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Action Alert: New eMTB rules

Action Alert: New eMTB rules

Help craft new federal rules for eMTBs

By: Eleanor Blick
Posted: May 21, 2020
Three eMTB riders cross bridge among ferns in Pacific Northwest
Photo courtesy of: Leslie Kehmeier
Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Never heard of ‘em?

Good news: any above answer on eMTBs means it is important to participate in this comment period.

A proposed rule for managing e-bikes on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land is open for public comment through June 9. Mountain bikers could be affected by this new rule more than any other user group. The BLM has long been a strong federal partner and values rider input, so let’s make sure our voices are heard and we shape this new rule well for mountain biking.

Pros of the the proposed rule:

  • Requires a local public process before allowing any eMTB access.
  • Distinguishes between class 1, class 2 and class 3 eMTBs.
  • Manages eMTBs separately from mountain bikes.

What could improve in a final rule:

  • Managing class 1, class 2 and class 3 eMTBs separately from each other.
  • Prohibiting class 2 and class 3 eMTBs on natural surface non-motorized trails.
  • Clarifying the timeline for required NEPA analysis as part of planning processes.

For more details on the rule, take a look at IMBA’s analysis of the proposed rule and official comment letter. For more information on eMTBs, visit IMBA’s eMTB education page and IMBA’s eMTB FAQs.


Ready to submit a comment?

For this proposed rule you need to submit your individual comment using regulations.gov. (Rule reference number: RIN 1004-AE72.) The sample comment below is in line with IMBA’s eMTB position, which supports class 1 eMTB access as long as access for traditional mountain bikes is not lost or impeded. We always advocate for these decisions to be made via public process alongside local mountain bikers and all stakeholders. Customize the comment below—the second paragraph would be great to personalize—or craft your own comment following these tips.

Submit a Comment


Sample Comment:

Thank you for the opportunity for the public to engage in the Bureau of Land Management’s Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the Use of Electric Bikes.

The mountain bike community is responsible for a large part of the natural surface trail infrastructure that exists today on our federal, state and local public lands. Hundreds of organized mountain bike clubs around the country manage thousands of volunteers who work closely with land managers on trail development, trail maintenance, and trail education for all users.

Mountain bikers appreciate the leap in technology presented by eMTBs is a unique management challenge. This proposed rule rightfully plans separate management for bicycles and electric bicycles. It is critical land managers and local mountain bikers work together to determine where eMTBs are and are not appropriate on current and future mountain bike trails. The proposed rule includes an admirable planning process to achieve this, which could be made stronger by clarifying the timeline for NEPA analysis.

The final rule should be improved by following the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s management recommendations: managing the three classes of e-bikes separately from one another, and prohibiting class 2 and class 3 eMTBs on natural surface, non-motorized trails. This is to maintain the spirit of traditional mountain bicycling by ensuring pedal-assisted use, and maintaining reasonable speeds for the safety of all users.

Thank you for the willingness to engage with the mountain bike community.

Sincerely,

[name, location, contact information]

About the author

Eleanor was raised a two-wheeled advocate in the rolling hills of Wisconsin. From racing to riding to work and every trail in between, pedaling is her natural state of motion. Prior to joining the IMBA team she worked in journalism and nonprofit communications in Chicago while leading volunteer…

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