The great outdoors just got a whole lot greater — and easier to explore. Especially if you’re an electric bike aficionado who loves visiting national parks. Thanks to an executive order from the U.S. Department of the Interior, you can now take your eBike on any federal trail that allows regular bikes. Previously, only certain classifications of electric-powered bicycles were allowed in national parks, as designated by a classification system (more on that later). But that restriction has since been removed.
Thanks, government guys!
The National Park Service released the following statement from National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith:
“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. 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.”
They left out, “People who just want to zoom through national parks on an electric powered bicycle because it’s FUN.” But hey, nobody’s perfect.
A copy of the National Park Service’s new eBike policy is available online.
The 411: Electric Bikes & National Parks
The new policy means you can use eBikes anywhere that regular bikes are allowed — park roads, paved trails, hardened trails, areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use, even administrative roads. Just like non-powered bicycles, designated wilderness areas are still off-limits. But the new rule only applies to bikes with pedals, stating: “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.” So, your pedal-free eBike still needs to stay at home, along with your motorbikes, for now.
Electric Bike Classification System
Electric bikes are divided into three classes, Class 1-3. And it’s clear that this ruling still prohibits certain types of electric bicycles.
- Class 1 e-bikes can reach speeds of up to 20 mph (32 km/h) but require the rider to pedal to engage the motor.
- Class 2 are same as Class 1 but with additional pedal-less, throttle-only mode, like our EB5 and EB7 bicycles.
- Class 3 are same as Class 2 e-bikes with top speeds up to and beyond 28 mph (45 km/h).
The new law allows all three eBike classes to ride on national park trails. But Class 2 and Class 3 electric bicycles are not allowed to use the throttle-only mode and must be pedaled while on national park trails. How will they enforce this specific rule? So far, it seems as though this will be handled on the honor system.
Make sure to check the website of the park you plan to visit for specific details about where you can ride your eBike as well as any park-specific rules.
Let’s Do This!
Enjoying America’s national parks is a great way to get out and stay active. Electric bicycles are perfect for doing just that. And for those who have mobility concerns or requirements, perhaps now you’ll be able to enjoy more of what the Great Outdoors has to offer. Just power up your eBike and head out.
SWAGTRON® offers two great all-terrain electric bikes, perfect for outdoor adventures:
The EB8 Foldable Fat Tire All-Terrain eBike is foldable for easy transport. Fast, durable and easily transportable. It’s quite literally the perfect bike for national parks. Durable 4-inch rubber fat tires on 20-inch wheels offer greater traction over rough, uneven terrain. You get Shimano® 7-speed precision gear shifting for conquering all sorts of rough, uneven terrain. And with a removable battery, you can grab a second spare battery for extended adventures.
We built our EB6 Youth Electric Fat-Tire Bike to introduce kids to off-roading. High-volume, 4-inch fat tires on 20-inch rims give maximum traction for a smoother ride. Dual lever-actuated disc brakes deliver superior stopping power when you need to screech to a stop. And Shimano® 7-speed gears means you’ll be ready for any terrain the park can throw at you.
Both bikes give you the power to go farther than ever with a high-torque 350-watt motor backing you up. You can conquer steep 25-degree inclines and reach top speeds of 18.6 mph, placing you comfortably in the Class 2 eBike classification. On battery power alone, you get about a 20-mile range on a single charge, but you’ll be able to go a lot farther with pedal-assist.
Additional Reading: [WATCH] Father-Daughter Team Conquers Trails and Explores More on Their EB6.
Remember, riding specs are determined by a lot of factors, including rider weight, inclines and terrain. Since you’ll be riding these on rough, hilly trails, your actual performance may vary. But the beautiful thing about the EB6 and EB8 is that they don’t just behave like bicycles — they are bicycles! Want to go farther and faster, just pedal more. Our off-road eBikes simply give you the power to go farther, hit the trails harder and experience powered mountain biking like never before.
Just think how much more of McKinley, Glacier or Yellowstone you’ll be able to explore with that extra oomph from a powerhouse all-terrain bicycle with electric pedal-assist.