Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > USFS seeks comments on clarifying and expanding e-bike use - Final Rule
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jinx'sboy
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PostThu Sep 24, 2020 12:48 pm 
This is to revise National Direction (e.g. FS Manuals) concerning how trails for e-bikes are designated. Federal Register page with a comment link: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/24/2020-21128/forest-service-manual-7700-travel-management-chapter-7700-zero-code-chapter-7710-travel-planning? Comments by Oct. 26

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treeswarper
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PostSat Sep 26, 2020 4:00 pm 
Thanks. I sent in some comments and posted the link on an ebike forum.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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kw
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PostFri Oct 23, 2020 4:15 pm 
If anyone is interested, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, our state's MTB advocacy organization and the largest statewide MTB advocacy organization in the country, has released their formal recommendations for USFS eMTB Access policy. https://www.evergreenmtb.org/blog/urgent-input-needed-for-future-emtb-access-on-u-s-forest-service-trails Comments close on Monday, October 26th.

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jinx'sboy
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PostThu Mar 31, 2022 12:21 pm 
Final guidance out, today. https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/releases/usda-forest-service-issues-guidance-manage-future-e-bike-use-national-forests-and Doesn’t appear any major change from status quote, but does lay out process for analyzing proposals.

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crock
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PostThu Mar 31, 2022 2:35 pm 
Electric motor bicycles (ebikes) are just that; motorized vehicles. While they're not as loud as gas powered motors and cause less air pollution, they are still motorized vehicles. They have their place, and I have one, but they don't belong on non-motorized trails. Non-motorized trails allowing motorized vehicle is an oxymoron.

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Tom
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PostThu Mar 31, 2022 5:35 pm 
There's a big difference between ebikes and traditional motorized vehicles, more so than just noise or air pollution, that's why considerations are being made for them. Even my high powered ebike is left in the dust by the cheapest of motorbikes. To argue ebikes don't belong on non-motorized trails as a simple matter of semantics is somewhat disingenuous IMO.

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altasnob
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PostThu Mar 31, 2022 6:06 pm 
Pretty amazing what ebikers are able to climb these days. Here's an example of Scottish biker Chris Akrigg tackling "impossible" climbs on his ebike. Imagine what he could get up in non-Wilderness areas in Washington:

zimmertr
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jinx'sboy
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PostThu Mar 31, 2022 10:14 pm 
crock wrote:
Electric motor bicycles (ebikes) are just that; motorized vehicles. While they're not as loud as gas powered motors and cause less air pollution, they are still motorized vehicles. They have their place, and I have one, but they don't belong on non-motorized trails. Non-motorized trails allowing motorized vehicle is an oxymoron.
If you actually read the link, e bikes are not currently allowed on non motorized trails, at least on the National Forests. “The Forest Service currently allows e-bikes on all Forest Service roads that are already open to motorized vehicles, as well on 60,000 miles of motorized trails…..”

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Randito
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PostThu Mar 31, 2022 10:49 pm 
When I read the updated USFS documents, I only saw that they added definitions of what and E-Bike is, including the Class-1, Class-2 and Class-3 categories. I didn't see much in the way of expanded categories of trails for E-Bikes. There was mention of a new category of trail , an E-Bike only trail category. If you inspect the inventory of trails open to mountain bike usage in Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the inventory is pretty skimpy. E.g. The McClellan Butte trail is open to Mountain Bike usage, but only to where the trail crosses the Palouse2Cascades trail. The Okanogan Wenatchee forest has a greater inventory of trails open to mountain bike usage, but a high percentage of those trails are also already open to motorcycle usage. So I'm not seeing that there is much effect on hiking activities to be suddenly overrun by swarms of E-Bikes.

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Tom
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PostFri Apr 01, 2022 1:22 am 
Here are the e-bike relevant additions. Lays some framework for change, so in that regard wouldn't say status quo. Remains to be seen what will come of it. Disappointing to see they opted to taint e-bikes as a class of motor vehicle, whereas I'm pretty sure model e-bike regulation does not taint e-bikes as such.
Quote:
Section 7702: Adds an objective to consider emerging technologies (such as e-bikes) that are changing the way people access and recreate on NFS lands. 7702 - OBJECTIVES . . . 8. To consider emerging technologies (such as e-bikes) that are changing the way people access and recreate on NFS lands. For example, where suitable for use, e-bikes may provide new opportunities for individuals who might otherwise be prevented from experiencing an NFS trail without assistance from an electrical motor.
Quote:
Section 7705: Adds new definitions for “bicycle,” “electric bicycle (e-bike),” “Class 1 e-bike,” “Class 2 e-bike,” and “Class 3 e-bike,” to facilitate designation of these three classes of e-bikes on National Forest System (NFS) trails, roads, and in areas on NFS lands. 7705 - DEFINITIONS . . . Electric Bicycle (E-Bike). Also referred to as an electric mountain bike (eMTB), a type of motor vehicle with two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other, equipped with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes:
  1. Class 1 E-Bike. An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  2. Class 2 E-Bike. An e-bike equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the e-bike and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  3. Class 3 E-Bike. An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.
Quote:
Forest Service Manual 7700 – Travel Management Chapter 10: Establishes new criteria for designating Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes to facilitate designation of those three classes of e-bikes on National Forest System (NFS) trails, on NFS roads, and in areas on NFS lands. 7711.3: Adds an additional category (Trails Open to E-Bikes Only) to identify classes of motor vehicles on an MVUM. 7715.03: Adds an objective to consider emerging technologies (such as e-bikes) that are changing the way people access and recreate on NFS lands. 7715.5: Adds specific criteria for designation of motor vehicle use on trails and specific criteria and guidance for designated e-bike use on trails. . . . 4. Specific Criteria and Guidance for Designating E-Bike Use on Trails. In addition to the general and specific criteria in FSM 7715.5, paragraphs 1 through 3, when designating trails for e-bike use (FSM 7705), consider and document the following:
  1. Whether and the extent to which the trails are managed for bicycle use or bicycle use is allowed (FSM 7705) under the applicable TMOs.
  2. For trails that are managed for bicycle use or where bicycle use is allowed, the extent to which effects from e-bike use are comparable to effects from existing bicycle use, accounting for, as appropriate, differences in speed; potential effects from increased or concentrated use; and any site-specific considerations.
  3. Consider designating a class or classes of e-bike use, as appropriate, on NFS trails managed for bicycle use or where bicycle use is allowed, where effects from e-bike use would be comparable to effects from bicycle use.
The appropriate level of environmental analysis, including programmatic analyses, should be evaluated when considering whether to designated roads, trails, or areas for e-bike use. E-bikes are not allowed on a National Scenic Trail unless a regulatory exception authorized by the National Trails System Act is met or there is an exception in the enabling legislation for the trail.

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altasnob
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PostFri Apr 01, 2022 8:43 am 
Randito wrote:
If you inspect the inventory of trails open to mountain bike usage in Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the inventory is pretty skimpy.
Trails I have mountain biked, legally, in Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest include Suntop, Skookum Flats, Ranger Creek, Noble Nob, Palisades, Northway, McClellen Butte, Middle Fork Snoqualmie, and Alpine Baldy. Best way to see all the trails a person can legally mountain bike on is https://www.trailforks.com/trails/map In the not too distant future, ebikes will make up the majority of mountain bikes you see. As prices and weight come down, there will be little reason to not to get an ebike over a regular mountain bike. I will surely get one some day. But they are worlds apart from regular mountain bikes. I rode Mt. Muller last summer with my regular bike which means I was pushing my bike most of the way to the summit. We were passed by an ebiker who was on his second lap (I believe that trail is open to ebikes). Personally, I am glad the Forest Service is limiting ebikes to trails that are open to motorized dirt bikes and leaving some trails open to regular bikes but not ebikes. And, as a hiker, I am glad the majority of trails are still closed to all forms of bikes. The status quo in our National Forest is pretty good and should remain. Most the mountain biking on the West side of the Cascades is not in National Forests and instead on DNR land (Tiger, Capital Forest, Green Mountain, North Mountain-Darrington, Chuckanut), county owned land (Duthie), city owned (Swan Creek-Tacoma), or private property with permission to public (Galbraith, Tokul). Most of these trails allow ebiking (but not gas powered dirt bikes). If ebikers are looking for a mecca head to Canada. There is virtually no restrictions on ebike use up there. If you can mountain bike the trail, you can ebike the trail.

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Randito
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PostFri Apr 01, 2022 9:36 am 
I think one important aspect of the revised USFS regulations is the definition of E-Bikes as the Class-1,2,3 designations. Electric Motorcycles are a fast growing category of vehicles and I think it is good to have that sort of definition so that this emerging category of vehicle may only utilize existing motorised trails.

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