E-bike Access?

[UPDATED 2021] We have published a dedicated website page for Electric Mountain Bikes for more information, resources, and where to ride. 

It’s clear that e-bikes and their use on singletrack elicit widely ranging views. The reality is they keep groups of various skill levels together, pull a tool trailer well and have expanded how inclusive our sport can be. That said, they may not be welcome everywhere. Their use on private land trails will always be exclusively up to the landowner. The absence of a “no e-bikes” sign is not an invitation to ride an e-bike. Instead, check in with your local chapter for updates about access opportunities.

If you see someone on an e-bike that is not allowed, be courteous and politely ask them if they knew that e-bikes aren’t supposed to be used on a particular trail. Take a moment to listen and calmly share the local policy with them. Remaining committed to sharing respect to all users and growing the sport is key to our collective future. There has been a fair bit of discussion about their use on state land as well.

It is likely that at some point Forests, Parks & Recreation (FPR) will create a policy that specifically addresses “e-bikes” and how, when and if they can be used recreationally on state lands. At this time however, FPR is applying the following three policies to e-bikes:

  1. FPR Policy #1: All-Terrain Vehicles: As these bicycles have motors, they are viewed as motorized on state lands. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on state lands with very specific exceptions.
  2. FPR Policy #4: Mountain Bicycles, Horseback Riding and Pack Animals: Mountain bicycles are permitted only on state-owned roads and trails specified by the Commissioner. At this time, we do not have any designated trails which allow electric mountain bicycles, with the exception below.
  3. Use of Mobility Devices on ANR Fee-Owned Lands by Persons with Mobility Disabilities: Persons with mobility disabilities may elect to use any number of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs). Per this policy, electric bicycles may be used on trails which have been assessed as appropriate for these devices by persons with mobility disabilities who adhere to the policy and obtain an OPDMD pass. The following definition of an electric bicycle is contained in the policy:
    1. Electric Bicycle -Any bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing less than 100 lbs, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 mph.

It is possible to see e-bikes on trails on state lands in use as OPDMDs. Staff should review the OPDMD policy (which prohibits inquiring about the nature of a person’s mobility disability), and we urge partners to err on the side of caution if and when they encounter people on e-bikes on our trails. The trails which have been assessed for OPDMD use can be found here: http://vtanr.maps.arcgis.com/apps/StoryMapBasic/index.html?appid=81385d306664405cb3c87d5cfff5ea73

To summarize, at this time, e-bikes are not allowed on trails on state lands with the exception of use as OPDMDs. E-bike use on private land is exclusively up to the landowner(s). Please check in with your local chapter for e-bike access areas. 

5 thoughts on “E-bike Access?

  1. I’ve been riding an Ebike for four years. It got me off the couch. Everybody that I meet inquires about it. I haven’t heard too many negatives. The only negative is, “oh you ride a bike or cheater.” But if they rode with the group that I ride with, you earn that badge to be able to achieve a longer enjoyable ride. Many times we ride up hills as well as down e.g. Killington and Suicide Six are nearby and these ski areas have no qualms about the Ebike going on the lift or coming down new trails, so I really don’t understand why VMBA is supporting and encouraging dividing the bicycle unity in the state of Vermont. As a born native I started skiing 64 years ago and am still skiing. I’ve seen snowboarders from the advent of snowboarding snd the problems that the elite have made against snowboarding, which is just a whisper in the wind now and is accepted all over the world and what a great thing the sport of snowboarding has done for the ski areas. PS families always happier when I’m off the couch!

  2. Hi to all, I am writing these comments in response to VMBA’s ebike stance. My history is I am 61 years old in great shape and am on my second MTB ebike. I ride with a group of fellow ebike riders on a regular basis. We average a 1000 miles a year and at least 125,000 feet of climbing. We ride hard and have a lot of fun. In my 4 years of owning an ebike I have only had a 2 negative comments said to me. I was called a cheater twice, once by a gentleman who had loaded his bike in his car, driven to the top of the mountain and was pedaling/coasting down. When we pointed that out rather politely as we had pedaled up he laughed as he thought about it and had a wonderful conversation on ebikes. Second one was a woman of about the same age as me who was trying to bite off way more than she was up for and commented on us cheaters,,, we simply said that we where all smiling and having a good time unlike the look she had. She burst out laughing and proceeded with ebike questions. That being said I will say that I have faithfully joined VMBA since getting my first ebike. When I joined the first time at a function with VMBA attending the gentleman was very nice took our money and when we started asking about VMBA and ebikes we got the complete cold shoulder. No BS on that. We let it bounce as we feel we need to be ambassadors for ebikes not the bad guy’s as there are enough of those in every sport. I am wishing that VMBA would take a broader stance on ebikes instead of staying in neutral zone with out a positive stance. Ebikes are here and a wonderful way to continue to ride as you get older or younger and just plain want to ride more. Class one ebikes are deemed by the state to be true bycicles not motorized vehicles by the govoner last May so I feel you information on what you posted is slanted the wrong direction as it does not show that. There are soooo many trails in Vermont that there is definitely enough room for all of us. There is definitely a class of “purest” out there who only want themselves to have access to the trails but as stated previously its the same in every sport. My friend and I went to the “Ginds” ride in Slate Valley, we were the only two ebikes as well as the only two fat tire bikes. (Haibike Full Fat Six 10.0 a full on mtn ebike) We rode with a mixed group of riders age and gender wise. In the beginning the group was a little bit quiet as they didn’t really know what to think and were forming opinions. We rode the entire route with the group, rode just like everyone else and had a wonderful time. The group became very interested with lots of questions. Trying to be “ambassadors” we answered all and let them try our ebikes. When we got back we were a united ride. Many of them went over to the company that was demoing bikes & ebikes and went for some good rides. I have ridden Slate Valley many times as we vacation over there every year. On the trail I have hands down met more ebikes than acoustic bikes. Again no BS. All the above being said I could ramble on but I hope you see my point. Ebikes are here to stay (class 1 only on trials!) so I hope that you can take a positive stance and support to unite all of us instead of dividing us. I will be renewing my membership this spring again and hope to see some positive spins on all of this someday soon. Thanks for listening and thanks for all you do

    1. David, I am so grateful you decided shared your experiences. I started riding my Class 1 Ebike spring of 2022. It wasn’t until after my purchase I quickly learned of the sigma that comes with this decision. The conflicting views and limited trail accessibility for Ebike riders was very disheartening. I become quite deflated and self conscious around other riders, often avoiding interacting with others on the trails. This is the first sport I’ve attempted on my own and quickly discovered a love for it that I never expected. But the community I was looking forward to becoming a part of turned out to be a mirage, or a clique and clearly I was not welcome. I was shamed by an older gentleman just last weekend for “not peddling with my own power”, as sweat was running into my eyes and I was too out of breath to respond.
      Your “ambassador” approach is a refreshing perspective and I hope you continue to make a difference. You definitely have my a difference with my way of looking at things & it’s encouraging to think I might encounter a friendly face or two in the future.

  3. Naturalists, environmentalists, hikers, walkers, trail runners have argued that analog mtbs should be banned because they assist/enhance human power with mechanical advantages: pedals, tires, gears, brakes, etc.

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