This page is a resource on federal e-bike access information and policies. Be sure to also check out these great routes to ride your e-bike. Questions? Contact PeopleForBikes’ Regulatory and Policy Analyst, Ashley Seaward.
Department of Interior (DOI)
- Policy Summary: Aug. 29, 2019: Department of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt ordered the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to establish interim policies, consistent with existing regulations, within 30 days that guide the use of electric bicycles (e-bikes) on public lands. The departments were encouraged to adopt a policy that allows Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes to be ridden where traditional bicycles are allowed. Over the longer term, each agency will issue revised regulations governing the use of e-bikes. Those rulemaking processes will be subject to public comment.
- Policy Documents: Secretarial Order #3376
- DOI Press Release
- DOI E-Bike Policy FAQ (source: PeopleForBikes)
- Spreadsheet of federal e-bike policies by DOI agency (source: PeopleForBikes)
- Graphic explaining DOI’s e-bike policy announcements (source: PeopleForBikes)
- Map view of federal e-bike policies by DOI agency (This map comes from a third party source – eBikesHQ. Please refer to the above PeopleForBikes spreadsheet for the most up to date policy information).
National Park Service (NPS)
- Policy Summary: Aug. 30, 2019: The NPS announced that e-bikes may be used in the same manner as traditional bicycles, allowing them on park roads, paved or hardened trails, areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use and administrative roads where traditional bikes are allowed. E-bikes are not allowed in wilderness areas and individuals may not operate an e-bike if the motor can be used to propel the rider without pedaling, except in locations that are open to motor vehicle traffic.
- NPS Superintendents had 30 days following the agency’s announcement to either amend their Compendium with an e-bike policy that considers the safety, resource protection and local requirements of their community, or to adopt the e-bike policy as stated in the NPS’ announcement.
- E-bike riders should check with their local national park before riding to ensure that no restrictions have been imposed.
- Policy Documents: Interim Policy (Policy Memorandum 19-01) | Rulemaking Schedule
- Additional Resources: NPS Press Release | NPS E-Bike Information Page
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
- Policy Summary: Oct. 17, 2019: The FWS has permitted Class 1, 2, and 3 electric bicycles to be used in areas where traditional bicycles are allowed. Bicycles must be operated in pedal-assist mode and they will not be considered “off-road vehicles” or “motor vehicles.” E-bikes are prohibited where bicycles are prohibited.
- Individual wildlife refuges or FWS lands may place additional restrictions on e-bike use. Local refuge managers must ensure that e-bike access is compatible with the purposes of that unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, and may restrict e-bike access if it is incompatible or inconsistent with those purposes. In addition, local refuge managers may restrict e-bike access if the manager determines that there is a risk to public safety. The public must be notified of any restrictions.
- E-bike riders should check with their local wildlife refuge before riding to ensure that no restrictions have been imposed.
- Policy Documents: Interim Policy (Director’s Order #222) | Rulemaking Schedule
- Additional Resources: FWS Press Release | E-Bike Information Page
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
- Policy Summary: Oct. 22, 2019: The BLM will be implementing Secretarial Order 3376 in concert with local land managers. BLM District or Field Managers have been instructed to authorize the use of Class 1, 2, and 3 electric bicycles where other types of bicycles are allowed. However, District and Field Managers may restrict electric bicycle access based on local conditions, which include natural and cultural resources, potential user conflicts, and the laws, regulations, and policies of adjacent jurisdictions regarding e-bike use.
- Additional actions by local land managers are required before e-bikes may be ridden on non-motorized trails. The BLM’s electric bicycle FAQ document instructs users that “e-bikes should not be used on a trail or road that is currently limited to non-OHV or non-motorized use only, unless a BLM District or Field Manager issues a decision authorizing their use in accordance with applicable law.”
- E-bike riders should check with their local BLM office to confirm whether a trail is open to electric bicycles.
- Policy Documents: Interim Policy (Informational Bulletin 2020-003) | Public Guidance and FAQ | Rulemaking Schedule
- Additional Resources: BLM Press Release | E-Bike Information Page
Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)
- Policy Summary: Oct. 22, 2019: The BOR asked its Regional Directors to designate areas that are open to electric bicycles. Under BOR’s interim policy, e-bikes will continue to be considered “off-road vehicles” as defined in 43 C.F.R. 420.5(a). Utilizing existing BOR procedures that apply to “off-road vehicles,” BOR’s Regional Directors will examine areas where traditional bicycles are already allowed and then designate areas as open to e-bikes if that use is appropriate. Regional Directors may restrict e-bike use after taking into account public health and safety, natural and cultural resource protection, and other management activities and objectives consistent with laws that apply to those issues.
- E-bike riders should check with their nearest local office in order to determine if a specific location or trail has been opened to electric bicycle use.
- Policy Documents: Interim Policy (Reclamation Manual Policy, Recreation Program Management, LND P04) | Public Guidance and FAQ | Rulemaking Schedule
- Additional Resources: BOR Press Release
Department of Agriculture - Forest Service
- Policy Documents: U.S. Forest Service Briefing Paper on “Managing E-Bikes on National Forest System Trails” (May 13, 2015) | U.S. Forest Service letter to Regional Foresters on “Electric Bikes and Trail Management” (March 24, 2016)
- Policy Summary: E-bikes are motor vehicles, as defined in 36 C.F.R. 212.1.
- Additional Resources:
- The San Juan National Forest allows Class 1 e-bikes on 13 miles of non-motorized singletrack trail between the Purgatory ski area (Durango, Colo.) and a motorized trail. The management decision for the Hermosa Watershed Recreation and the Hermosa Watershed Management Plan provides more information
- Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort has approval from the U.S. Forest Service to allow Class 1 eMTBs on its 80-mile trail system. Here is an educational PDF on trail access and our webinar (7/19/18) on the topic goes into more detail.