NPS Rulemaking For E-Bike Use Framework

The National Park Service is currently undergoing a rule making process that would provide a framework for managing the use of e-bikes on NPS lands. The 60 day comment period ended on June 6th, 2020. Full information is located at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NPS-2020-0001

The proposed rule would:

  1. Define an e-bike using the Class 1, 2 and 3 system adopted by many states.
  2. Allow use of e-bikes in areas where non-electric bikes are currently allowed.
  3. Prohibit the use of throttle only operation of e-bikes except for areas where motorized vehicles are allow.
  4. Prevent use of e-bikes in established wilderness areas.
  5. Apply all state laws for use of e-bikes in the state where the park is located.
  6. Allow Park Superintendents flexibility to limit the use of e-bikes on NPS lands if necessary to ensure safety or protection of cultural, historical and environmental resources by providing public notification and updating the park unit’s Compendium.

This rulemaking comes as a result of the memorandum issued by the Secretary of the Interior on August 29, 2019 directing the establishment of a policy to allow the use of e-bikes. Based on this order, the George Washington Memorial Parkway began allowing use of Class 1, 2 and 3 e-bikes on the Mount Vernon Trail and areas of the Parkway where use of traditional bicycles is permitted.

The use of bicycles on the George Washington Memorial Parkway is still prohibited.

The definition of each class of e-bike is below. It should be noted that the proposed rule would not prohibit e-bikes with a throttle from the Mount Vernon Trail, but would require that they be pedaled.

  • Class 1 electric bicycle means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 2 electric bicycle means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
  • Class 3 electric bicycle means an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.

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