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Electric bikes in national Forrest?
Does anyone know if it's legal to use an electric bike in national Forrest during hunting season in Montana? What about BLM land (or is that the same as national Forrest?)? My hunch is that you can use them to ride trails during the year but they disallow access at a certain point in the year. Usually we just hike our asses off but those bikes look pretty sweet.
they are allowed anywhere you can drive or take a four-wheeler in most Forests
From what I understand is you can use them anywhere you can use a regular bike on NF.
I think this is thread no.394 on the topic.
Go to the Montana thread.
Yes, you can use these bikes on roads where ATV's can go. You can not use them on gated trails where they've banned motorized vehicles. Word is also they are replacing the "no motorized" signs with "no mechanical". Which would ban bicycles of all types.
"From what I understand is you can use them anywhere you can use a regular bike on NF." FALSE They are not allowed on non motorized trails and roads for both NF and BLM. It's easy to find the NF and BLM regulations on the web.
I was going to get one,,,,,, but I checked with the Forest Service, they told me straight out, if the road is gated, or bermed, the fine is 165.00 Now that is in Wis and the UP,,,,,,,,
There is at least one Montana forest district that has recently posted their ebike policy on their web site. I would check with the specific district you plan to hunt.
For now they are restricted to trails open to ATVs in NF and BLM. However, in some NFs they are running pilot programs on nonmotorized trails to measure the impact. The USFS Regional Trails Supervisor in my district told me he believes Class 1 and 2 assist bikes should be permitted wherever other pedal bikes are allowed (like the CO State law) but said the "wheels turn slowly" in DC. He also said he didn't know of any citations ever being issued for riding assist bikes on closed-gated roads or non-wilderness single track trails. Last summer I encountered 9 different USFS people while riding on gated roads. I was willing to risk $185 just to find out what they would do. Nobody ever said anything besides how cool they seemed, and one supervisor suggested other closed roads we should ride.
Here we go again... Hold My Beer!
They are legal anywhere that motorcycles are allowed. They are illegal anywhere motorcycles are not allowed. It's pretty simple really.
And they go the same illegal places motorcycles and ATVs go.
Just quieter :)
Brad, I get that and agree. That's why I didn't go anywhere I wasn't supposed to after the first couple test runs in early summer. There are plenty of great legal access trails around here.. ;)
Lou, for sure.
But many people are missing that fact that there is plenty of illegal use of ATVs and motorcycles in NF. That part isnt new.
What's new on the scene is the Ebikes.
Down here, if you're behind a gated road with an ebike, you're gonna get in trouble. Because the roads here are gated till mid May and closed to motorized travel, the Rangers and Fish and Game watch very good for turkey season.
In Arizona, in the preserve in Scotsdale, they are illegal. Even though bikes are allowed on the trails, ebikes aren't. And those people down there turn you in in a heart beat. I thought of getting one last year cause of the four mile hike to get to glassing points. Checking into it, I found you couldn't use them.
Where things got confusing here is when CO passed a law declaring Class 1 and 2 assist bikes as "not motorized" and legal to ride wherever regular bikes and hikers can go. They are allowed in State Parks, State Forest, County open space, State Trust wildlife areas, etc... Many of these legal areas are huge and overlap or adjoin with NF in places. I have yet to see a USFS sign on a gate or a printed trailhead regulation saying "No Ebikes", so there's a lot of confusion from people who believe they are legal per state law.
For example, in one big State Wildlife Area where we like to ride, the trails go in and out of NF with no signage delineating different ownership, so technically we can be legal, then hardened criminals, then law abiding citizens again as we pedal along the trail. No one from the USFS will tell me if we become legal by shutting off the assist and simply pedaling the bike through the NF part like a regular fat bike. I would like to get a ticket to test it, but nobody in our big Ranger District seems to care.
Here's another one: USFS sometimes erects gates or berms and closes vehicle entry to otherwise legal roads and trails that are accessible from elsewhere. The vehicle entry point may be 5 miles up the ATV trail from a different county road. So on one side of the gate, motor vehicles (and assist bikes) are legal. On the other side of the gate they are legal too. Hikers and conventional bikes can legally go around the gates or over the berms and ATV riders can come right up to the gate and turn around from the other side.
No one can tell me if we are legal by turning off and walking our assist bikes around the gate, or even removing the battery and simply pedaling our "regular bikes" around it, because the sign on the gate says "No Motor Vehicle Access". With no assist, it's just a bicycle. Yesterday on our 20 mile ride, the assist was off most of the time because we wanted a workout (and pedaling a 50 lb fat bike will sure give that...) So it was "motorized", then it wasn't, then it was again.
This is all evolving, and like the Regional USFS Supervisor believes, eventually the USFS will figure out that Class 1 (assist-only, no coasting throttle) are not a threat to the resource, not "motorcycles", and their policies for managing "assist bikes" vs. true "e-bikes" (Class 3) will evolve as well. CO and some other states just got ahead of the Feds on this issue.
Here is my opinion. All road and trail closures are done by an order from a proper authority. Usually that is the Forest Supervisor on a National Forest. Gates and berms mean nothing if there is no legal order that goes with it. That often happens. Go to the Ranger Station and ask to see the list of legal road closures. You may be in for a big surprise. Signs are not where they are supposed to be, and some have been taken by some resourceful hunter and located where they want it. The crazy part is that many Forest Service employees don't know the legal status of a road, and will say just what they think. Drive any road that does not have a sign. Drive any road that has no legal closure order to go with a sign. Fire season could be an interesting situation. Often the closure applies to motorized vehicles with spark emitting engines. Since an E-bike does not have one, you should be able to use it where not legally prohibited otherwise.
Well yesterday, I think my mind was changed.... I talked to a forester, who was transferred to the Ottawa, from CO...... I said, what do you think? he was marking trees..... He said, I would not worry about it, for what your going to use it for, no one is going to bother you....... He came here because he wanted to fish the Great Lakes and he was from Marquette.....
He said, this isn't "Boulder", I would not worry about being bothered.....