"Last Fall, the Department of the Interior issued a call to expand the use of e-bikes on public lands. Last week, the Bureau of Land Management announced a 60-day public comment period on the proposed regulations for e-bikes on public land trails that now only allow non-motorized bikes. But National Forests, under the Department of Agriculture, did not adopt Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt’s call to expand access to e-bikes. The Forest Service considers e-bikes motorized and bans them from non-motorized trails."
To comment on the BLM’s e-bike proposal, go to regulations.gov/docket?D=BLM-2020-0001
April 2, 2020. WASHINGTON – "The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today announced a 60-day public comment period on proposed electric bike, or e-bike, regulations, intended to make it easier for more Americans to recreate on and experience their public lands. This effort is in line with Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt’s call for the BLM and other Interior bureaus to expand access on public lands to e-bikes." CLICK HERE TO SEE PROPOSED RULE.
Over 90 trail user groups have opposed adding motorized e-bikes to non-motorized trails. They state that there are hundreds of thousands of miles of motorized trails where these e-bikes belong, not adding them to existing non-motorized trails. Some have already sued the National Forest Service and other public agencies.
BE SURE TO READ THIS ARTICLE: E-bike industry "advisory group" violated federal law in secretly lobbying the National Park Service.
As a remedy, the proposed rule would amend the BLM’s current off-road vehicle regulations to add a definition for e-bikes, compatible with Secretarial Order 3376, Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes. This proposed change would then give local BLM land managers the authority to use that definition to conduct their own lawful decisions on whether e-bikes may be operated on public lands in their jurisdictions. In addition, the proposed rule would direct the entire BLM to specifically address e-bike usage in future land-use or implementation-level decisions.
Public lands designated by Congress as “wilderness areas” will remain off-limits to both traditional bicycles and e-bikes. Also, e-bikes would not be given special access beyond what traditional, non-motorized bicycles are allowed. (Meaning, E-bikes would be allowed on all multi-use non-motorized trails.)
While the BLM has already empowered its local land managers to permit the use of e-bikes wherever they have the statutory authority to do so, the comment period provides an opportunity for the public to offer feedback on the proposed rule. The BLM will consider informative and unique feedback as part of crafting its final rule.
The 60-day public comment period will commence on the date that the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. Following publication in the Federal Register, interested parties may submit comments on the proposed regulation, identified by the number RIN 1004-AE72, by any of the following methods:
- Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240, Attention: RIN 1004-AE72.
- Federal eRulemaking portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Searchbox, enter “RIN 1004-AE72” and click the “Search” button. Follow the instruction at this website. As of this morning, this comment period document has not been added to the Federal Register.