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Thread: Here they come!

  1. #1
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    Here they come!

    DUALe - Felt Bicycles

    As the current leader of a mountain bike advocacy club, Im being pressured into taking a pro-active approach to curb the use of "motorized" bikes on our trails. The problem is, the laws are as clear as mud, and even policies of land managers are not clear or consistent. And this is not just a local issue for us, these things are coming now, and everyone will have to face them sooner or later. Personally, I'm against them in any forms, but I am deliberately trying to keep an open mind. I'm trying to figure out what the best stance is, from an advocacy club perspective. Right now I am leaning toward "adopting" a policy very similar to IMBAs position paper: https://www.imba.com/sites/default/f...MBA%202010.pdf

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    I was thinking about this the other day and came to the conclusion that the law says no motorized vehicles allowed. Hopefully that is all that's needed to keep electric/pedal assist bikes off our trails. I do foresee some wrangling and difficult times ahead though as different user groups that think they have some skin in the game try to get in the way and change the rules. Sort of like what we think we should have access to in Wilderness Areas...

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    yup we are a no motorized vehicles allowed area...at least the ones close to town.

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    [QUOTE=gravitylover;11381790]I was thinking about this the other day and came to the conclusion that the law says no motorized vehicles allowed. Hopefully that is all that's needed to keep electric/pedal assist bikes off our trails. QUOTE]

    Yes with caveats. Registered disabled individuals should be allow to ride e-bikes on non motorized trails. If someone has limited mobility then they should not be prevented from enjoying trails if an e-bike may allow then to do so. I'm sensitive to this as my wife, though not registered disabled, as limited mobility and I have been toying with the idea of an e-bike to allow here to partake in rides with me and the children.

    Personally has a hard core mountain bike I don't like the idea of e-bikes sharing the trail but if I consider the longer turn consequences then I think they could be great for persons who would like to get out on trails but can't for whatever reason - limited mobility, getting on in years and so on. I think the road going forward may have many curves and switchbacks in the path to determining e-bikes fate. Hopefully something can be worked out...

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    I live in an area with plenty of trails for off-road motorcycles, so I believe that in such areas e-bikes should use those trails and not the non-motorized trails.

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    Here they come!

    I don't understand the controversy. Vehicles are either motorized or not. There is no gray area. There is no room for interpretation. eBikes are motorized. Mountain bikes are not.

    If a trail does not allow motorized vehicles then e-bikes are not allowed.

    If the trail rule was less clear (like if it said "motorcycles are not allowed") then I could understand a small amount of clarification being needed. But that's not what my trail signs say. They simply say "motorized vehicles not allowed."

    Simple. Take your ebike somewhere else.

    Are eBikes trying to get the "no motorized" rule changed or are they trying to convince land managers that eBikes aren't motorized?
    I live with fear and danger every day. And on the weekends she lets me go mountain biking.

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    IMBA's take on the matter.
    Electric Mountain Bikes ? Friend or Foe? | Mountain Bike Review

    read it, it's the only position on the matter I could find.

    I think most parks will not allow them in areas where motorized transportation is not allowed.
    fat old man ... fueled by Mexican pastries....

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    I don't understand the controversy. Vehicles are either motorized or not. There is no gray area. There is no room for interpretation. eBikes are motorized. Mountain bikes are not.

    If a trail does not allow motorized vehicles then e-bikes are not allowed.
    this is right on.

    the thing in the back of my mind is that ebikes will start out seeming innocent enough, but if they find a market, I guarantee there will be an "arms race" of increasing power and battery size. pretty soon, they'll be capable of spinning the rear tire like a gas-powered motorbike.
    whatever...

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    When they get that powerful they will require a motorcycle license for use.

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    Dont be so quick to your conclusions...There is a LOT of gray area. In fact, the industry is actively lobbying to get these things classified as non-motorized, believe it or not! And just because there is a vague statement such as "non-motorized use" does not exclude everything with a motor. There is legislation being drafted right now to allow for motorized wheelchairs and such devices for hunters. These things are not that different if you think about it.
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    Here they come!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stupendous Man View Post
    There is legislation being drafted right now to allow for motorized wheelchairs and such devices for hunters. These things are not that different if you think about it.
    This was my point about seeing ebikes approved for use on non motorized trails for users with mobility issues. Similar to motorized wheelchairs on footpaths now.

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    Most areas I ride (MA) have a no motorized vehicle regulation for the trail use. They seem to be at least 10-15 lbs heavier than a regular mt bike. Many of our riding areas are very tech with lots of rocks and logs requiring a front wheel lift. Good luck trying to lift the front wheel on one of those.

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    Here they come!

    Actually the torque of the electric motor could make it easier to lift the wheel even though these things weight in the mid 40 lbs.

    Which leads to the concerns about motorized use; the torque allowing these things to tear up the trails and cause erosion.

    That may become a distinction between electric "assist" and electric bikes. The former is akin to what you find today on most ebikes. You still have to pedal but the motor assists and makes it easier. The later is an electric version of a motorbike where you don't have to pedal at all. The Tesla of bikes so to speak.

    I'm sure there is a legal distinction on this already. And perhaps that is the rule where ebikes are limited to no more than 20mph otherwise they need to be taxed and registered like a motorbike.

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    The problems are going to start with e-bikes riders on non motorized trails and the land mangers not being able to tell the difference. I've already seen a few on trails in my area.

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    I don't think this is an either/or situation and I don't think we can or should just say no to everything. Just like motorized wheelchair or wheelchair access trails, I think the best solution is to designate some trails as open to ebikes for disabilities. That way when you ride on those trails you know the risk and can be more aware. Much like off leash dog trails that are also used for mountain biking.

    If we allow "open" access to all trails for ebikes, it's as much a safety issue for those of us not on ebikes as it is anything else. They really are more like like motorcycles than bicycles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stupendous Man View Post
    Dont be so quick to your conclusions...There is a LOT of gray area. In fact, the industry is actively lobbying to get these things classified as non-motorized, believe it or not! And just because there is a vague statement such as "non-motorized use" does not exclude everything with a motor. There is legislation being drafted right now to allow for motorized wheelchairs and such devices for hunters. These things are not that different if you think about it.
    Of course the industry is lobbying to get access. They want to sell more expensive bikes and open up an exploitable market. It's all about $$ plain and simple.

    Just as plain and simple: If it has a motor, it's not allowed on trails prohibiting motorized vehicles.

    I just don't see any gray areas on this issue.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    Just as plain and simple: If it has a motor, it's not allowed on trails prohibiting motorized vehicles.
    I just don't see any gray areas on this issue.
    You missed the point. "Trails prohibiting motorized vehicles" are suddenly in danger of being changed to allow for certain motorized vehicles. Just because its stated on a sign at a trail head, doesn't mean it will remain that way forever. All it takes is a swipe of a pen from legislatures.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stupendous Man View Post
    You missed the point. "Trails prohibiting motorized vehicles" are suddenly in danger of being changed to allow for certain motorized vehicles. Just because its stated on a sign at a trail head, doesn't mean it will remain that way forever. All it takes is a swipe of a pen from legislatures.
    I'm with ya... They're sort of making gray areas where (to many of us), they don't currently exist.

  19. #19
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    I love that there are folks defending ebike access who do not interface directly with land managers. We could use the effort on the access/advocacy/build part of our sport.

    ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access trails have different build and design. So if discussion is ADA trail access they're engineered for different user types and ebike classification there is probably much easier to define.

    If we limit the discussion to non-ADA trails, and more specifically, non-motorized trails, there really isn't any grey area here. eBikes use motors to assist the rider, its not theory or debatable, its a fact.

    Where land managers may already have user conflict and mountain bikers face access issues, this is particularly sensitive. If you're not a rider, and a well informed rider at that, how do you tell the difference between an e-bike and a non-ebike?

    How does a land manager with non-motorized access and existing trail management issues relating to bikes deal with ebikes?

    How do we protect existing access and continue to grow mt bikers' seat at the natural resources recreation/conservation table if we advocate for carte-blache motorized access or "naunce" changes? There's already enough people from other groups at the table that still view us as mt.dew drinking ruffian dirt bags that care nothing about the precious resources we recreate in...

    Answer those questions truthfully and fully, then there's a solid discussion on mt. bike advocates joining forces with ebikes. Otherwise, they're a different trail user group to this advocate/builder.

  20. #20
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    If we limit the discussion to non-ADA trails, and more specifically, non-motorized trails, there really isn't any grey area here. eBikes use motors to assist the rider, its not theory or debatable, its a fact.

    Where land managers may already have user conflict and mountain bikers face access issues, this is particularly sensitive. If you're not a rider, and a well informed rider at that, how do you tell the difference between an e-bike and a non-ebike?

    How does a land manager with non-motorized access and existing trail management issues relating to bikes deal with ebikes?

    How do we protect existing access and continue to grow mt bikers' seat at the natural resources recreation/conservation table if we advocate for carte-blache motorized access or "naunce" changes? There's already enough people from other groups at the table that still view us as mt.dew drinking ruffian dirt bags that care nothing about the precious resources we recreate in...

    Answer those questions truthfully and fully, then there's a solid discussion on mt. bike advocates joining forces with ebikes. Otherwise, they're a different trail user group to this advocate/builder.[/QUOTE]

    Very good question - how to enforce it. As long as we all agree - that no motorized devices are allowed on mountain bike trails Mountain bike advocacy groups could work with shops to inform consumers that these devices are illegal on certain trails. If the customer seas that the moped is not allowed at many trails they will make an informed decisions about buying it or not.
    We could also as a group report any abuse. just like we do with Motocross bikes. We come across motocross bikes on our trails once in a while and stop and tell the users that they are not allowed. and report them to park rangers immediately. If mountain bikes do that - I believe we can enforce it.

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    As a relatively new mtb'r but a long time equestrian I might bring a different point of view- I find it totally hypocritical of the mtb'r community to try and keep another group out of our sandbox. A sandbox we have only in recent years enjoyed access too. All of us still get those looks from hikers on occasion- regardless of how committed we are to trail etiquette. Now we want to be the hikers? Count me out of that deal!

    I 100% support any bicycle (aided or not) having complete access to the trails. The more people we can get out into the back country the better. It's more people to help with trail building/repair, stronger advocacy groups, and more $$$ means more trails, better access... for a passion we all share but enjoy in slightly different ways.

    I was one of those equestrians who had no interest in sharing the trail with mountain bikes. For years we said it would be unsafe... We were wrong. I think it would be wrong and certainly it would be hypocritical to try and keep someone else from enjoying the same trails the way they want so long as they do it safely.

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    The problem is power control. If all those mopeds are restricted to 15 mph. No issues. But they are easily moded and in no time youll see 50 - 60 mph stunts on trails. Plus electric bikes, like cars have more torque vs gAs engines and are silent. We will all lose access. Lets recruit more people on real bikes not mopeds

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