Archive for the ‘E-MTBs’ Category

NPS and BLM Announce E-MTB Rulemaking

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

NPS, BLM E-bIke Rules Announced

Today, April 2, 2020, two federal agencies under the Department of the Interior announced their proposed rules governing the use of electric mountain bikes. Their publication in the Regulations.gov (expected in the coming days) will start a 60 day comment period.

The National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management were required to update their regulations to accommodate e-bikes under the Secretary of the Interior’s order 3376. That order directed agencies to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department. The rule would also support Secretary’s Order 3366, to increase recreational opportunities on federal lands.

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposes to amend its off-road vehicle regulations at 43 CFR part 8340 to add a definition for electric bikes (e-bikes) and, where certain criteria are met and an authorized officer expressly determines through a formal decision that e-bikes should be treated the same as non-motorized bicycles, expressly exempt those e-bikes from the definition of off-road vehicles.”

In our initial reading of the BLM’s draft rule and the NPS draft rule, there are few surprises.  They generally encourage local unit managers to allow electric bikes, used only in pedal-assist mode, to be ridden anywhere bicycles are allowed.  They allow local unit Superintendents to open or close trails to e-bikes on a case-by-case basis, with the preference being open.

“The proposed rule would direct authorized officers to generally allow, through subsequent decision-making, Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes whose motorized features are being used as an assist to human propulsion on roads and trails upon which mechanized, non-motorized use is allowed, where appropriate. The authorization for Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes whose motorized features are being used as an assist to human propulsion to be used on roads and trails upon which mechanized, non-motorized use is allowed, would be included in a land-use planning or implementation-level decision.”

The proposed rules define and allow for the use of class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes, much the same as the classes enacted in California state legislation AB1096. Similar classes have been advocated for around the country by People for Bikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (who have now merged).

The rule removes electric bikes–only while ridden in pedal-assist mode for Class 2 and 3–from the classification of OHV or motorized vehicle.  Presumably then a Class 2 or 3 e-bike ridden without pedaling and by throttle control is still considered motorized, though this isn’t explicitly stated.

The BLM and National Park Service rules have not yet been published on Regulations.gov, which will start their 60 day comment period. Once published in the coming days, to provide your own comments go to regulations.gov, search for: NPS Rule RIN 1024-AE61, or the BLM rule: RIN 1004-AE72. Follow the instructions there to provide your comments. They request information from the public on the potential social and physical impacts of e-bike use on public lands, and will give much more weight to “substantive” comments citing studies, legislation, reports, or other items of substance.

In CORBA’s territory we don’t have US Fish and Wildlife Service lands, but that agency is also updating their e-mtb rules. Their draft rules will be available for comment under Docket Number: FWS-HQ-MB-2019-0109, also from regulations.gov.

Once we’ve had a chance to review the NPS and BLM rules and discuss it with our members and MTB advocacy groups, we’ll post our analysis and our comments for review.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone interested to weigh in with your own comments.

 

 

National Park Service lifts ban on E-Bikes

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Today, August 30, 2019, the National Park Service has released a revised policy on electric pedal-assist mountain bikes.

The new policy allows electric pedal-assist bicycles to be used wherever muscle-powered bicycles are allowed. The policy requires each National Park unit to update their park compendium within 30 days. The policy allows Park Superintendents the flexibility to close or open trails to pedal-assist bicycles as deemed appropriate for park management, resource protection, or other reasons.

The policy prohibits class 2 throttle-controlled electric bikes from being used unless in pedal-assist mode only.  Class 3 electric bicycles remain prohibited.

While this policy allows the NPS to open trails to e-bikes, we don’t expect all trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to be immediately opened. The SMMNRA is a joint powers authority, and this policy doesn’t affect trails outside NPS boundaries, such as trails on California State Parks or Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority managed lands.

CORBA has remained neutral in the electric mountain bike debate, as we recognize there are both potential drawbacks and benefits from allowing their use. As local policies are updated, we’ll post here and on social media.

Here is the policy announcement: NPS E-bike policy-PM_19-01

 

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

Friday, September 15th, 2017

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