eBikes Allowed on Federal Land

As of August 29th 2019 all eBikes up to 750 watt can now access Federal Lands and natural parks anywhere a regular bicycle can access.  The one exception is National Forests, the forests are managed by the Department of Agriculture and these changes are not implemented yet on the forests.  Changes are happening to align all Federal land to the below Order.  

Here's a copy of the Secretarial Order # 3376

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject: Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes

 

Sec. 1 Purpose. This Order is intended to increase recreational opportunities for all Americans, especially those with physical limitations, and to encourage the enjoyment of lands and waters managed by the Department of the Interior (Department). This Order simplifies and unifies regulation of electric bicycles ( e-bikes) on Federal lands managed by the Department and also decreases regulatory burden.

 

Sec. 2 Authorities. This Order is issued under the authority of section 2 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1950 (64 Stat. 1262), as amended, as well as other relevant statutes.

 

Sec. 3 Background. Bicycling is an excellent way for visitors to Federal lands to experience America' s rich natural heritage. Bicycling has been popular in America since the early nineteenth century. Since then, innovation in the design and production of bicycles has dramatically increased mechanical efficiency, opening bicycling to a greater number of people in a larger number of environmental and geographical conditions.

 

A relatively recent addition to the design of some bicycles is a small electric motor which can provide an electric power assist to the operation of the bicycle. Reducing the physical demand to operate a bicycle has expanded access to recreational opportunities, particularly to those with limitations stemming from age, illness, disability or fitness, especially in more challenging environments, such as high altitudes or hilly terrain.

 

While e-bikes are operable in the same manner as other types of bicycles and in many cases they appear virtually indistinguishable from other types of bicycles, the addition of a small motor has caused regulatory uncertainty regarding whether e-bikes should be treated in the same manner as other types of bicycles or, alternatively, considered to be motor vehicles. This uncertainty must be clarified. To resolve this uncertainty the Consumer Product Safety Act (Act) provides useful guidance. That Act defines a "low-speed electric bicycle" to include a "two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor ofless than 750 watts (1 h.p,), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph", subjecting these low-speed e-bikes to the same consumer product regulations as other types of bicycles (15 U.S.C. § 2085). A majority of States have essentially followed this definition in some form.

 

Uncertainty about the regulatory status of e-bikes has led the Federal land management agencies to impose restrictive access policies treating e-bikes as motor vehicles, often inconsistent with State and local regulations for adjacent areas. The possibility that in some cases e-bikes can be propelled solely through power provided by the electric motor, a function often used in short duration by older or disabled riders as an assist, has contributed to confusion about e-bike classification. Further, Federal regulation has not been consistent across the Department and has served to decrease access to Federally owned lands bye-bike riders.

 

Sec. 4 Policy. Consistent with governing laws and regulations:

     a) For the purpose of this Order, "e-bikes" shall mean "low-speed electric bicycle" as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 2085 and falling within one of the following classifications:

          i) "Class 1 electric bicycle" shall mean 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;

          ii) "Class 2 electric bicycle" shall mean 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; and

          iii) "Class 3 electric bicycle" shall mean 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.

     b) E-bikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed; and

     c) E-bikes shall not be allowed where other types of bicycles are prohibited.

 

Sec. 5 Implementation. I direct the Assistant Secretaries for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Land and Minerals Management, and Water and Science, as appropriate, to do the following:

     a) Within 14 days of the date of this Order, unless otherwise prohibited by law or regulation:

          i) To the extent existing regulations allow, adopt a Bureau/Service-wide policy that conforms to the policy set forth in Sec. 4 of this Order;

          ii) Amend or rescind any prior written policies as appropriate;

          iii) Instruct the Director, Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to develop a proposed rule to revise 50 CFR § 25.12 and any associated regulations to be consistent with this Order, add a definition fore-bikes consistent with 15 U.S.C. § 2085, and expressly exempt all e-bikes as defined in Sec. 4a from falling under the definition of off-road vehicle;

          iv) Instruct the Director, National Park Service (NPS) to develop a proposed rule to revise 36 CFR § 1.4 and any associated regulations to be consistent with this Order, add a definition fore-bikes consistent with 15 U.S.C. § 2085, and expressly exempt all e-bikes as defined in Sec. 4a from the definition of motor vehicles;

          v) Instruct the Director, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop a proposed rule to revise 43 CFR § 8340.0-5 and any associated regulations to be consistent with this Order, add a definition fore-bikes consistent with 15 U.S.C. § 2085, and expressly exempt all e-bikes as defined in Sec. 4a from the definition of off-road vehicles or motorized vehicles; and

          vi) Instruct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to develop a proposed rule to revise 43 CFR § 420.5 and any associated regulations to be consistent with this Order, add a definition fore-bikes consistent with 15 U.S.C. § 2085, and expressly exempt all e-bikes as defined in Sec. 4a from the definition of off-road vehicles.

     b) Within 30 days of the date of this Order, submit a report to the Secretary including:

          i) A summary of the policy changes enacted in response to this Order;

          ii) A summary of any laws or regulations that prohibit the full adoption of the policy described by this Order; and

          iii) A timeline to seek public comment on changing any regulation described above.

     c) Within 30 days of the date of this Order, provide appropriate public guidance regarding the use of e-bikes on public lands within units of the National Park System, National Wildlife Refuge System, lands managed by BLM, and lands managed by BOR.

 

Sec. 6 Effect of the Order. This Order is intended to improve the internal management of the Department. This Order and any resulting reports or recommendations are not intended to, and do not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person. To the extent there is any inconsistency between the provisions of this Order and any Federal laws or regulations, the laws or regulations will control.

 

Sec. 7 Expiration Date. This Order is effective immediately. It will remain in effect until its provisions are implemented and completed, or until it is amended, superseded, or revoked.

 

 

 

 

You can view the original on the DOI GOV website by clicking here:  SO 3376

 

 


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