eBikes in National Parks [IMPORTANT NEW POLICY]

 eBikes in National Parks [IMPORTANT NEW POLICY]

Contrary to what you may have heard, it is okay to bring and use eBikes in National Parks. 

It wasn't always so. When eBikes first started showing up in National Parks, they were not always welcome.

Each park seemed to have its own rules.

There were some unpleasant confrontational between eBike riders and park rangers.

And with a lot of eBike users, word spread that National Parks somehow prohibited their use.

A new policy for eBikes in National Parks has just passed!

The new policy just went into effect on December 2, 2020, though because of all the bad news and concerns over COVID and travel restrictions, it hasn't received much attention.

So let's be loud and clear on this!

eBikes in National Parks are Okay!

The National Park Service (NPS) has been taking about easing restrictions since the fall of 2019. But we have the final regulation governing the use of ebikes in units of the National Park System in our hot little hands, as published in the Federal Register on November 2, 2020

They became effective on December 2, 2020

Let me quote directly from the document. I'd say it constitutes a running endorsement of eBikes in National parks.

What the NPS says about eBikes in National Parks

Similar to traditional bicycles, the NPS believes that, with proper management, the use of ebikes may be an appropriate activity in many park areas.

Specifically, the policy cites the following benefits of allowing the use of eBikes in National Parks:

  • Ebikes advance the NPS's ‘Healthy Parks Healthy People' goals to promote national parks as a health resource.
  • Increase bicycle access to and within parks. Ebikes make bicycle travel easier and more efficient because they allow bicyclists to travel farther with less effort.
  • Ebikes can expand the option of bicycling to more people by providing a new option for those who want to ride a bicycle but might not otherwise do so because of physical fitness, age, or convenience, especially at high altitudes or in hilly or strenuous terrain.
  • When used as an alternative to gasoline- or diesel-powered modes of transportation, ebikes 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, ebikes can decrease traffic congestion, reduce the demand for vehicle parking spaces, and increase the number and visibility of cyclists on the road.

What kind of eBikes in National Parks are allowed?

The policy defines an e-bike as “a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts that provides propulsion assistance.” 

Those are pretty much the same “street legal” eBikes defined and allowed by most states.

Such eBikes should not exceed 20 miles an hour when being solely powered by the motor.

The National Park Services says park superintendents 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.

That just is common sense. 

eBikes in National Parks are now treated like regular bicycles

Now there are areas in almost all National Parks that are closed to bicycles. Certain trails are for hiking only, with no bicycle traffic allowed.

To make it absolutely clear that the National Parks Service does not discriminate against electric bicycles in any way.

The policy statement specifically says:

“ebikes are allowed where traditional bicycles are allowed and that e-bikes are not allowed where traditional bicycles are prohibited”

And then, just in case there is any confusion, it repeats that statement with a few more details a few paragraphs down the regulation document:

“This rule states that e-bikes may be allowed on roads, parking areas, administrative roads and trails that are open to traditional bicycles.”

EBikes are so much fun

RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers probably know that Jennifer and I picked up a pair of Rad Power Bikes a couple of years ago.

You can check out our video review below (Hint: We love them!).

(Story continues below video)

Let's sum this up a final time

At the risk of repeating myself, I want to forever dispel the lingering urban myths that many still cling to regarding eBike use in National Parks.

Maybe they were discouraged and prohibited in the past.

But the past is over.

eBikes are now very welcome in National Parks.

As you can see from our video above, we found using the bikes a welcome addition to our RV camping trips.

Safety information and Frequently Asked Questions are on the Electric Bicycles (e-bikes) in National Parks website. 

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast, and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. 

eBikes in National Parks [IMPORTANT NEW POLICY]

Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

9 Comments

  • Thank you for posting this! Glad to hear about this as it was one of our concerns about getting e-bikes.

  • Thanks so much for posting this. My eBike was delivered last week and I’ve been wondering what the NPS policies were.

  • Thanks for posting this! Being in our mid 60’s, we don’t get far on our regular bikes. We love our Rad eBikes and got them so we can explore more of this country, while still maintaining the peace and quiet of bicycling.

  • Have you tried out the new RadRunner? I’m considering the purchase of an ebike and would like your opinion of it or the other models. Thanks for your time.

  • Being a BOFF (Big Old Fat Fella) myself, that’s GREAT news. Thank you Trump Administration! #2TermTrump

  • Love our LTV Unity FX and our Rad City Bikes.

  • Hi Mike,
    I picked up an Aventon ebike because it’s had a low step thru, low weight, & low price.

  • we almost bought a Rad bike, but no one will service it on the road…only the bike parts but not the motor or electronics…true of many of the ebikes out there sold online…there is no store or technician to turn to if you are traveling…so why do Rver’s want a bike with no servicing options? I think I will opt for a Trek…more expensive but at least i can go to any Trek dealer and have any problem taken care of…

  • I have 1350 miles on my Rad 750 over 9 months. Absolutely no problems in a fairly intense hilly area. I bought some brake pads for backup and will be checking them while boondocking. Love it!

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