Bikes

Recreators enjoy public lands by riding e-bikes. [Photo credit Eric Coulter/BLM]

The U.S. Department of the Interior issued an Oct. 2 press release announcing the finalization of policies regarding e-bikes on DOI managed land, including National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation lands.

These policies were prompted by Secretarial Order 3376, issued by Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt in 2019, which gave departmental guidance that e-bikes should generally be allowed where traditional, non-motorized bicycles allowed and prohibited where other bicycles are prohibited.

The stated intent of the order was to “increase recreational opportunities for all Americans, especially those with physical limitations.”

Each agency’s policy spells out specific definitions for e-bikes and outline where they may be used.

The NPS and Reclamation policies offer a straightforward standard that e-bikes are allowed where traditional bicycles are allowed, while the BLM’s policy calls for an “authorized officer” to make a formal decision on where e-bikes should be treated the same as non-motorized bikes.

Similarly, FWS policy requires a refuge manager to determine whether e-bikes are appropriate on refuge trails.

“Local land managers will carry out the new regulations in their jurisdictions after taking into consideration public health and safety, natural and cultural resource protection and other management activities and objectives,” the press release reads.

Neither e-bikes nor traditional bikes are permitted in designated wilderness.

“The new regulations allow our public land managers to provide e-bike access to bike trails, enhancing the opportunities to utilize our public lands to create life-long memories,” said Bernhardt in the press release.

Read more about the policies