With no programmatic review, the agency’s site-specific reviews should each include a rigorous review of e-bikes and their impacts. Frame material: : Alloy. This is the first part in a series of articles delving into the controversy surrounding eMTBs and their use on mountain bike trails. “Ebike” is probably the most controversial word that you can utter in mountain biking circles today.  The other primary land management agency in the United States is the U.S. Forest Service. The crux of eMTB bikes is that they are meant to be ridden just like your normal mountain bike on mountain bike trails, just with motor assist. With that behavior change comes reduced traffic congestion, more parking options, and a smaller carbon footprint. They feature a pedal activated electric motor, so they’re also known as pedal electric cycles, or pedelecs. Josh worked retail in the bike industry for 12 years writing in his spare time just for fun. Liberated from some of the normal constraints of standard bike design like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded; if you can imagine it, … The real problem here lies in land use. On April 2, 2020, the Department of the Interior proposed new rules regulating the use of electric bikes (e-bikes) on public lands. Because it is within the Department of Agriculture and not Interior, the Forest Service is not subject to this order. Agencies first responded to Order 3376 by issuing informal guidance documents. ASK (and ANSWER) in our NEW Rider's Forum! Staff and the Advisory Board and the public researched relevant laws, conducted a pilot study and worked with IMBA.  They can, however, help an agency take a “hard look” at the widespread impacts of a national policy shift. While agencies often use informal guidance for minor changes in recreation policy, significant changes such as transportation plans and vehicle access, are usually made through rulemaking. Fast forward to today and we are seeing legislation popping up everywhere trying to do the impossible – define e-bikes and manage their usage. The remaining three land management agencies issued guidance on October 22, 2019, following Secretary Bernhardt’s order to do so. Whether described as the elephant in the room, a dark horse, or the coming of Armageddon, there’s no denying that we will start crossing paths with electric bikes on the trails. The "Death Metal Mechanic" issues ten commandments to bike industry suppliers, Stay up to date with the latest news & advice, Save your address for more accurate local bike shop results, Pre-register for upcoming Demo Day events. We must understand that it will take some time to interpret and negotiate how e-bikes will impact our local trails. §§ 1.4, 4.30), NPS violated those regulations and the Administrative Procedure Act’s required rulemaking procedures. Still, for most actions, agencies classify the actions as falling within a “categorical exclusion” to minimize NEPA review. E-bikes’ ambiguous position between traditional bicycles and motorcycles has led to controversy over whether e-bikes should be permitted on non-motorized roads and trails. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. I’ve been around the industry for a while, but not as much as some, so I reached out to industry legend Tony Ellsworth (yes, as in Ellsworth Bikes) to gain a more seasoned perspective. E-Bike Controversy: World Cycling, Moto Racing Organizations Clash International Cycling Union officials denounced the International Motorcycling Federation … It was only a matter of time. The faster we accept and work with e-bike groups, the more say we have and the sooner things will settle into place. The controversy surrounding the use of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, that raged last year on mostly paved turf administered by local city and county governments has now moved — as many people predicted it would — further into the backcountry. The four agencies proposed their new regulations in April 2020, and the rules are open for public comment until early June: Overall, the proposed rules operate in lockstep. Oops! E-bikes are not new to the world, but until recent years there seemed to be little to no legal intervention needed in the management of e-bike use on our streets and trails. The proposed definitions, in contrast, include those up to and including 750 watts, or just over one horsepower. Since so few units remain, the NPS proposed rule therefore focuses on allowing park superintendents to restrict e-bike recreation at their discretion (but discourages them from doing so). More Powerful E-bikes. Electric mountain biking is stirring up a lot of controversy these days as land managers, advocates, the bike industry and fellow riders try to get their heads around how they fit into the off road recreational mix. NPS’s guidance directed park superintendents to insert specific language regarding e-bikes into park-specific rules and documents, which many parks have done (Cuyahoga Valley NP, Arches NP, and Acadia NP, for example). , Order 3376 states that: “E-bikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed; and E-bikes shall not be allowed where other types of bicycles are prohibited.” The Department hopes that this policy will reduce agencies’ “restrictive access policies treating e-bikes as motor vehicles,” and will “expand access to recreational opportunities, particularly to those with limitations stemming from age, illness, disability or fitness.”. There’s quite a bit of controversy around e-bikes in the mountain biking community because people see them as too easy compared to normal mountain biking. If a guy is excited about his bike he pedals with the assistance of a motor, while you wouldn't dream of packing an additional 10 pounds into the woods or you enjoy the independence of running without motorized subsidy, you still have wonderful things in common with the e-bike guy: 1) you’re outside, 2) you love wind in your hair, and 3) you’re willing to use your body to get that experience. Fork: : RockShox … This is the second part in a series of articles delving into the controversy surrounding eMTBs and their use on mountain bike trails. NEPA generally requires environmental analysis to be somewhat site-specific, meaning that possible impacts must be considered in each particular area an action will take place. $1,099.00 - $1,199.00 #11. The proposed rules circumvent meaningful review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of the environmental impacts of expanded e-bike use. 29er, 650b, 26" he doesn't discriminate. Read Part 2. The use of categorical exclusions and submission of comments like the Coalition’s suggest that these rules, when finalized, will likely be subject to litigation based on NEPA and other statutes. Especially on the trails. Both these tasks are more easily carried out when you are only looking at e-bike usage on the streets and pathways of our cities. E-bikes are not new to the world, but until recent years there seemed to be little to no legal intervention needed in the management of e-bike use on our streets and trails. E-bike trail use however, has been more difficult to control. There are no speed limits on the trails, there is no real form of policing either, and motorized vehicle use is banned in many of the areas where trails are built. Name a type of riding, and there’s an e-bike for that. Become a member now and get the following benefits: E-bikes on trails. 4 thoughts on “Colorado Sun Article on E-Bike Controversy” Rebecca Watson. According to NPS’s Transportation Planning Guidebook, having limited opportunities for non-motorized travel is one of “the three most commonly encountered transportation challenges” in national parks. We don’t know yet. We all desire single-track trails with the perfect spacing between the trees and a mix of technical and flowy trail features. A sample of electric mountain bikes from Scott, Trek, Specialized, Merida, Haibike, and Giant. Already, MTBs have trouble differentiating themselves from motorcycles for access to primitive trails — adding an e-bike to trail access will make it more difficult for purely human powered bikes to secure access to trails.”. FWS issued guidance as well, along with Director’s Order No. If you’ve paid at least some attention to the news in the world of bikes, you’ve probably heard about e-bikes.  NPS responded to the order quickly, issuing Policy Memorandum 19-01 the following day. BOR alone stated that e-bikes were still considered “off-road vehicles.”. Environmental & Energy Law Program, 6 Everett Street IMBA would support the use of e-bikes anywhere that we could also support other motorized uses.”, To be clear, IMBA is neither for, nor against, e-bike usage. Environmental and recreation groups maintain that “[n]on-motorized trails were created to ensure that the public could find recreational trail opportunities free from the ever-growing motorization and mechanization,” and that “[o]pening non-motorized trails to motors would forever change the backcountry experience for these users.”. That’s compounded by 10 times if you follow it with the word “Wilderness,” but for today’s discussion we are going to leave Wilderness largely out of it. As we explained in our previous e-bike article, the European classification of e-bikes identifies 4 types of e-bikes, but we only need to focus on class 1 and class 2: Pedal Assist and Throttle on Demand. In the past year, Boise has seen death and injuries from people riding the bikes and scooters. In an essay stating his objections to e-bikes, Pinkbike’s Richard Cunningham summed it up this way: “Mountain bikes are a form of human-powered locomotion with which to experience the wonders and the challenges of the natural world. Engines and motors have no place in that equation.” Some environmental groups have publicly opposed permitting e-bikes on non-motorized trails on public lands, including prior to Order 3376. Rattan 48V 500W/750W Electric Bike for Adults Folding Bikes 3.0/4.0 Fat Tire Bikes 13AH Removable Lithium-ion Battery E-Bikes 7 Speed Shifter Electric Bicycle High/Low Step Across ebikes 5.0 out of 5 stars 107. The three classes of e-bike are defined as: Class 1:Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph. With the epicenter of the e-backlash seeming to be centered around e-MTBs (as opposed to road e-bikes), we decided to take a look at why there seems to be so much trouble on the trails. BOR issued public guidance and a detailed FAQ, and revised its internal Reclamation Manual, also allowing e-bikes where traditional bicycles are permitted. © 2020 Harvard Law School. Reg. Basically, e-MTBs are normal mountain bikes that take some of the effort of pedaling off your plate. UCI officials called the FIM e-bike races “banned events” and went on to say that any rider holding a UCI license who participates in them risks disciplinary measures. Be mindful of others and considerate of the ramifications of your actions. 76,986 (Dec. 23, 2014). Class 2 e-bikes consist of throttle on demand motors where there is a trigger, or twist style throttle, like on a motorcycle, which engages the motor. The agencies, in changing the limit by a single watt, are effectively increasing the power of permitted bikes by 250 watts. When I installed my first BionX kiton a Giant Sedona back in 2002, no one thought anything of a bicycle with a motor on it being legal or not. For many people, e-bikes make commuting and performing errands via a bicycle feasible. Environmental groups have pushed back, pointing to potential negative environmental and recreation impacts of allowing e-bikes on non-motorized roads and trails. Even restricting e-bike access to certain classes of e-bikes or only permitting them to be operated in pedal-assist mode (as opposed to via a motorcycle-esque throttle) would not likely alleviate these impacts, since the land management agencies don’t have sufficient resources to effectively police e-bike use. Increased e-bike traffic in non-motorized areas will increase environmental degradation and human impact. Cannondale Trail Neo. For this post, we’ll stick to the latter, as it’s garnered t Both these tasks are … You just installed the kit and away you went. – Aspen Times. 222 pursuant to SO 3376. The Boise Police Department says they will not ticket people for riding e-bikes and e-scooters while impaired. Instead, the agencies should recognize that, whether the motor is engaged by a thumb, crank of a wrist, or push of a foot, e-bikes are motorized vehicles that should be restricted to areas dedicated to such use. This means more customers for our bike shops, another product to sell, and more importantly, another product to service. E-bike manufacturers generally offer e-bikes at 250-watt increments: e.g., there are 250-watt, 500-watt, 750-watt, and 1000-watt e-bikes. The statutory definition excludes higher-powered classes of e-bikes. It was a Bureau of Land Management proposal to treat all e-bikes as non-motorized vehicles that cracked a well-shaken can of controversy among all … NPS argues that the new definition avoids “the unintended consequence of excluding many devices from the regulatory definition of an e-bike due to a one watt difference in power.” But this seemingly small change is hugely impactful. I'm there dude. As a 30++ year mountain biker and now owner also of an e-bike, it it quite clear from experience that e-motor bikes are motorcycles just as much as early Indian motorcycles and most early motorcycles were pedal assist bicycle with gasoline powered motors. Pretty simple, add a motor to a bicycle, equals a motorcycle. I recently purchased an eMTB to help me get back into mountain biking after stabilizing my Lyme Disease symptoms. To gain more insight, I did what most others feared to do, I formed an opinion not from behind my keyboard, but from the saddle of an e-bike. (A fourth class exists, but e-bikes capable of speeds above 28 mph pushing out over 750 watts of power are considered a moped/motorcycle). Harvard Law School The bikes and scooters may be convenient for some, but they pose dangers to others. The proposed rules came on the heels of a secretarial order expanding e-bike access to increase recreation opportunities and accessibility of public lands to seniors and others with limited mobility. Fast forward to today and we are seeing legislation popping up everywhere trying to do the impossible – define e-bikes and manage their usage. § 46.210: FWS, BLM, and BOR all reason that, because the proposed rules only direct agency officials to implement the policy, the categorical exclusion applies at this stage; NEPA analysis may still be required when each agency official makes a decision about each specific area. Best cheap electric mountainbike. The proposed definitions include more powerful e-bikes than did the informal guidance, and they diverge from the only existing statutory definition. When an action is nationwide or otherwise broad in scope, however, agencies can use programmatic reviews to evaluate the action as a whole. The Order established definitions of different types of e-bikes based on their assistance and speed capabilities, and it directed the National Park Service (NPS), the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to incorporate e-bikes into their governing regulations. All the big trade shows of the past year saw both large and small brands proudly displaying their new line of e-bikes front and center. If you have zero … Posted on April 18, 2019 Author Staff Comments Off on E-Bike Controversy: When is a bicycle a motorcycle? Management of e-bike use in the urban forum is more easily accomplished than it is on our trails and rural areas. Many resorts will rent e-bikes to you and have up-tracks to take you to the top as an alternative to taking the lifts. Each of the proposed e-bikes rules relies on the same categorical exclusion from 43 C.F.R. Legislation on e-bikes and e-bike use seems to be being made on a daily basis and can vary from country to country, state to state, and province to province, so we tend to see the rules as being semi-solid, that is if we even realize there are rules at all. Most big brands, and dozens of smaller ones, are adding e-bikes to the pages of their catalogs, where you can now find your favorite trail bike, say a Scott Spark, in a full e-version. Under the previous administration, the Forest Service issued a briefing paper and internal guidance concluding that, since they had motors and were “self-propelled,” e-bikes were motor vehicles and permitted only on roads and trails where other motor vehicles are permitted. UCI officials called the FIM e-bike races “banned events” and went on to say that any rider holding a UCI license who participates in them risks disciplinary measures. Right now, Colorado separates e-bikes into classes based on the amount of electrical assistance they provide to the rider. Policies, directives, regulations, and guidelines: that are of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature; or whose environmental effects are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and will later be subject to the NEPA process, either collectively or case-by-case. September 21, 2019 by Sharon. We must understand that e-bikes and e-bike use is a fledgling movement. When I think of e bikes I think. That makes us ask: The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) thinks so: “Use of a motor, whether internal combustion or electric, would require changing the classification to a motorized use. 21 vote(s) 30.9% Maybe. Lahey is one of the area’s most vocal advocates for e-biking. Or…? Motorized vehicle-approved trails do exist, but they really don’t appeal to the traditions of MTBing. Proper access and development of these lands has usually been the result of a lengthy and hard-fought battle by passionate people and they’re not very open to having a small group of e-bike users jeopardize their hard work. I was confused and devastated to … I think the controversy is centered in defining trail access concerns. NPS, in contrast, created an opt-out system, permitting e-bike access by default until an NPS official acts to restrict it. You need to be signed in to use that feature! 05/06/2020 - Legal Analysis - Student Work. For example, your pedalling power would generate a speed of 10mph, but the motor boosts your speed to 15mph. Electric-assist bikes have grown exponentially in popularity over recent years. RELATED: E-bikes: What there is to know before you buy. All Rights Reserved. First off, let’s talk a bit about the technology. NPS therefore designates certain trails and areas—and sometimes certain times of day—for nonmotorized use only. e-bikes: Cool or controversy? This suit was settled on April 1: the national forest has clarified that e-bikes are no longer permitted on non-motorized trails. Is the controversy about motors or something more? For recreationists, increased potential traffic and speed of e-bikes creates both higher risk of personal injury and a different visit experience. Fans of the bikes have needed an advocate, because rules about where you can take them have borne controversy. There is also a fear that e-bikes possess the potential to hasten the degradation of our hard-fought-for trail networks with their power and capabilities. The first, filed on October 23, 2019, challenged the Forest Service’s decision to permit e-bikes on non-motorized trails in the Tahoe National Forest. At least two lawsuits have been filed recently with regard to e-bikes on public lands. 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