The United States’ Secretary of the Interior on August 29th signed Order Number 3376 titled “Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes,” that instructs Federal land management agencies to view electric-motorized bicycles the same as a human-powered bicycle.
Dennis Byrd, Outdoor Recreational Planner-Travel and Transportation Mgt, explained to Jimmy Mac On Two Wheels that “This newly penned Secretarial Order gives new guidance on how to manage e-bikes on BLM (and other DOI agency) managed lands. E-bikes, as defined in 15 U.S.C. 2085. will be allowed where all bicycles are allowed and no longer be considered Off-highway Vehicles.”
Randy Rasmussen, M.S,. Public Lands & Recreation Director for the Back Country Horsemen of America, feels that, “e-bikes won’t be instantly added to trails on DOI lands. Each agency will first have to promulgate rules via the formal Rulemaking process, which includes public notice and opportunities for public comment. But the new policy to allow Class 1, 2 and 3 bikes on trails will be baked into the proposed Rulemaking.”
This is a giant coup for e-bike companies and companies that sell kits to convert bicycles into electric-motorized bicycles. Order number 3376 introduces a new vehicle to natural surface trails and while the Order defines these vehicles as “low-speed electric bicycles,” they will represent the fastest speed of any trail user.
Order 3376 is great for e-bike companies and not so great for all other users of natural-surface trails.