Received a “call to action” request from electric-motorized bicycle company Super73 and the trade organization, PeopleForBikes. Both want me to encourage the National Park Service (NPS) to adopt new regulations that would allow electric-motorized bicycles access to roads and trails managed by the NPS that are currently designated for non-motorized users.
It is not surprising that a trade organization wants new regulations that will help its members sell more products. That’s what trade organizations do. What is surprising is their teaming with Super73. This company only offers one model that would be legal on trails if the NPS makes the recommended changes and that model (the Super73-Z1) is not recommended for riding on natural-surface trails. All Super73’s other models are claimed to come with a “powerful, internally-geared brushless DC hub motor capable of outputting up to 2000 watts of peak power” and an “Unlimited Mode” good for over 28 miles per hours.
The Super73 vehicles prove how the electric-motorized bicycle class structure can be manipulated and circumvented with ease. This is where I feel PeopleForBikes picked a questionable ally in their fight to get motorized recreation on non-motorized trails. It is my opinion that the Super73 vehicles are motorcycles disguised as bicycles. The non-adjustable saddle height and minute 125-millimeter long cranks prove the Super73 designers never intended their customers to pedal this bike (and the company’s video backs me up on this). This is a vehicle designed for motoring.
MY FEEDBACK DOESN’T USE THE SUPER73 TALKING POINTS
Instead of the self-serving spin of electric-motorized bicycle companies and PeopleForBikes, I’m telling the NPS that allowing the addition of electric-motorized bicycles to their trails will introduce a new and unique user group that will be substantially faster than all other current users. It is impossible for park managers to detect compliance of power/speed limits or the way the power is applied. Allowing ANY class e-bike virtually allows all electric-motorized bikes access to the trails. There are safer and more sane ways to offer access to people with medical issues or physical limitations (like the Cycling Without Age organization). These motorized recreational vehicles should be welcome where other motorized traffic is permitted, but they should not be allowed access to non-motorized, natural-surface trails.
STAND AND BE HEARD
I encourage you to let your opinion, pro or con, be heard by the agencies involved with this issue. Please feel free to use any of my points or link to any of my articles that may back up your opinion. Click on the following links to leave your feedback:
SAMPLE COMMENT (THAT YOU CAN COPY) IN OPPOSITION TO MOTORIZED ACCESS
I am opposed to allowing e-bikes on non-motorized roads or trails. Allowing the addition of electric-motorized bicycles to trails currently designated for non-motorized recreational activity will introduce a new and unique user group that will be substantially faster than all other users.
It is impossible for rangers to ascertain if an e-bike is in compliance with power limits or the way the power is applied. Allowing ANY e-bike virtually allows all electric-motorized bikes access to the paths or trails.
There are safer and more sane ways to offer access to people with medical issues or physical limitations rather than putting them on high-speed e-bikes (an e-bike will be approximately 55% faster than human-powered bicycles).
These electric-motorized recreational vehicles should be welcome where other motorized traffic is permitted, but they should not be allowed access to non-motorized, natural-surface trails.
OTHER ARTICLES ON ELECTRIC-MOTORIZED RECREATIONAL VEHICLES
About the author: Jim “Jimmy Mac” McIlvain was Editor of Mountain Bike Action Magazine and Road Bike Action Magazine and a contributing editor of Electric Bike Action Magazine. He has been used as a resource by land management agencies in developing e-bike and mountain bike policy. He welcomes feedback or questions from land management agencies, retailers and riders who deal with e-bike issues. The Jimmy Mac On Two Wheels website is self-funded.