rate. A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System concluded that e-bike accidents have more than double the internal injury rate compared to unpowered pedal bikes. Sam Palmer, a Mill Valley resident and frequent hiker who walks the Corte Madera Creek Pathway expressed similar worries. 

“I get it, it’s mostly middle school [and] high school age kids having fun riding around on these e-bikes. But [e-bikes are] not safe. I’ve seen these bikes outdo cars on the road, and that’s not acceptable on these small trails, not for [pedestrians] and not for [the riders],” Palmer said. 

These concerns reflect a growing attitude against e-bikes both by community members and in policy on the roads, at schools and on the trails of Marin. Redwood administration has also sent out newsletters on several occasions warning against unsafe e-bike conduct. Palmer expressed relief at the new policy, hoping it may alleviate some of the troubles of avid trail hikers in Marin.

Surrounded by residential areas, the Corte Madera Creek Pathway’s new speed limit seeks to address the concerns of nearby neighborhoods.

“A speed limit was a step in the right direction, but [the Sheriff’s department] had it wrong at first because they were kind of lazy about it. Now that they have the [police] department out in full force, hopefully people out on the trails will see all the radar guns and slow down a little bit,” Palmer said. 

It isn’t just hikers that are praising such policy changes. E-bike rider Claudia Woolher shed light on how speed limit enforcement makes trails safer for everyone. 

“Some people get stressed out when they see cops on the road or out on the trail, but honestly, I think our community needs that. Being reckless on any vehicle that can go fast should mean getting a ticket. Bikers shouldn’t be complaining about that,” Woolher said. 

Woolher also stressed the shared nature of the Corte Madera Creek Pathway, and how this should factor into the enforcement of the new speed limit policy. 

“It feels like there’s a lot of animosity between pedestrians and bikers, where you have pedestrians worried about being hit and bikers who say all these rules ruin their favorite activity. Really though, we all love using the same trail. There’s no reason for bikers to be upset they can’t ride the trail like they’re on the Tour de France, and pedestrians should have nothing to fear from bikers if all these rules are in place,” Woohler said. 

Characterized by their ability to provide pedal assistance at high speeds, class three e-bikes are now banned from the Corte Madera Creek Pathway. (Photo courtesy of

With the initiation of proper enforcement, the new speed limit on the Corte Madera Creek Pathway aims to reduce injuries among bikers and pedestrians alike while also allowing both groups to safely enjoy their favorite pastimes. 

For more information on any policy or enforcement changes on the Corte Madera Creek Pathway, visit the Marin County Parks website and e-bike guidelines at