Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed an order on Thursday, Aug. 29 which will allow access of electric bikes on BLM land and in National Parks. This would effectively allow e-bikes onto any federal trail where non-motorized bicycles can ride.
“Reducing the physical demand to operate a bicycle has expanded access to recreational opportunities,” Bernhardt wrote in the order. It continues, “E-bikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed.”
The demand for electric bikes has increased, and sales have been booming across the nation. Sales have increased by 72% to $144M last year, according to the NPD Group, which keeps track of bicycle rules.
It appears that the decision has been made across all three e-bike classifications as well, as the order is said to include e-bikes that can assist up to 28MPH, which would include Class-3 electric bikes.
Last month, a collection of outdoor advocacy groups including mountain bike and hiking groups alike wrote into the US Forest Service and National Park Service opposing the allowance of e-bikes in national parks, largely referencing the Wilderness Act.
With the new order, there will still be a period of public comment and the rule can be altered. According to the AP, the Department of the Interior is still preparing a detailed statement which should provide more clarification.
Many mountain bike trails, including popular trails in Moab like Porcupine Rim, are located on BLM-managed land and would be affected by the rule change.
We will provide updates as more information becomes available.