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October 16, 2023

Create Your Own Electric Mountain Bike Pilot Project

By: Rachel Fussell, eMTB policy and program manager

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PeopleForBikes’ latest toolkit can help land management agencies, policymakers, and advocates design and implement new programs to introduce eMTBs on natural surface trails.

Mountain biking has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity over the last decade thanks in large part to improved bike technology, increased trail infrastructure, and growing interest as a sport. With the emergence of pedal-assist electric mountain bikes (eMTBs), there is more potential for an even larger segment of the population to enjoy the health benefits of recreation through mountain biking.

While some land managers and trail networks have already set policies concerning Class 1 pedal-assist electric mountain bike (eMTB) usage, the direction of future eMTB policies remains largely undetermined. With this in mind, PeopleForBikes created a toolkit to help land management agencies, city councils, policymakers, and bicycle advocates design and implement pilot programs and studies to shed light on the benefits and perceptions of eMTB use on natural surface trails and inform data-driven decisions.

Using the methodology and research from the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies’ pilot project on the use of Class 1 eMTBs on natural surface singletrack trails, PeopleForBikes is proud to launch our Electric Mountain Bike Pilot Project Toolkit. The toolkit offers a foundation to make it easier to propose, design, and implement eMTB pilot projects for trail access while considering each communities’ unique needs.

Resources in the toolkit include: 

● Overview of eMTB pilot programs

● University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies eMTB Pilot Project 

● eMTB user perception survey instrument and template

● Best practices for administering an eMTB pilot project 

● Additional resources for eMTB access and use on trails  

Access the Electric Mountain Bike Pilot Project Toolkit

We invite members of the bike industry, advocates, and policymakers across all levels of government to utilize this resource, reach out to us with questions, and borrow what works best for your community.  PeopleForBikes is here to help activate local advocates and bike businesses, work with land managers, and implement other tactics to turn these ideas into successful projects to gain access for eMTBs on trails.

You can keep track of eMTB access across the nation and in your own backyard by using PeopleForBikes’ Electric Mountain Bike Policy Database. With this new tool, land managers and recreation enthusiasts alike can review and browse all existing eMTB and e-bike policies across the United States, outlining rules related to electric bicycles and where they can be ridden. Check out this blog to learn more about the database and how to use it.

Please reach out to PeopleForBikes’ eMTB Policy and Program Manager Rachel Fussell at with any questions or for more information on this toolkit or the Vermont eMTB study.

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