On August 30, the National Park Service announced a new electric bicycle (e-bike) policy for national parks, expanding recreational opportunities and accessibility. The policy supports Secretary’s Order 3376, signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt on August 29, that directs Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department. The policy also supports Secretary’s Order 3366 to increase recreational opportunities on public lands.
“As more Americans are using e-bikes to enjoy the great outdoors, national parks should be responsive to visitors’ interest in using this new technology wherever it is safe and appropriate to do so,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “They make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, and they provide an option for people who want to ride a bicycle but might not otherwise do so because of physical fitness, age, disability, or convenience, especially at high altitudes or in hilly or strenuous terrain.”
This new policy will enable visitors to use e-bikes, low-speed electric bicycles with power assistance, in the same manner as traditional bicycles at Lassen Volcanic, allowing them on park roads and campgrounds. The operator of an e-bike may only use the motor to assist pedal propulsion. The motor may not be used to propel an e-bike without the rider also pedaling, except in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic.
Similar to traditional bicycles, e-bikes are not allowed in designated wilderness areas. Lassen Volcanic will retain the right to limit, restrict, or impose conditions of bicycle use and e-bike use in order to ensure visitor safety and resource protection. Over the coming month, Lassen Volcanic management will work with our local communities, staff and partners to determine best practices and guidance for e-bike use in the park. Visitors should check (https://www.nps.gov/lavo/planyourvisit/bicycling.htm) for details about e-bikes in the park. Formal public engagement for e-bikes will be conducted as part of the future rulemaking process.
E-bikes make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, because they allow bicyclists to travel farther with less effort. When used as an alternative to gasoline- or diesel-powered modes of transportation, e-bikes can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption, improve air quality, and support active modes of transportation for park staff and visitors. Similar to traditional bicycles, e-bikes can decrease traffic congestion, reduce the demand for vehicle parking spaces, and increase the number and visibility of cyclists on the road.
A copy of the National Park Service’s new e-bike policy is available at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/policy/upload/PM_19-01.pdf