Ebikes on Federal Land?


Federal land agencies are taking public comment on implementing a directive to allow ebikes on federal land. Under proposed rules issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Park Service (NPS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in April, low-powered ebikes would get treated as regular bicycles and allowed to travel on paths where motor vehicles generally are prohibited. The Interior Department last August directed its agencies to accommodate ebikes. The proposed regulations would apply to Class 1, 2 and 3 ebikes that assist human power.

Comment periods last till early June 2020. See https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-07/xml/FR-2020-04-07.xml#seqnum19418 (FWS); https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-08/html/2020-07163.htm (NPS); and https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-04-10/html/2020-07099.htm (BLM).


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Charles Pekow
Charles Pekow is an award-winning Washington correspondent who has written about bicycling for years in publications such as the Washington Post, Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag, SPOKES, etc. as well as Cycling West/Cycling Utah. He also writes frequently on environmental issues and beer, among other topics. Weather permitting, you'll find him most weekends and some summer evenings astride a bicycle in a park. He is also a charter member of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.


  1. E bikes are a miracle for older enthusiasts, those with physical limitations, and those who are looking for moderate, safe exercise and enjoyment of nature. Hard core mountain bikers are much more threatening for hikers, wildlife, and the environment. If you are riding an e bike, you are often more cautious, less daring, and more respectful of fellow users of the trail. I loved riding my ten speed five decades ago, and even a mountain bike a decade ago. The limitations of heart issues, irregular exercise left 90% of the biking options unavailable. My e bike has given me tremendous enjoyment, non impact joint and moderate exercise, and absolute joy as I am able to go further in a short time, and can vary my cardiovascular stress based upon the terrain. IT should be encouraged just as the disabilities act has been encouraged. There are plenty of trails that anyone who rides an e bike will not traverse , that the hard core riders can enjoy, and certainly the federal lands should be respectfully viewed, not necessarily be a Baja challenge or testing course for those who choose to ride in that manner. Give the impaired, less disciplined, or sight seeing enthusiast the same benefits of enjoying our federal lands as the younger or more fanatical bikers.

  2. Avid bicycle commuter for many years here. E-Bikes would be great fit for those 1 to 10 mile commutes that so many people do every day. Many cycling commuters would prefer to come and go in their business clothes, but a hill or a the ride longer than a few miles requires cycling attire and two clothing changes per day. E-Bikes would make this a lot easier.


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