According to a statement
from the United States Department of the Interior, eBikes, including eMTB, will now be classified as non-motorized bikes and will have the same rights and access to federal trails in many national parks and other federally managed lands, at least those managed by the DOI which accounts for about 75% of public lands in the US.
So what does this exactly mean? The full text of order 3376,
entitled "Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes"
is a couple of pages long, but to sum it up, any bike trail in a National park or on federally managed land under the Department of the Interior that is open to mountain bikes is now open to pedal-assist eBikes. It's worth noting that US Forest Service lands are managed under the Department of Agriculture and are not covered by this statement.
National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith issued a statement on Friday saying, “e-bikes make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, and they provide an option for people who want to ride a bicycle but might not otherwise do so because of physical fitness, age, disability or convenience.”
According to the NPS, the move is designed to help clarify the classification of what an eBike is and help to improve the internal management of the department. The National Parks Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, BLM, and BOR are given 14 days to work out changes to their rules and comply with the provision that "eBikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed" and "eBikes shall not be allowed where other types of bicycles are prohibited."
The order encompasses class 1, 2, and 3 bikes. eBikes and eMTB are categorized, by definition, due to their motor size and and capabilities:Class 1:
eBikes that are pedal-assist only, have no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 20mph.Class 2:
eBikes that have a maximum speed of 20mph but are also throttle assisted.Class 3:
eBikes that are pedal-assist only, do not have a throttle, and have a maximum speed of 28mph.Canada also Clarifies e-Bike Trail Access in BC
Interestingly enough, British Columbia's parks system also just implemented a policy
allowing class 1 e-bikes on trails open to bicycles but restricting class 2 and 3 bikes to trails for motorized vehicles.
Check out the full order on the US Department of the Interior website
and let us know how you feel about it in the comments below.