Study: E-Bikes’ Place on Public Lands


By Charles Pekow — Now that e-bikes are becoming increasingly common on federal lands, we need to study their effects. The Federal Highway Administration recently released the first nationwide effort to do so.

It found that electric mountain bikes didn’t significantly affect natural surfaces more than conventional mountain bikes. The report notes that the conclusion reflects only one study and that more research is needed.

We also need to learn more about how e-bikes might disturb wildlife and cultural and historic resources, the study says.

On the plus side, the study says e-bikes “may serve as an effective alternative to motor vehicles and reduce tailpipe emissions; installing charging stations in public lands could power e-bikes using renewable energy sources.”

See The Future of E-Bikes on Public Lands: How to Effectively Manage a Growing Trend: Final Report at


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Charles Pekow is an award-winning Washington correspondent who has written about bicycling for years in publications such as the Washington Post, Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag, SPOKES, etc. as well as Cycling West/Cycling Utah. He also writes frequently on environmental issues and beer, among other topics. Weather permitting, you'll find him most weekends and some summer evenings astride a bicycle in a park. He is also a charter member of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.


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