• JJ McGinnis

Forest Service Issues E-bike Guidance

Last month the USFS issued guidance on future e-bike management on national forests and grasslands. You can find the press release and updated travel management directives here. The guidance clearly defines three classes of e-bikes as motorized vehicles and confirms e-bikes continued access to existing motorized roads and trails.


FSM7700 has been updated to include the following definitions:

Electric Bicycle (E-Bike). Also referred to as an electric mountain bike (eMTB), a type of motor vehicle with two or three wheels, fully operable pedals, and an electric motor of not more than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes: a. Class 1 E-Bike. An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour. b. Class 2 E-Bike. An e-bike equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the e-bike and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour. c. Class 3 E-Bike. An e-bike equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.

The guidance also clarifies that any expansion of e-bike use on new or non-motorized trails requires the same level of environmental analysis as any other travel management decision. Most importantly, the Forest Service Manual now includes a specific class of motorized trail open to e-bikes only. This classification will allow local authorities to consider additional and more primitive e-bike access and opportunities, while still requiring the same analysis, considerations, and public comment expected of new motorized route proposals.


FSM 7710 has been updated to include the following eight categories to identify classes of motor vehicles on a MVUM: a. Roads Open to Highway-Legal Motor Vehicles Only. b. Roads Open to All Motor Vehicles. c. Trails Open to All Motor Vehicles, Including Both Highway-Legal and Non-Highway-Legal Vehicles. d. Trails Open to Motor Vehicles 50 Inches or Less in Width.
e. Trails Open to Wheeled Motor Vehicles 50 Inches or Less in Width.
f. Trails Open to Motorcycles Only. Sidecars are not permitted.
g. Trails Open to E-Bikes Only. Specify the class or classes of electrical bicycles (e-bikes) allowed (Class 1, 2, and/or 3).

Like all bicycles, e-bikes are prohibited in designated wilderness.


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