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Changing rules for eMTBs on federal public lands

Changing rules for eMTBs on federal public lands

IMBA's response to Department of Interior's e-bike order

By: Todd Keller
Posted: September 3, 2019

Late last Thursday, August 29th, 2019, the Department of the Interior (DOI) released a new policy regarding e-bikes and eMTBs on federal public lands. The International Mountain Bicycling Association is currently reviewing this broad approach, and while we support the open public process that each land management agency will undertake, it is critical the secretarial order as currently written does not bind land managers to managing all classes of eMTBs as traditional mountain bikes. Land managers must be able to recognize eMTBs as three distinct classes and manage eMTBs independently from traditional mountain bikes. We will be participating in the public process ahead and working with the mountain bike community as we move forward.

Access to natural surface trails for traditional non-motorized mountain bikes is critical to the future of our sport. As technologies evolve, we understand the need to examine access for Class 1 eMTBs and the unique characteristics they possess compared to traditional mountain bikes. We support trail access for Class 1 eMTBs and support shared use on trails as long as access is not lost or impeded for traditional mountain bikes. IMBA recommends Class 1 eMTBs be managed independently from traditional mountain bikes and we encourage land managers to develop separate regulations. IMBA will continue to engage all stakeholders on this issue in an effort to reach outcomes that best suit all users.

We will update this blog with more information as we further analyze the DOI order, National Park Service memo, and other materials. For more information, review IMBA's current eMTB resources as well as frequently asked questions on eMTBs.

About the author

Todd is a twenty-plus year veteran of public policy, legislative affairs, and issue campaigns, having worked with conservation non-profits, the renewable energy industry, and outdoor recreation organizations among others.Throughout his career he has worked to promote a healthy lifestyle by…

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