Do you want to be able to ride an e-bike on BLM public lands? The BLM has opened a 60-day public comment period, starting today, on proposed electric bike regulations, intended to make it easier for more Americans to recreate on and experience public lands. This effort is in line with Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt’s call for the BLM and other Interior bureaus to expand access on public lands to e-bikes. E-bikes have small electric motors that help with pedaling, make bicycle travel easier for people with disabilities, younger children and people who aren’t experienced mountain bikers.
“We want all Americans to have a chance to create life-long memories exploring and enjoying the great outdoors,” said BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley. “The BLM is working hard to implement Secretary Bernhardt’s directive wherever it can because our agency believes these public lands are managed in trust for all citizens, and that people of every ability should be able to explore them to the greatest extent possible.”
Given their use of a small (1 horsepower or less) electric motor, the BLM currently manages e-bikes as off-highway vehicles. As a result, there is some uncertainty among e-bike users as to where they may ride their bikes on BLM-managed public land.
As a remedy, the proposed rule would amend the BLM’s current off-road vehicle regulations to add a definition for e-bikes, compatible with Secretarial Order 3376, Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes. This proposed change would then give local BLM land managers the authority to use that definition to conduct their own lawful decisions on whether e-bikes may be operated on public lands in their jurisdictions.
In addition, the proposed rule would direct the entire BLM to specifically address e-bike usage in future land-use or implementation-level decisions.
Public lands designated by Congress as “wilderness areas” will remain off-limits to both traditional bicycles and e-bikes. Also, e-bikes would not be given special access beyond what traditional, non-motorized bicycles are allowed.
While the BLM has already empowered its local land managers to permit the use of e-bikes wherever they have the statutory authority to do so, the comment period provides an opportunity for the public to offer feedback on the proposed rule. The BLM will consider informative and unique feedback as part of crafting its final rule.
The 60-day public comment period has commenced and the proposed rule has been published in the Federal Register. The public comment period will end on June 9. You can find the proposed rule at this link here. Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed regulation, identified by the number RIN 1004-AE72, by any of the following methods:
• Mail: U.S. Department of the Interior, Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, Mail Stop 2134 LM, 1849 C St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240, Attention: RIN 1004-AE72.
• Federal eRulemaking portal: Follow this link.
For more information about the proposed rule, please contact Britta Nelson at email@example.com or 303-236-0539.