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Forest Service seeking public input into e-bike access

Published October 15, 2020

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — Following the Department of Interior's lead, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing updates on how e-bikes will be managed and offering a public comment period that ends later this month.

The Forest Service, which comes under the Department of Agriculture, manages about 25% of federal lands and is not part of the Department of Interior, which approved its e-bike policy proposal earlier this month after a 60-day comment period.

 If adopted, these proposed changes would:

  • Define e-bikes within the three-class system.
  • Mean e-bikes continue to be managed and defined as motor vehicles.
  • Allow land managers to designate e-bike use on non-motorized trails where bicycles are allowed.
  • Encourage land managers to consider whether the effects of e-bike use are comparable to those of traditional bicycle use and consider emerging technologies like e-bikes in future access decisions.

DOI said land managers can regulate e-bikes the same as traditional bikes on non-motorized lands. The DOI decision affects lands managed by the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

PeopleForBikes, which has championed agencies and land managers to treat e-bikes the same as traditional bikes, wants the Forest Service to remove the "motor vehicle" definition. The comment period, which ends Oct. 26, allows the public to weigh in on all aspects of the proposal. PFB also has drafted letters for submission.

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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