Comment on USFS Rule to Block eMTB Access to All Non-motorized trails

Mountain bike trails & Mountain bike reviews Protected: Forums Mountain Bike Forum Comment on USFS Rule to Block eMTB Access to All Non-motorized trails

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    • #509478

      Your chance to ever ride an e-mountain bike on U.S. National Forest Service (NFS) backcountry trails is at stake. The U.S. Forest Service has put at risk all users who value and use non-motorized trails.

      We have until October 26 to comment and oppose the NFS new rules on e-bikes in the national forest.

      Please go this link FSM 7700 and 7710 E-bikes #ORMS-2619 and comment. It’s quick. Enter name and write what you want. Takes a couple minutes, no more.

      The deadline is next Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. DO IT NOW, if you can.

      You can just say you agreed with American Mountain Bike Riders’ position and oppose the NFS proposal as it is written.

      If want, add:

      * Don’t agree with the NFS proposal. It’s a non-starter. Doesn’t help achieve eMTB access and threatens non-motorized trails.
      *Don’t agree that all e-bikes should be classified as motor vehicles and restricted to motorized trails for dirt bikes and off-road motorcycles.
      *Get in step with the other federal land management agencies, the National Park Service and BLM as well as the majority of states and classify e-bikes as bikes.
      We are American Mountain Bike Riders (AMBR), a new national organization that advocates for e-mountain bike (eMTB) access to non-motorized natural surface trails.  We advocate for equal access for pedal-assist bikes where other mountain bikes are allowed. A Class 1 electric mountain bike (eMTB) is a mountain bike and should be permitted where existing bikes are allowed but not where existing bikes are not allowed.

      Thanks for help,


    • #509654

      I do not agree with you. I think that the use of e-motorcycles (That’s what e-bikes really are.) in wild places diminishes the wilderness experience for non-motorized trail users. There are so many places that motors are allow, you really can’t argue that e-motorcycles don’t have access. Using e-motorcycles results in the burning of fossil fuels which produces CO2 and contributes to global warming. Please comment against allowing access to e-motorcycles!

    • #510936

      A unique perspective. Perhaps to fake news fringe battery-powered e-motors burn fossil fuels and contribute to global warming?

      I’ll add this for others who take the issue of access to dirt trails seriously. The most common reaction of mountain bikers who try an eMTB for the first time is that it feels and handles just like any other mountain bike.

    • #511004

      Haha Bike Nerd FTW!!!

      I’m sure he rides his bike to work everyday. Less footprint, you know. 😉

      I signed.

    • #511009

      Bike Nerd, I think there’s a difference between a motorcycle, where all the power comes from an  engine, and a pedal assist bicycle, where the power is generated by the cyclist and augmented to some degree by an electric motor. A person can be against (or for) using pedal assist bikes on non-motorized trails, but to say that a pedal assist bike is the same as a motorcycle is just false. I think the difference is obvious to most people.

    • #511062

      Does the “bicycle” have a motor? Yes or No. It’s really simple.

    • #511064

      If a motorcycle had a set of pedals would that make it a bicycle?

    • #511065

      Simple in more ways than you think.

      If you read hundreds of comments filed in opposition to eMTBs with the NFS, NPS, and BLM in the last few months, what you discover is that most, maybe 90%, are in opposition to ALL mountain bikes. To our opponents, a bike is a bike. We are all on vehicles, mechanized machines. That is what they see and don’t want on non-motorized trails.

      Mountain bikers, whether they ride mechanized or motorized, are always going to have to defend their  trail access. We don’t do that by throwing eMTBs under the bus, as too many trad mountain bikers do.

      Short-sighted and ignores their own history.

    • #511068

      I hike and bike in the South Hill trails of Helena, Montana and recently saw two older guys (one was 68, one 74) on bikes, which on close inspection of the bottom bracket, were e-bikes. No batteries were visible and without looking closely I would never have known they were not regular bikes. I live a short distance from a multi-use OHV trail system a short distance south of Helena. I know when a dirt bike is approaching 15 minutes before seeing the rider.

      Do they both have motors? Yes. Are they the same thing? No. Should pedal assist bikes be allowed on non-motorized trails? Opinions vary on this or this thread would not exist. I suspect there is as much rationale for excluding all mechanized vehicles, including bikes, from trails, as is done in wilderness areas, as excluding certain people (who have as much ownership of the trails on public land as anyone else) from using public national forest or blm trails.

      Personally I think expanding the number of folks using these trails is the best way to ensure they will not be blocked off, sold off or otherwise restricted.

    • #511072

      To my way of thinking, the dividing line is motorized or non-motorized. If you want to use a motor, go ride where motorcycles are allow. There are plenty of places where motorcycles are allowed. If you want to keep wild places wild, don’t use a motor. Personally, I stand with non-motorized trail users—hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers.

      By allowing e-(motor)bikes into places where motorized vehicles are banned, you’re going down a slippery slope. Some e-(motor)bikes are quite powerful. I see people on e-(motor)bikes flying uphill while barely pedaling. Some e-(motor)bikes really are just motorcycles with pedals stuck on them and are not really intended to be pedaled much. Might as well allow no-pedals full-on electric motorcycles on the trails. And if you’re going to do that, you might as well allow gas powered motorcycles as well—and ATV’s and 4WD’s. A very slippery slope! And now, that place that used to be wild isn’t very wild any more. I’ve seen the damage to the land that happens to areas where motorized vehicles are allow.

      I remember that first time I went to Moab 40+ years ago and it was still mostly pristine wilderness. 40 years of being loved to death and now Moab is a motorized wasteland. Moab sold its soul to the 4WD.

      We need to protect our wild places. Not only for our own biological and environmental survival but also for own own spiritual survival. If we’re going to survive as a species, we need to stop global warming, stop wild habitat destruction, reduce our population, and learn to live sustainably. I think that at least 50% of the land areas of the earth should be wilderness where motors aren’t allowed. That’s what we need to to be sustainable not just for homo sapiens but also for the rest of the species that live on this planet. At the rate we are going, soon the whole planet will be nothing but cities and farms. When that happens, (If it’s even sustainable?) it’s going to be a sad moment for humankind. Most of the wild places and wild animals gone.

      Personally, I would be embarrassed to ride an e-(motor)bike. Even though I’m 60+ years old, I can still pedal my own bike thank you. Also, it just doesn’t align with my values. The last thing we need in this country is more motor-sports or motor vehicle use especially in wild places. If you want to save the planet, it starts with something as small as e-(motor)bikes. I can remember what this country was like when I was a young man and I can tell you it’s not nearly as beautiful or wild now as it was then. If you want to keep wild places wild, ban e-(motor)bikes.

    • #511076

      “If a motorcycle had a set of pedals would that make it a bicycle?”

      If a motorcycle had pedals it would be a moped. Sounds a lot like an e-bike.



    • #511331

      e dirtbike or ebicycle? There is a day and night difference between the two.

      I will say this, after a friend had an aortic reconstruction following an aneurysm, I was glad that he was able to hit the trails with us. Without the eBICYCLE, that could not have happened. This is a medical condition, not a choice…

      There are plenty of people that have no idea what respect and courtesy are that are on analog bikes, ebikes will have their fair share of those too. Go figure!




    • #511341

      E-bikes as a way to get someone who isn’t able-bodied on the trails is a great thing.

      E-bikes as a way to avoid pedaling for an able-bodied person is just laziness. It’s the most millennial thing ever. Getting is shape is hard, who has time for that?

    • #511371

      I have ridden an ebike,  I did not like it,  I will probably never be a customer for that product.  However, I think it is hyperbolic to compare the ebike to a motorcycle and it is not useful in the conversation about land access.  Power is a meaningful thing,  and ebikes just don’t have that much.

      I think bicycles should be allowed in wilderness areas.  The discussion of ebikes should not cloud that discussion and I think American Mountain Bike Riders’ comment and concern is well founded.  I think more people experiencing wilderness areas will increase the likelihood that citizens will act as responsible conservationists.  Increasing the accessibility via bicycles is, in my view, a good thing.

      IMO ebikes should be discussed in the context of whether they can be safely operated in a given space (both to the user and to the trail/ecosystem) and if so, be treated like bikes by the land manager. Also in the context of people with physical limitations being able to experience wilderness in the same manner as everyone else.  If I were in Sunspot’s situation, I would not be able to mountain bike anymore because all my local trails restrict access.  I would be crushed.

      As far as laziness goes,  if it gets a guy out there who is otherwise too out of shape  that is OK by me.  I met a guy in this situation on trail with an e bike,  the guy was losing weight and will undoubtedly be less of a burden on the health care system.   He also dropped a couple bucks in the trail donation box which is how we started chatting in the first place.  All good things

      Let’s not judge each other too harshly. Unless you stole a bike, then the punishment should be severe…

    • #511481

      2014, the year of the M. I. and heart surgery… Unfortunately, I hadn’t entertained a digital bike at the time. Looking back, I shoulda… Although, I owed the hospital 150k, so another bike wasn’t on the horizon.

      The outright hatred of digital bikes is pathetic at best. Don’t like ’em, don’t throw a leg over one!


    • #511520

      Not a fan of e-bikes, especially mountain. Like some one mentioned above, just a bunch of lazy MFs, as far as I’m concerned.

    • #511612

      In response to the post calling e-bike users “lazy MF’s”, there have been a couple of studies comparing the amount of exercise done by e-bike vs regular bike users. One, reported in the magazine “Outside” if memory serves me correctly, actually found that the e-bike users got more exercise than the control group, mainly because they enjoyed it more and therefore did more cycling. Here is a link to another study out of Utah comparing intensity levels on a set route:

      If someone will get out and exercise using an e-bike, whether they absolutely need the pedal assist or not, when the alternative is that they would not cycle at all, then this would be a great boon to that person, as well as getting another person into the cycling community. What’s not to like? Why should it bother you if someone else just decides they prefer a pedal-assist bike?

      There are some folks do not want anyone using the trails outside their niche group, whether it be hikers, horse people, regular mountain bikers, etc if because of concerns about safety, trail integrity, impact on wildlife etc. These are valid concerns. Keeping other folks off trails just because they don’t meet your ideas of who should be worthy to use the trail is not, in my opinion.

    • #511613

      breathinghard, some people just love themselves so much when they dictate to others what kind of bike they will permit others to ride. Too bad they cannot focus on what they are riding and nail down their progression…


      Sad that the Pelosi’s are doing such things…

    • #511615

      Thanks to those who’ve had the patience and civility to answer seriously the belligerent, uninformed rants of anti-eMTBs. You’ve my admiration.

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