E-Bikes on public lands
Where Can I Ride My E-bike?
Motorized areas and trails
BLM-managed public lands offer many opportunities for riding e-bikes, including any Open OHV area or motorized trail.
E-bikes are allowed on trails limited to bicycles and non-motorized travel ONLY IF a BLM Manager has issued a written decision authorizing e-bike use in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
In December 2020, the BLM amended it's OHV regulations at 43 CFR 8340.0-5 to define e-bikes, which are limited to Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes.
The rule provides that authorized officers may authorize, through subsequent land-use planning or implementation-level decisions, the use of Class 1, 2, and 3 e-bikes on non-motorized roads and trails.
The rule provides managers the ability to exclude e-bikes that meet certain criteria from the definition of off-road vehicle (otherwise known as an off-highway vehicle (OHV)) at 43 CFR 8340.0-5(a).
The rule, however, does not result in any immediate on-the-ground changes or site-specific allowances for e-bike usage on BLM-administered public lands. In other words, the rule does not, by itself, open any non-motorized trails to e-bike use. Before any on-the-ground changes can occur, an authorized officer must issue a land use planning or implementation -level decision that complies with NEPA and other applicable legal requirements.
E-Bikes on BLM-Managed Public Lands
The public lands should be accessible to as many Americans as possible, including people who use e-bikes. E-bikes help make public lands more accessible to more people. An e-bike is a bicycle with a small electric motor of not more than 750 watts (one horsepower) which assists in the operation of the bicycle and reduces the physical exertion demands on the rider. E-bikes may have two or three wheels and must have fully operable pedals.
BLM-managed public lands offer many opportunities for riding e-bikes, including any area or trail where OHVs are currently allowed. BLM offices also have the authority to identify which non-motorized trails could be used for e-bike use on BLM-managed lands. BLM District and Field Managers are encouraged to consider authorizing e-bike use in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, including the e-bike rule.
Trail etiquette is the same for e-bikes as it is for traditional bikes. Trail etiquette practices are based on a general concept of consideration of other trail users, and protection of the trail and surrounding natural resources. Key concepts include:
- following any posted trail rules such as speed limits, directional travel, or yielding suggestions
- protecting the trail by staying off of the trail during wet or muddy conditions
- openly communicating with other trail users with typical communication devices such as calm voice and non-obtrusive bells
- use of helmets and personal audio devices that allow you to hear other trail users and wildlife
- using passing techniques that are considerate of other trail users and that do not result in trail widening
- ride in group numbers that do not negatively impact other trail users experience