E-MTBs Prohibited from Malibu Creek, Point Mugu and Will Rogers State Parks

On September 13, 2017, California State Parks Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap issued order 915-17-02, closing all trails in the Angeles District to electric bicycles. This includes multi-use trails in Malibu Creek State Park, Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Park, and Point Mugu State Park.

E-MTB’s such as this Specialized Turbo Levo are prohibited from Santa Monica Mountains trails

Electric mountain bikes are already prohibited from Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and National Park Service trails.

Some trails and many popular bike routes in the Santa Monicas cross more than one of these jurisdictions. This had led to confusion as to where e-MTBs were allowed. Sap’s order states that consistency with neighboring jurisdictions is part of the justification used.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation current policy regarding e-MTBs leaves the decision at the District level, until such time as a formal state-wide policy is adopted. The order goes into effect on October 1st, 2017.

Enforcement is expected to begin then too, but we do not yet have information on how it will be enforced. As one can see in photo above, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish some e-MTbs from their non-electric brethren.

Sap’s order does appear to allow for exemptions. Law enforcement and emergency personnel may still use e-MTBs in the performance of their official duties without a prior written exemption.

Currently, Conejo Open Space trails are generally open to e-MTBs, as well as roads and trails appearing on the Angeles National Forest MVUM (Motor Vehicle Use Map).  Check the People for Bikes e-MTB Map for more information on where to legally ride electric mountain bikes.

2017-09-15 – Angeles District State Parks E-Bike Order


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26 Responses to “E-MTBs Prohibited from Malibu Creek, Point Mugu and Will Rogers State Parks”

  1. Linda says:

    Why? I’m old and slow and can’t keep up with my friends even when I’m on an ebike? What is the reason.?

    • Douglas Thompson says:

      And what about people with physical disabilities? I know a person that is an avid mountain biker that had knee replacement surgery that did not have good results. Now, he can only ride a mountain bike on a level surface. He has always gone on rides with different groups or friends. He needs assistance climbing hills. Those pedal assist e-bikes seem to be a good choice. And I really do not know anything about the e-bikes.
      What is the concern? Are they going too fast? Are they tearing up the trails? Are they loud?

      • John C Mitchell says:

        I totally agree. enforce the laws and get the bad ones out. Most troublemakers are not on ebikes cause they can’t afford them. The punks are ruining it for law abiding people who are older or may need help climbing due to a medical condition. We need to fight this.

    • Michael Bach says:

      It really is unfortunately. A rider in our group is 71 years old and have recently discovered a new love for cycling through the advancement of these pedal assists bicycles. It has allowed him to marginally keep up with me and his son up the hills (doesn’t provide any power on the down) but now won’t be able to join us any longer. I believe the issue is education and manufacturers need to step in let the law makers take it for a spin.

      I also believe there is much infighting within our group itself with individuals who are actively lobbying for the ban. Change is hard. Reminds of of hikers vs bikers all over again except this time from the inside.

  2. Steve Clark says:

    The new order banning ebikes from State Parks in the Santa Monica Mountains also applies to Topanga State Park.

    • Walter Grand says:

      I am a 64 year old man with health issues that recently bought a eMTB. It has given me chance to get out into the mountains and enjoy riding again. The argument that eMTBs are dangerous is false. Most eMTBs are ridden by old folks that go slow and steady.

      You have ever been out on the trails and you see that the young strong riders on non eMTBs fly down the hills and do jumps and really dangerous stunts. You- COBRA do not mention this and that all of trails now have jumps added by riders ( check out Chesboro).

      Here are two great articles that explain this. Your arguments are the same as the hiker and horse riders used to limit MTBs in the 80s



      COBRA should take a look in the mirror about this. MTB riding is for everyone.

      It comes down to responsible riding and irresponsible riding. Your patrol folks should look for out of control riders and ask them to control themselves and the park ranger should also and ticket the bad riders… regular or eMTB.

      So let’s work together. eMTBs allow older riders to enjoy the trails again. Do not close it off to us.

      Walter Grand

      Agoura Hills CA

  3. Pat says:

    I feel like this is based on a fear of change and the unknown. Please help me and others change this by taking two minutes to write an email to the author of this order.



  4. Harlan says:

    I still ride both bikes, although I use my E bike more, both bikes can do the same destruction on a trail in the wrong hands. I think they need to penalize those destructive individuals, and not put all of us, into the same classification. For them to try and take the assistance of an E bike motor away from those of us that have gotten older, and still love to ride, is an injustice to the mountain bike community, and manufactures of mountain bike’s.

  5. Tom Horan says:

    Why are ebikes being banned on the fire roads I ride when there are cars and trucks out on the very same trails? All summer there were vehicles up and down those fire roads yet I can’t ride a class 1 ebike?

  6. Michael Bach says:

    This is a big blow to the future of pedal assist cycling advancements that opens the sport to many more to enjoy and experience the outdoors. One of the reasons I came to California was because of it’s openness. It’s unfortunate that policies are being made based on the experience of past generation electric bicycles. With regards to the new generation of pedal assist bicycles, once ridden, one realizes that it poses no more harm then the current situation. This is an issue of education and I hope we all can reach a mindset of inclusion in the future and not repeat the conflicts between user groups of the past. In the words of mountain bike action magazine. Just try it out before deciding. I hope policy makers and us in the cycling community reevaluate in the future.

  7. Clark john says:

    Just look at strava, people with regular bikes rides this mountain at 20mph plus on the downhill and yet they talk about safety!!!

  8. BillP91311 says:

    Please bomb Craig Sap with email messages. This is another knee jerk move by a person who is behind in his decision making. Heck even Jerry Brown approved of them. This man needs to get his mind right. Going up a hill with some assistance is not doing anything to the park environment. What a bad decision and this does not help bike shops the economy and tax revenues. Bad decision. Reverse it now.

  9. Tim Tommasino says:

    I am surprised that so many people here think motorized bicycle belongs on multiple use trails. You have to be kidding. Mountain bikers already have a bad rap among the hiking and equestrian crowd, and I don’t blame them. There are so many inconsiderate and unsafe bikers out there. Not to mention, Strava has brought a whole new kind of conflict and abuse to my local trails. Don’t be so lazy. Pedal your bike. Or go take your electric bike to an OHV area and join the other motorized users. The last thing we need on our local multiple use trails is bicycles with motors.

    • C craig says:

      I disagree. You should distinguish between pedal assisted ebikes and the throttle control ebikes. The throttle control bikes are certainly electric motorcycles.

  10. John C Mitchell says:

    I just purchased an e bike. I am 56 with a bad heart, a pacemaker as well. I also applied for and will receive a vaiver from the state, or I will sue, ever her of the ADA. I say screw you you to the 20 to 40 year olds who think they own the trails. I also ride motorcycles and will kick any of your asses down the hill or on the street. Its for the climbing that i need help due to a disability. Ban the law breakers, and fuck the snowflakes, not all e bikes.

  11. Flavia S. says:

    The ban is unlawful since it discriminates people with disabilities who ride e-bikes. The point of the matter is that it classifies assisted bikes as motorized vehicles. This classification is incorrect. Assisted pedal activated e-bikes look like bicycles and operate like bicycles hence they are bicycles. The claim that they are motorized vehicles simply because they have a motor is wrong. So if I carry a motor in my backpack when I go hiking does that make me a motorized vehicle? A motorized vehicle is more than a motor. It has a throttle activated motor. Instead assisted e-bikes instead are human activated. The motor acts as extra gearing that supports less abled riders.

    This is blatant discrimination. If there was a real concern for danger for hikers then there should be speed limit and it should be enforced with heavy fines. I pay my taxes and I want to have access to a public resources. Who wants to join in for an organized response to this ban?

  12. Flavia S. says:

    Notwithstanding the great work that Corba and the USFS Superintend have done for the upkeep of the trails the current ban effectively incite haters to harass, bull and intimidate riders on e-bike to enjoy a public resource. This bullying on the track from people who do not have any mandate needs to stop NOW. Furthermore USFS cannot impose or enforce a ban that is inherently unlawful.

    CORBA seems complacent and this puts them in the same categories as those who incite haters on the MTB tracks to harass other riders. This is a condemnable offense.

    Using an old law designed to keep mopeds from the 50s off the trails and deliberately twisting its language to apply it to modern Class1 pedal assisted e-bikes is unlawful according to Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837 (1984), — that will not allow agencies to twist ambiguous laws. Besides, there is also ADA compliance as acknowledged by other parks. See below:

    2/13/17 El Paso County
    Res 17-350 Amended Park Rules

    6.6: OTHER POWER-DRIVEN MOBILITY DEVICES: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires State and Local Governments to make reasonable modifications to policies to allow “other power-driven mobility devices (OPDMD)” to be used by “individuals with mobility disabilities” in areas open to pedestrian use. 28 CFR §35.137 An OPDiviD device is any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines-whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities–that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion. This includes, but is not limited to, electric assisted bikes (EABs), motorcycles, golf carts, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMDs), such as scooters, or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes. Only persons with mobility disabilities shall be allowed to use OPDMDs in County Parks facilities, including parks, open space and trails. A County representative may inquire about use of an OPDMD and request credible assurances that the mobility device is required because of the person’s disability. The County representative shall accept a valid State-issued disability parking placard or card, or State-issued proof of disability as credible evidence; however, in lieu of these, a verbal representation of mobility disability, which is not contradicted by observable facts, shall be credible evidence as well. A County representative shall not ask an individual using a wheelchair or OPDMD about the nature and extent of the individual’s disability. El Paso County may develop additional policies and procedures to address OPDMDs, as needed.

    6.7 ELECTRICAL ASSISTED BICYCLES: Class I and Class II Electrical Assisted Bicycles may use El Paso County Parks Primary and Secondary trails up to a maximum speed of twenty miles per hour. Class III Electrical Assisted Bicycles are not permitted on any County trail.

  13. Flavia S. says:

    The ban issued by Craig Sap (link above) is illegal according to AB1096, 15 USC2085(B) and H.R.727
    and the park managers are violating people’s civil rights to equal access of a public resource (the parks) with their harassing and bullying behavior. Parks are a public resource and should not be reserved to specific categories of riders.

    Park managers or CORBA have no business in taking sides with haters who want to limit access to what they consider “their” trails. since Parks are a public resource.

    Park managers do not have the power to issue bans and challenge the laws. There is a famous case called Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837 (1984), — that will not allow agencies to twist ambiguous laws (we have mopeds from the 1950s and modern assisted human activated e-bikes which are VERY different) and apply such laws arbitrarily. Both Federal and State recent bills AB1096, 15 USC2085(B) update the classification of class1 and 2 e-bikes as bicycles.

    For those who are curious there is more information here: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/static.peopleforbikes.org/uploads/E-Bike%20Law%20Primer%20v3%20(1).pdf

    IMBA has also recently changed views on Class1 e-bikes as published here: https://www.singletracks.com/blog/trail-advocacy/imba-updates-electric-mountain-bike-position/

    CORBA and IMBA are afraid of the backslash of members pulling their support if they simply do the right thing: allow class1 e-bikes where other bikes are allowed. The issue is that a group of bullies and haters has no right to prevent another group with a legit and harmless vehicle to access the trails. This is discrimination and USFS has no business in cherry picking one category of riders over another

    This ban is unlawful and it needs to be adjusted to be ADA compliant and allow Class1 e-bikes or it needs to be revoked asap to allow families and friends to enjoy public trails together.

  14. Howard V says:

    What’s CORBA’s position on e-MTB’s? It seem this article is just reporting the news, not taking sides. I ride my regular mountain bike on the Santa Monica mountains 2-3 times per week. I would LOVE to use an e-MTB when/if it becomes legal. I’m in my 50’s and ride from my home. I’m absolutely exhausted from riding up the steep hills once I reach the trail heads. An e-MTB would allow me to speed up the hills at 5 mph instead of 1 mph. And then I could ride much further.

    A Class 1 e-bike does not make anyone go faster on a straight road or downhill. It only helps with tough climbs. I will gladly give financial support through donations/memberships to CORBA if they also support legalizing Class 1 e-bikes on trails. There is not a single legitimate reason why they are not allowed on trails where regular bikes are allowed.

    • Steve Messer says:

      You are correct in that we are not taking sides. We are not an e-MTB advocacy group. We are helping make sure that land managers understand the community demand for e-mtb access, and the potential benefits and issues with e-mtbs. Recently the Forest Service begun e-MTB pilot projects in Lake Tahoe and Big Bear, and at Mammoth Mountain Bike Park (a Forest Service permit holder). We support those pilot projects and hope to see them expand and sensible policies around their use developed.

      • Howard V says:

        Thank you Steve, I appreciate the response. I’m an avid cyclist and have 4 bikes (mountain, road, hybrid, and front box cargo). I love riding. Recently I purchased a trekking e-bike. Main reason being that sometimes I don’t want to sweat (meeting friends for dinner, going to get a haircut, dentist/doctor appointments, etc). After riding it a few times, I have completely changed my opinion on e-bikes and absolutely love them. I can’t see any reason why a Class 1 would cause any harm to the mountains.

        You can add me to the list of people who would love to see them legalized on all trails where regular bikes are allowed.

  15. This is a good discussion and I just wrote to Craig Sap with my opinion and explanation as to why I feel it is unfair to exclude ebikes in state parks that are partially funded by state tax dollars. Let’s hope this helps.

  16. Dan Williams says:

    Hello Steve Messer –

    I am addressing this reply specifically to you because you seem to be knowledgeable about the issues and in possession of information that I would like to have. I understand that you are not in a position to be an “e-mtb advocate,” but that is exactly what I would like to become because of a recent personal experience.

    I will try to keep this brief. My riding partner went through an exceptionally stressful period that contributed to his having a mild heart attack. HIs cardiologist cleared him to resume riding, but he often struggled with climbs due (in my opinion) to the side effects of the several medications he was taking. The were times riding together post-infarction when I felt uncomfortable about his physical state. He purchased an e-mtb in August 2017 just before you know what. We recently had a chance to ride together for the first time in several months. He rode his e-bike and I rode my conventional mtb. This was my first experience being close to an e-mtb on the trail, and it was an eye-opener.

    The first thing is that if I had not known he was riding a pedal assisted bike, I might not have noticed. The motor noise was essentially inaudible over the tire noise, and the bike behaved in every respect like a “normal” mountain bike. The idea that e-mtbs might have a different impact on the environment than conventional mtbs seems to me not to be based on a realistic understanding of what an e-mtb is or how an e-mtb works.

    The second thing I noticed is that the electric pedal assist enabled him (but not me) to negotiate every hill we encountered within a zone of comfort that allowed both of us to enjoy riding in a way that was previously not possible: him because he was completely comfortable with the level of effort he had to exert, and me because I quickly realized that he was able to leave me (giving it my all) behind in the dust without the possibility of overtaxing himself. This personal experience resonates deeply with the many comments to this article expressed about the needs of older, disabled or recovering riders.

    Based on my experience, limited as it is, I cannot see any valid reason why e-mtbs should not be allowed anywhere ordinary mtbs are allowed, and I would like to dedicate serious effort to help make this come about to the extent it may be possible. I have empathy for public officials like Craig Sap who have certain responsibilities they may take seriously and are confronted by technologies they may not fully understand that, certainly at first glance, would appear threatening. That this is the case seems to be a matter of fact.

    The task for e-mtb advocates, it seems to me, is to maintain a sense of good will and find ways to open constructive dialogues that recognize the concerns of responsible officials and the constraints under which they operate while trying to bring about change. This is all new to me, but I want to get involved.

    You mention new USFS e-mtb “pilot projects.” I have not been able to find any information about these online. Anything you can tell me about these projects would be helpful. Well-designed pilot projects ought to be a good way to start getting beyond ideological positions and pontificating.

    I have no illusions concerning my ability to make meaningful things happen all by myself. If you are aware of other persons or organizations who are presently active in advocating for opening trails to e-mtbs, I would like to know who they are and how I can get in touch with them.

    Please feel free to contact me via e-mail.

  17. Flavia Sparacino says:

    I emailed Craig Sap a while back and also went to visit him to pledge e-bike access. I was accompanied by another e-bike advocate.
    However to my understanding the ban remains active since my visit to him.
    Edward Wilkinson and Dan Williams I am happy to join efforts with you. I spoke with Steve Messer over the phone as well and his position was different than what he states above. He told me he think of e-bikes as electric vehicles and did not sound much supportive over the phone. Did I misunderstand CORBA’s position or has it evolved since the fall?

    Anyway I had one of my lawyers craft a legal memorandum that clearly shows that the ban issues by Craig Sap is illegal and that he has no power to neither to issue it nor to enforce it.

    Please feel free to reach out to me for more information
    Flavia Sparacino
    Santa Monica