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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.