Bike advocacy group pushes for local control and public input
BOULDER, Colo. (Sep. 5, 2019) – Following an announcement from the Department of the Interior and a rollout event today in Ohio’s Cuyahoga National Park, PeopleForBikes welcomes the first step in the process to update federal management of electric bicycles (e-bikes). E-bikes are a versatile, sustainable tool that can help more Americans to experience their public lands.
“Safely integrating e-bikes onto roads, bike lanes, paths and selected trails across our federal lands will enable more people — including those who are older and of varying abilities — to ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors,” said Tim Blumenthal, PeopleForBikes’ president. “A successful long-term management strategy for e-bikes will ultimately depend on the proper implementation by each land management agency. We look forward to engaging with DOI and other stakeholders in that public process.”
PeopleForBikes’ mission is to get more people riding bicycles more often. E-bikes are the fastest growing segment of bicycling and are introducing the joys of riding a bike to new riders every day. PeopleForBikes supports modern, sensible e-bike rules and regulations at the state and federal level, and has already helped ratify model e-bike legislation in 22 states.
When it comes to e-bike use on public lands, PeopleForBikes supports a system that balances expanded e-bike access with discretion by local superintendents and land managers to determine appropriate places where e-bikes can be used. PeopleForBikes supports the three-class system for categorizing e-bikes that helps land managers tailor their policies to specific types of e-bikes when warranted:
• Class 1 e-bikes: pedal-assist only (rider must be pedaling to engage the motor and no throttle, and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph).
• Class 2 e-bikes: throttle assist and have a maximum speed of 20 mph.
• Class 3 e-bikes: pedal-assist only and have a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.
E-bikes help more people enjoy healthy, active lifestyles. E-bikes can be successfully added without issue to many existing roads, paths, and trail systems on federal lands, providing a useful mode of transportation and recreation at a time when too many Americans see national parks and public lands solely from their cars. E-bikes can improve the front country user experience by allowing visitors to bike from a park’s entrance to a trailhead, thereby reducing road congestion and air pollution, and can prove particularly useful in parks that are currently struggling with motor vehicle traffic and parking shortages.
PeopleForBikes has always recognized that e-bike regulation, particularly on public lands, requires a degree of nuance and careful attention to terrain, infrastructure, and the needs of other users. The organization will be fully engaged in the public process that each federal land management agency undertakes to formulate new e-bike rules, with particular attention to how the agency treats access to non-motorized trails that are regularly used by hikers and mountain bikers. PeopleForBikes supports Class 1 eMTB access to non-motorized trails when the responsible land management agency, in consultation with local mountain bikers and other stakeholder groups, determines that use is appropriate. PeopleForBikes does not support blanket Class 2 and 3 e-bike and eMTB access on non-motorized trails where traditional bikes are allowed to travel.
PeopleForBikes looks forward to working with the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation to create new e-bike regulations.
PeopleForBikes’ e-bike resource library can be found at peopleforbikes.org/ebikes
PeopleForBikes is making better biking for everyone by uniting millions of individuals, thousands of businesses and hundreds of communities. When people ride bikes, great things happen. Join us at PeopleForBikes.org.