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Thread: Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail E-Bike Survey

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    Default Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail E-Bike Survey

    The Department of the Interior recently announced a policy allowing e-bike use on public lands and directing each subunit to develop a policy.

    NPS Policy implementation is that e-bikes shall generally be approved for use where non-electric bikes are allowed. The policy is here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/policy/upload/PM_19-01.pdf

    An FAQ is here: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/biking/e-bikes.htm

    The Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail survey is below. Please take the survey and share freely on social media or with any trail users you know:
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1F...F9LCQ/viewform


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    It's great to see this, but the ban of Class 2 ebikes (those limited to 20mph but which have a throttle as well as pedal assist) misses the mark. Meanwhile, Class 3 ebikes (limited to 28 mph pedal assist only) are still allowed, making me worry about excessive speeds on the trail.

    It's unclear what NPS is trying to achieve here - a values judgment in favor of pedalers or just tilting at the windmill of "mopeds on the trail?" I use my throttle primarily to get going from a stop, but it's also fantastic way to catch a breeze in hot weather on my commute home in pants and tie. Speed is the primary issue on the trail, not whether a rider is pedaling, and I hope there won't be a rash of speeding Class 3s as a result of this rule.

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    Default Friends of the Mount Vernon Trail E-Bike Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by buschwacker View Post
    It's great to see this, but the ban of Class 2 ebikes (those limited to 20mph but which have a throttle as well as pedal assist) misses the mark. Meanwhile, Class 3 ebikes (limited to 28 mph pedal assist only) are still allowed, making me worry about excessive speeds on the trail.

    It's unclear what NPS is trying to achieve here - a values judgment in favor of pedalers or just tilting at the windmill of "mopeds on the trail?" I use my throttle primarily to get going from a stop, but it's also fantastic way to catch a breeze in hot weather on my commute home in pants and tie. Speed is the primary issue on the trail, not whether a rider is pedaling, and I hope there won't be a rash of speeding Class 3s as a result of this rule.
    I would guess that this is because some of the difficulty in differentiating a Class 2 being run entirely on throttle versus something thatís really an electric moped or motorcycle.

    The policy change is also NPS wide and Iím hearing from some public lands advocates that this policy will have a negative impact in places where bikes are permitted in non-paved areas.

    I donít think itís a values judgment. NPS is a conservative organization and changes slowly. As someone who is trying to make a lot of changes on the trail that I think will be great for users and the park, thatís sometimes frustrating. As someone who is glad that there are public lands and that NPS policies tend to work to preserve those lands, Iím appreciative of conservative policy changes.

    My impression is that if youíre using a Class 2 e-bike on the trail but youíre pedaling, no one is going to know that itís a Class 2.



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    Last edited by Judd; 09-13-2019 at 12:29 PM.

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    Thank you to everyone who has shared the Friends of the Mount Vernon Trailís e-bike survey. We have had 107 responses so far and are getting a fairly good mix of bikers, walkers and runners. Todayís responses bumped the number of female identifying respondents to 41% (it was at 25% yesterday). I appreciate you sharing on social media and with any groups youíre part of that may contain trail users.

    The survey will close at the end of the day on September 22nd. When the survey closes, weíll be using the results to inform a letter to the Superintendent of GWMP with our recommendation on how this policy should be incorporated in to the Directorís Compendium which are the rules for GWMP.

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1F...F9LCQ/viewform


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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    I would guess that this is because some of the difficulty in differentiating a Class 2 being run entirely on throttle versus something that’s really an electric moped or motorcycle.
    First of all, most class 2 also have pedal assist. The throttle is a boost, essential for people who need help.

    Second, what does it matter? the top speed isn't faster than the road bikes that are allowed so...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    First of all, most class 2 also have pedal assist. The throttle is a boost, essential for people who need help.

    Second, what does it matter? the top speed isn't faster than the road bikes that are allowed so...
    I understand Judd's argument and sympathize with NPS' rulemaking dilemma from an enforcement perspective - how should their rangers, already short staffed, be expected to differentiate between e-mopeds/motorcycles and ebikes at a glance for purposes of enforcement? Although this rule is imprecise, I suspect that it won't be enforced against Class 2 bikes so much as against homebrew builds and true mopeds, so I'm not very worried that I'll run afoul of the law by conscientiously riding my Class 2 on NPS trails.

    However, I think they've set themselves up for failure by allowing Class 3s on the trail. That's going to result in people zooming around at 28 mph, souring everyone on ebikes and maybe precipitating a crackdown or ban. That's my real worry - speed.
    Last edited by buschwacker; 09-17-2019 at 10:39 AM.

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    I have to disagree about the blanket statement that class 3 will result in everyone zooming around at 28.
    I ride a class 3 and I don’t ever hit 28 (unless gravity assisted on the big downhill on Curtiss by the 66 garage.) I stick to probably 15-17 on most of the MVT. Of course I don’t represent all ebikers. But as plenty of pedal bikers routinely bike above the posted trail limit of 15mph now, so too I suspect some ebike riders will choose to do so.
    But allowing class 3 doesn’t automatically make MVT a speedway...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChristoB50 View Post
    I have to disagree about the blanket statement that class 3 will result in everyone zooming around at 28.
    I ride a class 3 and I donít ever hit 28 (unless gravity assisted on the big downhill on Curtiss by the 66 garage.) I stick to probably 15-17 on most of the MVT. Of course I donít represent all ebikers. But as plenty of pedal bikers routinely bike above the posted trail limit of 15mph now, so too I suspect some ebike riders will choose to do so.
    But allowing class 3 doesnít automatically make MVT a speedway...
    The only way to settle this is to let me borrow your ebike for a while and see if I can get it up to 28. My memory of riding a class 3 was that thereís a diminishing assistance curve so getting it up to 28 requires a lot of effort.


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    Quote Originally Posted by buschwacker View Post
    I understand Judd's argument and sympathize with NPS' rulemaking dilemma from an enforcement perspective - how should their rangers, already short staffed, be expected to differentiate between e-mopeds/motorcycles and ebikes at a glance for purposes of enforcement? Although this rule is imprecise, I suspect that it won't be enforced against Class 2 bikes so much as against homebrew builds and true mopeds, so I'm not very worried that I'll run afoul of the law by conscientiously riding my Class 2 on NPS trails.

    However, I think they've set themselves up for failure by allowing Class 3s on the trail. That's going to result in people zooming around at 28 mph, souring everyone on ebikes and maybe precipitating a crackdown or ban. That's my real worry - speed.
    Good news: it appears that we misinterpreted NPS memo a bit and Class 2 will be permissible as long as they are being operated with pedal assist and not throttle mode.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Judd View Post
    Good news: it appears that we misinterpreted NPS memo a bit and Class 2 will be permissible as long as they are being operated with pedal assist and not throttle mode.


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    That's good news! Could you link a source?

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