E-bikes banned

Washington State Bans E-Bikes on Trails

Words Cam McRae
Date Mar 9, 2018

Washington State just passed legislation regulating e-bike use isn't exactly an outright ban. While the law states that e-bikes are not permitted on 'natural surface trails,' local land managers can decide to allow this use as they see fit.

The bill passed easily in both the State Senate and the House of Representatives and will be signed into law shortly by the Governor. Bill SB6434 does more than simply restrict the use of e-bikes to paved surfaces, it also puts e-bikes into three categories. Class 1 e-bikes are those limited to 20 mph that cannot be operated without assistance from the rider pedalling. Class 2 have the same speed restriction but can be operated with a throttle. Class 3 are pedal assist only but have a top speed of up to 28 mph. Other states, including California, use the same classification. The bill clears the way for class 1 and 2 bikes to be ridden on paved surfaces, barring restrictions from local jurisdictions. The full text of the bill can be seen here.

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill Ÿ Modifies the definition of electric-assisted bicycles and provides a classification system. Ÿ Requires a manufacturer or distributor of new electric-assisted bicycles to affix a label indicating the classification number, top assisted speed, and motor wattage. Ÿ Adjusts the minimum age required for operating different classes of electric- assisted bicycles. Ÿ Specifies where electric-assisted bicycles may be used.

An interesting element to the legislation is that it will require e-bikes to be prominently labelled as such with their class also front and centre. There will be no sneaking onto trails with your e-bike without risking vigilante resistance.

This bill was championed by both People For Bikes, who have pushed successfully for similar laws in 7 other States, and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. People For Bikes (in partnership with Bicycle Product Suppliers Association ) has produced a template for e-bike legislation that meshes closely with the new Washington regulations, with the exception of the natural surface portion. It appears that the EMBA pushed for the dirt restrictions in conjunction with other outdoor groups.


Here's what People For Bikes thinks about e-bike legislation in various states. In New York City e-bikes are banned entirely with police confiscating bikes and handing out $500 fines, despite it being legal to own an e-bike in New York State.

A motivating factor for the EMBA seems to be to clarify the definition of a bicycle so that mountain bikes don't get lumped in with e-bikes by land managers and banned from access as a result. The association seems to be pleased but they aren't hitting the couch just yet. In a statement the group concluded; 'It remains crucial to monitor the actual use and implementation of this legislation. While its passage ends the “free-for-all” e-bike use on roads and paved paths through regulation, there is still work to be done on how this relates to mountain biking, and we have concerns on how this bill defines “natural surface trails.”'

At this point I haven't heard any talk of legislation here in B.C. and thus far it seems like a solution looking for a problem, but pre-emptive action to provide clarity certainly has value as well.

Trending on NSMB


+7 Lynx . Vik Banerjee legbacon Mammal Greg Holland grambo Beau Miller Todd Hellinga Drinky Crow wrx Absolut-M Dan V Meister
Mrutter  - March 8, 2018, 11:45 p.m.

Hikers and dog walkers shouldn't have to deal with e-bikes. It's already hard enough to pass them safely on a trail without scaring the shit out of them while riding human powered bicycles uphill. The last thing we need are people riding up our climb trails on e-bikes. Stay the hell off Dreamweaver you lazy couch riders.


-10 fartymarty Absolut-M Jason Surridge Darryl Chereshkoff The Big Picture Meister Lynx . Vik Banerjee Mammal IslandLife Morgan Heater DoWorkChopper . Greg Holland Beau Miller OldSchooler legbacon PembyRocks Todd Hellinga Drinky Crow Joseph Crabtree Bogey wrx
dolomite  - March 9, 2018, 2:41 a.m.

this confirms how backward and MTB unfriendly the US is and always was. it‘s never been a „Mountain Bike Paradise“ with the „best trails in the World“.

the best mountainbike trails in the world are in the Dolomites, South Tyrol, parts of Austria, southern Germany - and tourism and locals participate equally.

Europe is where the mountainbike pioneers and scene have understood the potential of pedelec Trail, AM and Enduro mountainbikes (progressive/linear pedal assist up to 25 km/h) and accept it without hatred and narrow-mindedness.

no single rider has walked off a emtb without a smile in his/her face.

to all you cable car and shuttle users out there, with your big 4x4s shuttling your bikes to trailheads, do you think you are better?

And you Mrutter, have you ever technically climbed for 2 hrs on a eEnduro or AM, completely being wiped out at the end of the climb?

we do that here in the Alps on our eMTBs, riding about 250.000 Height Meters per Season.

I wish the eMTB community success in the US, Mountainbike is so much more than hatred and ignorance against us.

As for the landmanagers: from whom do they get paid from?

the state? the land owner? if they get paid by the state, it‘s your taxes they get paid from.

think about that.




+4 IslandLife Morgan Heater Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow The Big Picture
Mammal  - March 9, 2018, 8:12 a.m.

Not sure why you're comparing the needs of your riding area with the needs our ours. Apples and Oranges.


+7 Mammal IslandLife legbacon Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow Joseph Crabtree Merwinn Meister
Mrutter  - March 9, 2018, 8:15 a.m.

Hey Dolomite, 

I do not claim to be a race winning fitness buff. However, I certainly feel that any reasonably fit mountain biker should and likely does do 2 hours of technical climbing quite often with great enjoyment and minor strain. I also know riders well into their 70’s who ride human powered bicycles for hours on end. So, I’m really not sure where you are coming from saying that 2 hours of climbing on a bicycle is some great feat. Check in with some riders on Fromme or Seymour on a busy Saturday and I think you’ll find that most them are spending 3+ hours of fun, human powered, cycling.


+3 Morgan Heater OldSchooler Drinky Crow
Mammal  - March 9, 2018, 8:55 a.m.

"As for the landmanagers: from whom do they get paid from?"

That really depends on the area, and you can't assume they get paid. In the context of mountain biking areas, land managers can be the owners of the land themselves, or the volunteers of trail associations that are entrusted by the land owners to manage access and watch out for the best interest of the owners (who allow the trails to exist).


-2 DrSK The Big Picture Mammal Drinky Crow OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree
dolomite  - March 10, 2018, 7:10 a.m.

thank you. that‘s a great information. in the Alps, many if not most trails (outside of Bikeparks and Trail Centers) are managed and serviced by the Alpine Clubs. Some trails are maintained by staff of local tourism offices. Many of these trails reach back to 1800 century or even older (if they been used by smugglers or shepherds).

In Austria alone the Austrian Summit Club manages around 45000 km of trails, I have no info on Italy (CAI) or Germany (DAV). 

the Alps themselves are extremly dense populated, and have a lot of recreational area „pressure“. and of course a lot of national parks.

so far in the South Tyrol the transition from MTB to eMTB is quite smooth. people ride the same stuff they have been riding before, newbies stay on the fireroads.

same I hear from Austria or Germany.

I hope you find a good solution for the US, but from the development we have seen here, the drama will be over in one or two years.

pedelec eMTBs are here to stay and can be well integrated.


-3 Meister DrSK Bogey legbacon Mammal Beau Miller Drinky Crow OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree
Moritz Haager  - March 9, 2018, 10:01 a.m.

I agree. Pedal assist E-MTB (I don't know about throttle controlled  e bikes since I have never ridden one, but at least on the surface they seem to be more mini motorbikes than bicycles) has a place and brings many advantages to the table including serving as an equalizer for riders of varying fitness and age, providing a more environmentally responsible alternative to shuttling, making winter riding fun again and so on.  I do not own one, and I was totally biased in principle against them, until I rode one.  To anyone opposed to them rather than try and convince you through words I suggest to just go ride one. It fundamentally changes your views and opens your mind to its potential while allaying your fears of trail destruction etc.


-3 OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree Mammal
Meister  - March 11, 2018, 1:45 p.m.

Mrutter you sir are a closed minded nitwit. I hope the air up there where have your head stuck sufficates you. 

This is the type of attitude that keeps N.A. way behind the rest of the world.

And yes I am one of those that spend 2-3 hours riding around fromme and seymour plus the valley, in a word climbing sucks.


-8 Meister DrSK Lynx . Vik Banerjee legbacon Mammal IslandLife Morgan Heater Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow Dan V
Absolut-M  - March 9, 2018, 3:52 a.m.

IMBA's working hard to restrict trail access for bikes ... and now EMBA.  Is it me, or Bike associations leading the way for bike restrictions is a nonsens?


-5 The Big Picture Meister legbacon Mammal IslandLife Morgan Heater OldSchooler Drinky Crow Joseph Crabtree
dolomite  - March 9, 2018, 4:12 a.m.

Following the Developments in the US, it seems like this, yes.

As for the „International“ in the „IMBA“, in Europe they are almost non existent and the least helpful.

We can do very well w/o them and organize bike trails on state/local level.


+2 DrSK OldSchooler Endur-Bro Merwinn
The Big Picture  - March 11, 2018, 12:25 p.m.

In Canada IMBA has left a bad taste in most everyone's mouth. We don't need no wheel chair accessible trails here.

Even at our last club annual meeting the IMBA rep went to great lengths to distance them selves from the US branch


-5 Meister legbacon IslandLife Morgan Heater Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow
DrSK  - March 9, 2018, 5:16 a.m.

IMBA are losing credibility on this and it would help if they dropped ‘International’ from their name.

They are under mining advocacy in general which now includes pedal assust e-bikes which else where are classed as bikes.

And the stupid thing is every well thought out argument IMBA has mounted about trail impact for mtbs and how to manage them applies to pedal assist.

USA seems to be winding itself into an illogical fever over non-issues. Even on the road??? NYC confiscating ebikes???


-6 Meister DrSK Bogey Vik Banerjee legbacon IslandLife Morgan Heater grambo Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow Joseph Crabtree
dolomite  - March 9, 2018, 5:36 a.m.

what IMBA doesn't get (or do I see this wrong?): the more people mountainbike the better. eMTB is a great chance to get more people healthier, more people riding, less cost on our health system. In the age of obesity, playstation, drugs etc every kid or adult that we can get on a MTB be it E or not, is a valuable addition to a great experience on bicycles.

and if we are honest, Mountainbike has been (and will to a certain degree always be) a specialist sport.

As such it will never have a wide lobbying base if it continues to be so narrow-minded. 

eMTB will bring far more people to mountainbiking than ever before, from all ages, to all generations, to all use cases.

so IMBA (and other organizations) miss a great chance to widen their client base.

it already happens in Europe since 3-5 years. More and more people (and not  only die hard Specialists that understand the true potential of these bikes) switch to eMTB, or do both. it will forever change our sport - towards mainstream, and a huge user base - which can't be ignored any longer.

For those, considering themselves fun-free, tense, hardcore elite bikers - where mountainbiking is seen as something that just can not be fun, of course it's a psychological problem. but in the long term it won't. eMTB (pedelecs, limited to 25 km/h) will have it's equal place in our sport, more and more people will do it.

and that's good, since - again - it broadens our user base, giving us more voice to politicians etc.

I personally know some Mayors of villages, were classic single trail mountainbiking always was a bit of a problem (it was not official, we were like accepted but not official etc). since these guys ride eMTB on the weekend, it's all smiles, and the problems have become zero.

people having more fun in their lives usually don't argue that much. and riding eMTB is so much fun.

and to those politicians issuing laws that obligate NYC Police to confiscate eBikes - they are nuts.


+7 legbacon Mammal IslandLife Morgan Heater Greg Holland grambo Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow DrSK Dan V
Vik Banerjee  - March 9, 2018, 6:52 a.m.

Great news. Keep e-mopeds off the trails unless land managers decide they are appropriate for specific areas. This provides a good baseline of control and flexibility.

Now e-mopeders can do what every other distinct user group has done and start a dialogue with their local land managers and existing trail users to discuss access, provide a plan for what that looks like, how interactions with other user groups will be managed and how the additional trail use will be mitigated through maintenance.

This law doesn't say e-mopeding is not ever possible on trails it says it's saying it's prohibited until folks make a case locally to use an area.

I've been involved in MTB advocacy and yes it's a slow process that takes time and effort, but if done right in the end you have decent relationships with all the stakeholders and a plan in place that's sustainable for decades.


0 Dan V The Big Picture Meister legbacon Drinky Crow Mammal
DrSK  - March 9, 2018, 6:55 p.m.


Ironically where we are the guys that have donated close to $1m of time to mtb advocacy in the last 10 years all now ride pedal assist ebikes.

Every hurdle we faced resolving mountain bike access has the same solution as pedal assist ebikes with speed and torque limiting. This is why in most countries these ebikes are a non-issue and are classed as mountain bikes.

All the hate towards them from mountain bikers are for the same ignorant reasons hikers etc hated on us previously over the last 10-20 years of advocacy. Many mountain bikers have become the new hating ‘hikers’ and are hypocrites.

Anyone who has a go at us on an ebike cops it. The hater can lick our shoes to say thanks for the trail they are riding on.


-1 Meister DrSK Mammal Drinky Crow Joseph Crabtree
dolomite  - March 10, 2018, 7:16 a.m.

we do have some issues here in Europe mainly from MTBers that have not yet ridden pedal assist eMTBs (max 25 kph, max 250W Germany / 600W Austria etc), but in general the transition from classic to eMTB is already on its way and unstoppable.

Legislation here is at times a bit overwhelmed, but in general EU legislation is very eBike friendly, as not only the eMTB will lead to a massive change towards eMobility.

So there‘s not that much „drama“, and we wish you all the very best - we had the same trouble 35 years ago being accepted with Mountainbikes, done a lot for it, and this stupid eMTB hate from people who have never ridden one and have no idea what they are actually talking about, is unnecessary.


Clint Buzzworth  - Oct. 14, 2018, 10:42 p.m.

Well at least your comment is written without bias...just kidding.  You seem to know a lot about e-bikes (also just kidding) can you give me some first hand insight as to how they create any "actual" problems that differ from the problems created by licra covered elitists?

I get it.  Only you guys should enjoy the trails because they're yours and you saw them first...so there.  FYI this comment isn't just directed at you; it's directed at all of you who lobby against something you don't understand and probably have never done in the first place.  

They're not mopeds (I've actually owned one of those too and know the difference...first hand)...they are bikes that you pedal, the motor assists with your pedaling aiding you in things like climbing a hill (gasp)...if you stop pedaling guess what the bike does?...it stops...you know..just like on a "regular" bike.  

Additionally, I hope that none of you a brazen enough to attempt some sort of "vigilante trail justice" on some random guy trying to enjoy the outdoors too...and if you do, I hope that person gives you the respect and response that you truly deserve.


Matthew Wilkens  - April 22, 2021, 7:31 p.m.

Exactly, at the end of the day, they are still bikes. They also allow an aging population to get out and enjoy nature, without destroying what is left of their knees and dignity. At some point all the rabid anti ebikers will get old, and not all will be Mr. Universe in their 70’s.


+7 Vik Banerjee Mammal IslandLife Morgan Heater grambo Beau Miller OldSchooler Drinky Crow Joseph Crabtree Meister DrSK
legbacon  - March 9, 2018, 6:54 a.m.

This common sense legislation will hopefully inspire more of the same.  Motors are exactly where the line should be drawn on natural surface trails.


-2 OldSchooler Vik Banerjee
Cam McRae  - March 9, 2018, 10:50 a.m.

So no motos? ATVs?


+2 OldSchooler Vik Banerjee
JVP  - March 9, 2018, 11:32 a.m.

E-bikes are explicitly allowed on moto trails in this legislation.  E-bikes can be allowed on non-moto trails if a land manager so chooses.


-1 OldSchooler
Cam McRae  - March 11, 2018, 11:54 a.m.

Thanks. Missed the portion about moto trails first time around.


0 OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree Dan V Meister
legbacon  - March 10, 2018, 7:17 a.m.

If it has a motor it belongs on a motorized trail.


-8 DrSK Meister Mammal IslandLife Morgan Heater Vik Banerjee legbacon Todd Hellinga grambo Beau Miller OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree
bdole  - March 9, 2018, 8:13 a.m.

Definitely equates to protectionism and that shit never works out. Yeah, ban things that can straight up kill people (pollutants, guns, etc) but this ain't going to make regular MTBs any more accepted. Now the people who don't like MTBs to begin with will never be inclined to try an eMTB and perhaps change their view on the subject of trail access. Slowly the MTB trail access will be whittled away because you all only have a small contingent of "hardcore" riders to speak up and who hate compromise. Great job you lot of grumpy gusses...


+1 Bogey
Niels  - March 9, 2018, 8:16 a.m.

Weirdest part of the bill: "Class 1 and 2 electric-assisted bicycles may be used on a sidewalk" ?!?


Dan V  - March 11, 2018, 12:43 a.m.

Laws regarding riding bicycles on the sidewalk are so whack all around the world. No real standard. Allowed on crowded Los Angeles and Japanese city sidewalks, not allowed on sidewalks in other areas. *shrug*


+11 Mammal JVP Morgan Heater Vik Banerjee Cam McRae Todd Hellinga Andrew Major grambo OldSchooler Andy Eunson AlanB
babyzhendo  - March 9, 2018, 8:25 a.m.

e-bikes work for some and not for others. I'm in the latter camp, but I also understand people wanting to use them. I happen to also think that they pose a massive risk to sustainable access rights for the mountain bike community, but I will try to stay as objective as possible here.

Full transparency, I am an instructor for Evergreen here in Washington. I do not pretend to represent the organization's views nor do I have a right to claim that I do, but I am fully on board with the legislation that they have been supporting, especially given our local climate here in WA.

Mountain biking has been exploding here in recent years, and Evergreen has been at the forefront of the construction of new world-class trails. For those of you that have ridden or heard of the trails on Tiger Mountain just outside of Seattle, Evergreen is the sole reason those exceptional trails exist in the form that they do today.

We are fortunate to have places like Tiger that are on DNR land. We are also fortunate to have places like Tokul, Galbraith, and others that are on privately owned (or leased) logging land. Access to the privately owned land can be precarious, and that is the primary reason that I think we need to take this e-bike debate with a slow, steady hand.  Call me paranoid, but I can imagine land owners who have granted access to horses and bikes in the past seeing other trail systems grappling with e-bikes, and shuttering trail access to their trails entirely for not wanting to deal with the grey area.

I think the title of the article may be a bit inflammatory, and is probably the cause of a lot of these negative comments that appear not to understand the article or what has actually been done. e-bikes are not banned by the legislation - they must be given permission by land managers to be ridden. If land managers do not want to open their doors to e-bikes, that is their choice. While that sucks for e-bike riders, it protects the access rights of other trail users while we grapple with this introduction of new motorized bikes out onto the trails.


+2 Vik Banerjee Todd Hellinga
Mammal  - March 9, 2018, 8:35 a.m.

Thanks for the well thought out comment. Although land access and liability laws are slightly less precarious in BC, the explosion of popularity and trail maintenance issues are just as real. 

I think it's extremely logical for the groups responsible for trail development/maintenance to be able to manage what type of access they permit. It's not a ban, it's a case-by-case decision.


0 Mbcracken OldSchooler
Cam McRae  - March 9, 2018, 10:52 a.m.

I hear you which is why these were the first lines of my article:

"Washington State just passed legislation regulating e-bike use isn't exactly an outright ban. While the law states that e-bikes are not permitted on 'natural surface trails,' local land managers can decide to allow this use as they see fit."

You can only get so much into a headline!


+1 Cam McRae
babyzhendo  - March 9, 2018, 1:24 p.m.

Yep I saw your line there - seems some others may have missed it though and been caught with a knee-jerk reaction to the title. I in no way meant that as a jab at your writing, you covered the bases.


+1 The Big Picture
OldSchooler  - March 9, 2018, 4:01 p.m.

Your headline was misleading clickbait.  Fox news would be proud.  To put it mildly.  

The actual article is pretty good.


Dan V  - March 11, 2018, 1:02 a.m.

Clickbait working, based on all the comments. Don't normally see so many comments, some scored +/- 8. With all these controversial topics, the gossipy types are coming out and it's making NSMB look more tabloid-like.


+2 The Big Picture DrSK
Cam McRae  - March 11, 2018, 12:18 p.m.

Take a look at anything we have ever posted about e-bikes and you'll see a similar response (but perhaps you are new since you joined March 8th?). It stirs people up. 

Considering the default is a ban, the title is accurate and to add "local land managers can craft rules that allow e-bikes" doesn't fit. Not only that, when you create a law that requires Land Managers to opt in to something that is both unpopular with many groups and that will create more headaches for them, the result is a de facto ban. If the same legislation was created for mountain bikes we would consider it a ban because action is needed by bureucrats to provide access. And I would bet a bottle of Stan's that little will have been changed by local land managers a year from now. 

We have never shied away from controversial topics and we don't plan to in the future. The fact that there have been two such issues recently was not our doing but our coverage hasn't veered from our usual editorial standard. A difference from most issues we discuss is that in both cases there are generally two distinct opinions about each issue and there are many people who get hot under the collar about them. With the Vista situation it also seems that there was a coordinated effort by those who don't normally visit our site, particularly on FB, to discredit anyone writing about the issue.

Several of our competitors have decided that neither of these issues is important to their audience, or that they would rather avoid controversy. That's absolutely a legitimate way to run an enthusiast sports publication but we prefer to deal with issues that pertain to our readers, even when the possibility of alienating a portion or our audience exists. 

Thanks for engaging in this discussion respectfully.


+10 Mammal Morgan Heater Vik Banerjee legbacon Todd Hellinga grambo Beau Miller OldSchooler Merwinn ExtraSpecialandBitter
Znarf  - March 9, 2018, 8:38 a.m.

@Dolomite - e-lobbying across the big pond, eh?

I live in Southern Germany (and manage and build a legal trail system here) and I travel a lot with my mountain bike, all over Europe and have spent quite a bit of time in BC and North America as well, biking. 

Just for the record, I disagree with several of your "conclusions" and "facts".

1. the Dolomites, parts of Austria and South Tyrol DONT have THE best trails in the world.  There are great trails in these regions, but that is true for a lot of regions. I don´t know if you´ve ridden all regions world wide a lot, but if you don´t, you just can´t speak of "world´s best".

2. E-Bikes and trail access are absolutely not without trouble (in Europe) and I for example have certainly NOT understood the potential of E-Bikes the way you have. I however understand that there´s a boat load of POSSIBLE trouble.  

3. As with guns, not E-bikes kill trails, but some people riding them ;-) I´ve experienced douchebag non-e-bike behaviour on trails over the last twenty years. And I´ve experienced douchebag e-bike behaviour on trails. If you have physical ability as a selecting factor (only dedicated people get to 6000ft mountain tops self propelled) there´s a humbling element. Lazy people just don´t go there a lot. And if you´ve climbed LOADS you just don´t argue. You sit there and nibble your energy bar and some water, content with little stuff.

Add a motor though and things get ugly. I KNOW - riding an e-bike can be very exhausting. And absolutely not everyone who rides one is lazy or a douchebag. In fact, there´s no reason that regular mtbers are douchebags, too. And in lift or shuttle assisted riding areas the douchebag factor is higher as well. But suddenly every "regular" tough climb is not as strenuous as before. You´ll have e-bikers speeding climbing trails. And some who don´t. But what´s the point of lugging 5kgs of motor and battery and NOT speed? You could just ride a regular bike...

Yeah - you can rack five times as much elevation a year with your e-bike. But know what? I could multiply that with my car. And could even do it in the rain, without getting wet. In fact - I could do it with a bike on my roof rack. =)

To be fair, as long as you ride your e-bike responsibly, I couldn´t care less if you ride e or non-e. Have fun and enjoy yourself. But just to give the Canadians here a second, non-e opinion I thought I´d contrast your pro-e-bike european opinion with a european non-e-opinion...


-6 DrSK Mammal Beau Miller OldSchooler Vik Banerjee legbacon DCLee Joseph Crabtree
dolomite  - March 9, 2018, 10:26 a.m.

dear znarf,

I‘ve been travelling the world within for the bike industry for about 15 years (events, worldcup, product launches), and have seen a lot of countries and trails, yes. 10 years alone frequently to the US. 

now outside the industry, but I still enjoy wonderful trails and ride them responsible. I do care for trails as well in our Dolomite region, I‘ve moved to the Brenta region many years ago.

what trouble are you talking of?

more people riding bikes and getting healthy? great. our public health system will be fine.

more people riding trails? so what. we have so many trails and 10-20% of eMTB riders actually ride trails (optimistic version).

eMTBs destroying trails? just two interesting numbers:

a rear wheel skidding impacts a trail with around 5000W energy.

a eMTB rider riding upwards, impacts a trail with around 1000W.

I feel we have mouch more trouble with the current generation of Single Trail riders (grown up in bikeparks) that shred alpine trails, destroying them. instead of riding them carefully and with good braking skills.

I am in the Tourism sector since years, and I talk to a LOT of landowners here, and am well connected with tourism and trail network clusters in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Germany. 

Yes, we will see more people riding bikes trough eMTB (if it works for a person, for others it works not), and that‘s a good thing.

How in the world could we MTB people be so arrogant to think we decide where eMTB riders are „allowed“ to ride and which trails. that is BS.

I am riding trails since the 80ies, and I‘ve seen a few trails and countries, and met so many wonderful people on 2 knobby tires.

I strongly believe we, the riders will get trough all this drama, and MTB and eMTB will finally coexist peacefully.

As for the Dolomites: I know a few epic rides there I have not seen elsewhere.

Cheers to Bavaria


0 OldSchooler Perry Schebel DrSK Mammal
Peter Leeds  - March 9, 2018, 5:13 p.m.

Rear wheel skidding is downhill.  Going uphill does not skid.   Your comparison is BS.  What is the energy on an ebike skidding for equal comparison (it is heavier thus more energy).

You are going to lose this debate.  

I think ebikes are bad news and will only allow people to unjustly earn the "up" portion for the downhill that only contributes to further and faster erosion.  Moreover, I suspect ebike riders are most likely not "committed" types that understand riding or are skilled at it.  These types scare me the most  since they are most likely not prepared for the riding, expecting what is involved......

Europe and North America are two entirely different beasts, and over here, by and large, most real riders don't like them or approve of them.  

The biggest problem for me, is that to a neophyte whom buys an ebike thinking it will make things easier getting up will realize, often the hard way, it does NOTHING to help on the downhill, where the skill, effort, fitness and ancillary factors that are EARNED are not gained on an ebike.  These people are more likely to skid (with your wrong comparison previously noted), braid, ride improperly and give real bikers a bad name.  If you can't get up, you most likely can't go down, for me.  

To me, an outright ban is what I want to see.  Since the power factor of the ebike is not regulated, what is to stop full MX bikes that are full electric from bike trails?  What is the difference if the only difference is whether the bike is electric assist, electric or pedal only?  The duty here is to stomp it out now before it gets any steam.  

For anyone whom works on trails, imagine on Fromme, say, where an ebike could do 3 laps to the pedal riders one simply on the no effort going up.  That is 3 times the wear, erosion on a trail that it could normally hold.  Want a good example of this (a trail overridden due to overexposure).....CBC on Seymour.  Shuttle only, everyone did it to start...got ridden way too much relative to what it could support.  Imagine this on ANY trail if the portion of ebikes was 50% to pedal bikes.  No thanks.


+2 legbacon Mammal
Vik Banerjee  - March 9, 2018, 5:31 p.m.

"How in the world could we MTB people be so arrogant to think we decide where eMTB riders are allowed“ to ride and which trails. that is BS."

MTBers don't get to decide where e-mopeders are allowed. Law makers and land managers get to decide that. MTBers like every other member of the public get to have an opinion and express it to the decision makers.


+4 Morgan Heater Vik Banerjee Todd Hellinga OldSchooler
JVP  - March 9, 2018, 9:04 a.m.

The headline of the article is a bit salacious.  E-MTB aren't banned, they're regulated, which Cam readily notes.  Folks, read the article, which is accurate.  Prior to this, there wasn't any definition of what an e-bike was in Washington, so it was a free-for-all, mostly on paved commuter paths. Maybe it was illegal, maybe it wasn't.

With the legislation, any jurisdiction can decide to open their trails to e-MTB use, if they see fit.  As things are now, it doesn't kick e-bikes off of any trails where they were allowed, at least that I'm aware of.  Both federal and WA State forests hadn't allowed e-MTB on non-moto trails prior to this. 

There's a lot more nuance to this than may meet the eye. Ongoing efforts to gain (or maintain) trail access are now easier than if blanket e-MTB access was a perceived threat to certain conservation groups. Grants for non-motorized trails are still in play, which would have been a huge question. Losing those grants would have ground new trail development to a halt.

There are huge and world-class trails systems that are actively threatened. Kettle Crest is one example, and there are more coming in the Central Cascades. Really any trail system that is in a Wilderness study area is actively at risk - it's a messed up system, but that's another story for another day.  This takes the e-bikes everywhere argument off the table for the anti-bike crowd.

For the anti e-MTB crowd, this keeps them from being everywhere.  For the pro e-MTB crowd, this gives land managers a framework to allow them. Case-by-case decisions seem reasonable to me, and give land managers more flexibility than an overly-prescriptive law that isn't written with enough flexibility for each use case.


+1 Beau Miller Drinky Crow OldSchooler
Cam McRae  - March 9, 2018, 10:58 a.m.

It remains to be seen what the outcomes of this will be, and indeed what sort of proliferation of e-bikes we'll see in North America which is an argument for caution.


+4 JVP Mammal Todd Hellinga Beau Miller Vik Banerjee Dan V
Niels  - March 9, 2018, 11:13 a.m.

The bill says "a person may not operate an electric-assisted bicycle on a trail that is designated as nonmotorized and that has a natural surface". So it doesn't ban e-bikes from trails where motors are already permitted.


+2 Beau Miller OldSchooler
JVP  - March 9, 2018, 11:29 a.m.

Thanks Niels, beat me to it, e-bikes are explicitly allowed on moto trails. 

If follow-up legislation is required, it will be lobbied for, though I'm not sure it's needed.  We'll see. This was primarily a commuter focused bill, but the distinction between MTB and roadies needed to be made so that new trail development doesn't grind to a halt due to politics or grant restrictions.


-1 Lowcard Bogey Vik Banerjee OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree
DrSK  - March 9, 2018, 7:08 p.m.

Seems mental putting ebikes on moto trails when they ride like and have much the same speeds as a mtb.

Complete mismatch of user groups and speeds putting 250W speed and torque limited mountain bikes on moto trails.


+1 Vik Banerjee Mammal OldSchooler DrSK Bogey
JVP  - March 9, 2018, 10:32 p.m.

Some of our best high country mountain biking has always been on lightly used moto trails. Been like this since mountain bikes were invented. 

Oh, and in North America the e-bikes are up to 750 watts per the laws being passed in most states, including WA.  The Specialized Levo is close to 750 watts.

0 Bogey OldSchooler
DrSK  - March 10, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

JVP- yeah right a Levo is 750W? Must have been hacked.

Specs are 250W and there’s no way my Kenevo is 750W

+1 OldSchooler
JVP  - March 10, 2018, 4:32 p.m.

I was going off this, and other reports similar to it:  https://electricbikereview.com/forum/threads/tested-turbo-levo-watt-output-surprising-results.14452/

Specs on the Levo page say 250 watts nominal, which isn't particularly meaningful.  Regulations are concerned about maximum wattage.  The Levo is perfectly legal, the new regulation allows for 750 watts max here in WA.

I stand by my assertion that this is good legislation that keeps land managers in control of their trails. They can allow e-bikes on non-moto trails if they want, and some will. It's not a ban.

-2 OldSchooler Joseph Crabtree
DrSK  - March 11, 2018, 6:04 a.m.

JVP, the numbers don’t add up unless they are measuring very short term spikes that are hardly representative of a full crank.

Smashing full turbo climbing and sprinting on single track we get 2hrs from a 500Wh battery. Which gives 250W. At 750W that would only be 40minutes.

A normal ride is 4.5-5.5hrs, 1000m of vertical and up to 55km.

750W sounds like a hacked bike if it is sustained.

Cam McRae  - March 11, 2018, 12:23 p.m.

Yep. Thanks. Missed that.


-4 legbacon OldSchooler Vik Banerjee Drinky Crow
DangerousDave  - March 9, 2018, 10:11 a.m.

I think there is a strong case for pedal assist mtbs for those with disabilities or of older age. An outright ban hits those people the hardest, but I understand why there is apprehension and agree that it's important to protect trail access. In an ideal world, you could create a permit system so that those who needed them could still access the trails, but this might not be practical.


+2 Mammal Vik Banerjee
jcook90  - March 9, 2018, 10:37 a.m.

Evergreen's probably just worried some inexperienced out-of-shape tourist is going to effortlessly make their way to the top of Tiger on an ebike and decide that Predator sounds like fun.

and to the commmentor who used IMBA and Evergreen in the same sentence, that's somewhat of an insult....


0 Vik Banerjee legbacon DrSK Dan V
grambo  - March 9, 2018, 1:20 p.m.

So happy to see this, well done! Ebikes belong on motorized trails (or they can form their own advocacy and trail building groups and construct and manage their own trails).

They DO NOT belong on mountain bike trails and especially not on multi use trails! Extremely dangerous!


-4 Dan V Vik Banerjee legbacon OldSchooler grambo Mammal
DrSK  - March 9, 2018, 7:20 p.m.

Ironic that the bulk of our mountain bike advocates here over the last 10-20 years now ride 250W pedal assist ebikes as well as normal bikes.

If anyone gives me lip about riding my ebike they can lick my shoes to say thanks for the trail they are riding on.

I’ve already lost $8k in leave without pay since November last year doing advocacy for a DH track and a new bike park.

Your comments were about as sensible as saying DHers should form different advocacy groups to Enduro and ebikes. Same riders on a different day and bike but on mostly the same trails. The world of mountain biking just has a new class of rig, one with an in-built shuttle system, I haven’t shuttled since getting a Kenevo.


-5 Lowcard Vik Banerjee legbacon Mammal Drinky Crow OldSchooler grambo
kijan  - March 10, 2018, 6 a.m.

Everybody who shouts out against pedal assist mtb has never ridden one. Get and check one out. Your mind will change suddenly. If they get banned now, the future of the sport gets banned as I do believe one day everyone will ride one.

The problem you discuss is trail access in general, not pedal assist or not.


+4 Perry Schebel OldSchooler grambo Mammal
Todd Hellinga  - March 10, 2018, 9:14 a.m.

actually, many of us have ridden them and it really hasn't changed our opinion that they're a new user type that requires different management approaches, which for those in advocacy means even more work than we're already doing rep'ing our non-moto mtb clubs. They're suitable in certain places and certain trails, and not suitable in others. Here in Whistler we have a number of heavily used mixed use areas with already tenuous situations between mtb's and hikers, other non-moto user groups have already tried to tie non-moto mtbs to e-bikes in attempts to sway opinions in favour of further restrictions on ALL bikers. it is an issue whether the e proponents want to admit it or not.


-2 Lowcard OldSchooler grambo Mammal
DrSK  - March 10, 2018, 3:12 p.m.

Our group has done advocacy for 20 years. I’m 10 years in. 

Pedal assist 250W ebikes (eg Levo/Kenevo) seem to be a non-issue once we have had the senior managers from the land owners etc ride them.

Any argument we have presented in the last 20 years for mountain biking applies equally to this class of ebike.

The only issue is the impact of the track and managing user conflict. So far track impacts so far seem less than XC bikes on climbing trails. Descending, the motor etc isn’t a factor. Nor is the extra 10kg. If I wear a pack or not is 5kg difference. Our lightest rider is 30kg less than our heaviest. I’m fit and one 55yo on his ebike weighs less than me without a bike. And ebikes weigh the same as the first DH bike I rode in early 2000s.

The only potential for user conflict is catching slower riders on the way up. Although on techy climbs ebikes are about the same as a quick rider. On steep 4wd tracks climbing at max speed of 25km/h is hardly an issue given the width of the track.

For hikers it’s the same as a mountain bike.

Get your land managers and government policy decision makers out on one ASAP. It will firstly blow their mind as to what riding is all about, and show them an ebike is just a mountain bike that’s easier to ride up hill.

As far as we’re concerned anything that gets more people riding is great for advocacy and applying pressure on government for more access to all.

We previously had to put a lot of effort into stopping XC riders hating on DHers which was fracturing advocacy and giving mixed messages to government. United we have made progress. Fracturing riding again isn’t supported by an evidence on the ground and will only serve to undermine riding for all.

The easy argument being created for those opposing riding in general is to pick up on the evidence that there is no difference between the likes of Levo/Kenevo and a mountain bike. Then use the positions of the anti-ebike riders as evidence they are hypocrites and push to ban all riding. When this happens you will already be in a weaker position from alienating ebikers and limiting the overall recreation of mountain biking.


+1 The Big Picture DrSK OldSchooler
Lowcard  - March 10, 2018, 9:10 a.m.

There is a lot of ignorance in these comments.

I have an ebike and its great. I also have a regular mountain bike. My ebike is just an efatbike but its usefulness is outstanding. I use it for exploring, and will use it for trail building and commuting this summer. As a tool for accessing trail building spots, there is nothing better.

Ebikes go uphill faster. That's it. They do not descend any faster. I'm speaking about pedelec which is the only type of ebike I know.

The notion that ebikes will cause more trail damage is both silly and ironic, considering those are same argument put forth by hikers against us. Its based on ignorance.

I will probably go with a pedelec enduro type bike in the next few years as my primary mountain bike.

The only real issue I have with ebike users is that it allows for people to climb dh trails easier. But, with proper signage, I think that can be largely mitigated. There are also throttle control ebikes that blur the line between dirtbike and mountain bike, and I believe are open to discussion on banning trail access.


-1 OldSchooler DrSK Lowcard
Drinky Crow  - March 10, 2018, 12:40 p.m.

Sounds like there's some industry hacks promoting their product here.


-2 DrSK OldSchooler
Lowcard  - March 10, 2018, 1:45 p.m.

Is that referencing me? Because we do not make nor plan to make anything for the ebike market


-1 OldSchooler
Dan V  - March 11, 2018, 12:07 a.m.

From the bill: "Generally, a person may not operate an electric-assisted bicycle on a trail that is designated as nonmotorized and that has a natural surface, unless otherwise authorized by the state agency or local authority having jurisdiction over the trail."

Without making assumptions, please give me an example of a trail that's designated as nonmotorized. I'm under the impression that natural surface trails aren't designated as nonmotorized by default, and must be declared so specifically and formally.

> In New York City e-bikes are banned entirely with police confiscating bikes and handing out $500 fines, despite it being legal to own an e-bike in New York State.

NY State law classifies self-propelled e-bikes as "motorized scooters". Pedal assist bikes are fine. See story from NYC ebiker. https://youtu.be/HTf9nWJHo-I?t=373


-1 DrSK OldSchooler Merwinn
The Big Picture  - March 11, 2018, 12:13 p.m.

So much for the land of the free. Every little rule takes a little freedom from someone. In Washington WA. they wasted little time in removing still more freedom.

I know many young and fit mountain bikers have little respect for electric bikes, yet they will be 80 someday and like a little help to ride hills that were easier in their younger years.


+1 DrSK
Merwinn  - March 12, 2018, 11:53 a.m.

Yes, kids will know what age feels like one day and remember laws typically exist not for the reasonable majority, but for the ignorant minority.


+1 DrSK
Dan V  - March 12, 2018, 2:02 p.m.

Laws exist to protect the egos of the groups holding most power. Groups form to address insecurity. Insecurity is often driven by hopelessness and fear of loss. Fear of loss includes the loss of your beliefs. Hopelessness comes from the lack of power.

The more you show power, perhaps through reason, the more you strengthen these groups and the more they realize their own power as a group. Even if their belief is proven to be a lie, they are given purpose and see you as an enemy.

Sometimes showing that they have something greater to lose, they may see you still as an enemy, but will accept a lose-lose situation just to spite you as an enemy, to satisfy their ego.

IMO, just vote with your money. In the end, that's the power that counts most. Do what you usually do when you can't stand the issues with sharing: buy your own. Pool together money to buy land, dictating things that allow you to practice your own freedom.


+1 OldSchooler
Disruptive  - March 11, 2018, 5:18 p.m.



Matthew Korwel  - Feb. 24, 2019, 4:54 p.m.

Following up a little late but i just don't get all the hate.

I go to Duthie, Tiger, Tokul etc. If i have 2 hours after work on a Wednesday and can make 2 laps at tiger on my non ebike, or get 3 or even 4 on a class 1 pedal assist, like rad man. The goal is to have fun.  I get the juice of a hard climb. But the down is a lot more fun.  

Like, anyone who's shaved weight off their bike with expensive parts to make it easeer to pedal.... or rides the lift up at Stevens... 

Why fight what's clearly the future? Especially since there seems to be zero appreciable facts supporting any bad outcomes from eMTB's (trail damage, user interaction). 

Think smarter, not harder Brah.


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