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Comparing federal eMTB rules and directives

Comparing federal eMTB rules and directives

Final rules mean changes for advocacy and trail management In the last few years, federal agencies have undergone processes to revise policies regarding eMTB access…

Thursday, Apr 28

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Final rules mean changes for advocacy and trail management

In the last few years, federal agencies have undergone processes to revise policies regarding eMTB access and management. With both the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) guidance and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule now finalized, IMBA’s Policy Manager Aaron Clark has analyzed both in-depth to compare similarities, differences, ramifications and next steps for eMTB access on the federal public lands mountain bikers ride and steward most. We want to hear the community’s questions about the analysis, the policies, and about these changes.

On March 31, 2022, the USFS finalized long-awaited e-bike guidance . The guidance incorporated a number of IMBA’s recommendations made during a public comment period in October 2020, in which thousands of mountain bikers took part. The guidance has some great elements in line with IMBA’s recommendations: it requires a local public process to adequately collect local sentiment on possible pros and cons of eMTB access; thorough National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Travel Management Planning; the guidance distinguishes between class 1, class 2 and class 3 eMTBs to ensure quality experiences for all trail users; and the guidance manages eMTBs as a new category, separate from traditional mountain bikes. Unfortunately, USFS fell short by reclassifying non-motorized trails to motorized trails where eMTBs would be allowed, even if all other motorized uses were to remain prohibited.

The final BLM rule was released on October 2, 2020. The final rule adopted the 3-class definition of e-bikes and, when meeting certain […]

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