Federal Electric Bike Policies
- Bureau of Land Management Information Bulletin on “Electronic Powered Bicycles on Public Lands”
- E-bikes are regulated as “off-road vehicles” as defined in 43 C.F.R. 8340.5.
- U.S. Forest Service Briefing Paper on “Managing E-Bikes on National Forest System Trails” (May 13, 2015) and U.S. Forest Service letter to Regional Foresters on “Electric Bikes and Trail Management” (March 24, 2016).
- E-bikes are motor vehicles, as defined in 36 C.F.R. 212.1.
- The San Juan National Forest allows Class 1 e-bikes on 13 miles of non-motorized singletrack trail between the Purgatory ski area (Durango, Colo.) and a motorized trail. The management decision for the Hermosa Watershed Recreation and the Hermosa Watershed Management Plan provides more information.
- Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort has approval from the U.S. Forest Service to allow Class 1 eMTBs on its 80-mile trail system. Here is an educational PDF on trail access and our webinar (7/19/18) on the topic goes into more detail.
- National Park Service definition of e-bikes (search under “motor vehicle”).
- E-bikes are motor vehicles as defined in 36 C.F.R. 1.4.
E-Bike Pilot Projects
- Fort Collins (Colorado) – a one-year pilot project to evaluate Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on paved trails. The project is taking place from May 1, 2019 to April 30, 2020.
- Austin (Texas) – a four-month pilot project to evaluate e-bikes and electric scooters with a maximum capability of 20 mph on certain trails. The project took place from Sept. 2019 to Dec. 2019 and a policy is in progress.
Progressive Local & State E-Bike Regulations
- Maricopa County (Arizona) allows Class 1 and 2 e-bikes anywhere a traditional bike is allowed, including on singletrack.
- Santa Clara County Parks (California) allows e-bikes anywhere bicycles are allowed.
- Boulder (Colorado) allows Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on designated trails where bikes are allowed.
- Jefferson County (Colorado) allows Class 1 e-bikes wherever a bike is allowed, including on singletrack trails open to mountain bikes.
- Durango (Colorado) allows Class 1 e-bikes on paved city trails after a year long trial.
- Ada County (Idaho) allows Class 1 e-bikes on its 125-mile bike park for a year long pilot period.
- Boise (Idaho) allows Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on city streets, sidewalks, bike lanes, and Greenbelt paths.
- Johnson City (Kansas) – allows Class 1 and Class 3 pedal-assist e-bikes on our multipurpose paved trails after a six month trial.
- South Mountain Park (Phoenix) allows Class 1 and 2 e-bikes anywhere a bike is allowed, including on singletrack.
- Fairfax County (Virginia) allows e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Seattle (Washington) – allows Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on multi-use trails.
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife allows Class 1 and 2 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection allows Class 1 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation allows Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on Idaho State Park trails, the Ashton-Tetonia multi-use trail, and the and the Coeur d’Alenes Recreational Trailway where bikes are allowed.
- Kansas State Parks allows Class 1 and 2 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Louisiana Office of State Parks allows Class 1 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources allows Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Missouri Department of Natural Resources allows Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources issued revised guidelines on the legality of e-bikes on Pennsylvania State Forest trails, allowing Class 1 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Utah Division of Parks and Recreation allows Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation allows Class 1 e-bikes where bikes are allowed.
- Wyoming State Parks allows Class 1 e-bikes where bikes are allowed in state parks, and planning to conduct a pilot program evaluating the potential to add Class 2 e-bikes to trails. (Policy went into effect July 1, 2019.)
Land Manager Handbook
The land manager handbook was developed in partnership with the bicycling industry and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in consultation with professional trail builders. It is intended to be a practical field resource for the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and management of electric mountain bike trails.
The above link takes the reader to a low-resolution version of the book, convenient for downloading. For a high-resolution or print version, please contact Morgan Lommele ([email protected]).
eMTB Loan Program
PeopleForBikes makes available Class 1 electric mountains to land management agencies who would like to borrow one for a short period of time to test out the e-bikes on their trails and bicycling facilities. PeopleForBikes arranges to ship the e-bikes to and from a bicycle retailer within close proximity of a workplace, and arranges for the e-bike to be assembled by the retailer. The land management agency is expected to pick up and drop off the e-bike from the bicycle retailer, use and share the e-bike as appropriate, and provide feedback to PeopleForBikes. This program is free of charge.
Since 2017, 25+ land managers from 15+ agencies – local, state, and federal – took advantage of this program.
Contact Morgan Lommele ([email protected]) for more information.
Best Management Practices for eMTB Trail Design
- Climbing grades
- Uphill flow
- Ascending turns
- Descending turns
- Single use trails
- Managing increased use
- Managing increased speed
- Fruita eMTB Study on User Perceptions: One page overview and more detailed responses (with the BLM)
- Survey of land managers on eMTBs (with IMBA)
- eMTB trail resource study (with IMBA) & Fact Sheet for IMBA’s eMTB Field Study
- PeopleForBikes Position on E-Bikes on Federal Lands
- The National Park Service’s Active Transportation Guidebook aims to assist and inspire parks and their partners to identify and pursue opportunities that enhance active transportation to and within national parks, and offers a section on electric bicycles.
- eMTBs at Ski Areas article in the National Ski Areas Association Journal.
- Radio interview with the City of Fruita and the BLM (13 minutes) on their e-bike perspectives.
- eMTB trail etiquette guidelines (with IMBA)
- Land Manager Webinar (1/24/18) on e-bike studies, e-bike share, e-bikes as ADA devices, and the e-bike loan program
- Front Lines MTB Podcast: eMTB Policy and the Future
- Girdwood Fire Department (Alaska) using e-bikes to increase emergency response times on trails
- eMTB Pilot Programs on Public Lands (PeopleForBikes)