What They Are Saying – National Park Service Announces Policy for Electric Bicycle Use in National Parks

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Washington - On August 30, the National Park Service announced a new electric bicycle (e-bike) policy for national parks, expanding recreational opportunities and accessibility. The policy supports Secretary’s Order 3376, signed by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt on August 29, that directs Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department. The policy also supports Secretary’s Order 3366 to increase recreational opportunities on public lands.

IN CONGRESS: 

“I applaud the Trump administration and Secretary Bernhardt for this initiative to make our national park system more accessible with e-bikes.  This policy will allow more people to experience these national treasures, including the beautiful and historic National Park Service sites in Mississippi.” - U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.)

“Bicycles are a great and healthy way to enjoy our national parks. The new e-bike policy will make it possible for more visitors to take advantage of our wonderful national park system.” - Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04)

“Over nine million people traveled to visit Tennessee’s 12 national parks last year, and thanks to today’s announcement that electric bicycles will be more readily available for visitors, I am hopeful that even more folks will be able to tour these 12 historic treasures – and all of our national parks – with increased ease. Expanding current regulations to include e-bikes as a means of transportation for individuals with disability or age restrictions is a thoughtful and forward thinking approach. I applaud the efforts of Secretary Bernhardt to ensure all outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty our nation has to offer.” - Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN-03)

“Because of the Interior Department’s new policy, more Americans will be able to enjoy the beauty of the United States national parks. It’s wonderful that more people, even with certain disabilities, will have access to more of our nation’s beauty first hand. This new electric bicycle (e-bike) policy will increase recreational opportunities and accessibility throughout this country’s federal lands, though the rules are not changing in wilderness areas. Local communities should take advantage of this opportunity to collaborate with the DOI to determine best practices and guidance for the e-bike use in their parks, increasing tourism in those areas as well.” - Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-01)

“Secretary Bernhardt should be applauded for consistently expanding access to American public lands. Outdoor recreation is a huge driver of our economy, and this welcomed policy change is a big win for Arizona and the entire outdoor community.” - Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04)

“Health benefits of bicycling can now be enjoyed by more visitors in our national parks, including those with physical challenges, assisted by using an E-Bike. I applaud the decision by Secretary Bernhardt to allow equal access, and hope to see E-Bikes on some of Minnesota’s 4,000 miles of beautiful bike trails.” - Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01)

IN THE PRESS: 

News 5 Cleveland (TV): New policy allows E-bikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Akron Beacon Journal: You can now ride e-bikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cleveland.com: Now you can ride an electric bicycle in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, thanks to a change announced Friday in a nationwide policy. You can also try out an e-bike for free Thursday at an event showcasing the change at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Peninsula Depot. Speaking there will be Rob Wallace, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the U.S. Interior Department. Cuyahoga Valley spokesperson Pamela Barnes said her park was picked for the showcase because its Towpath Trail draws many bicyclists. Also, the Cuyahoga Valley has already put the new policy into effect, ahead of some other parks, though hers and others are still working out some details... Last Friday, Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith of the National Park Service, said of e-bikes, “They make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, and they provide an option for people who want to ride a bicycle but might not otherwise do so because of physical fitness, age, disability, or convenience, especially at high altitudes or in hilly or strenuous terrain.”

OHIO.comEddy’s Bike Shop owner Jimmy Ruggles rides an e-bike 45 miles each way to the Stow shop his grandfather started nearly 80 years ago. “I can sit in traffic on 271 for an hour, or I can ride my bike,” said Ruggles, 45, of Chesterland. Ruggles and other electric bicycle riders can now ride in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and all other national parks across the country. The National Park Service announced the new nationwide e-bike policy last week for its national parks after the U.S. Department of the Interior handed down a requirement for all of its bureaus to create their own e-bike policies. Officials wanted to regulate the use of the two- or three-wheeled cycles with pedals and electric motors of less than 750 watts on federal land as they become more popular.

WKSU: The National Park Service has cleared the way for pedal-assisted e-bikes to be used in all parks nationwide, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park. In Peninsula, officials, bike vendors and riders gathered for test rides. CVNP Acting Deputy Superintendent Lisa Petit said there’s a growing number of e-bike riders who can now enjoy riding through the park. "And those folks are the ones who may need a little bit of additional assistance to actually get out and enjoy biking for mobility challenges of all kinds. It could be age related; it could be physical fitness related; it could be disability related," she said as cyclists donned helmets and saddled up. CVNP Arborist Rick Denbeau zips past on a black e-bike. He pops his back tire in the air, throws his weight over the bars and tries a spin but doesn’t quite stick the landing. "Oh yeah it’s definitely more weight to move around. Pulling wheelies or manuals or 180s and stuff, it would take some getting used to. The e-bikes are not limiting as to what you can do on them. It’s all on the rider," he said. While the National Park Service said e-bikes can go anywhere regular bicycles can go, it’s still up to the individual parks to set specific regulations.

EXTERNAL PARTNERS: 

“We are pleased to increase the opportunities for all people, regardless of ability or age, to be inspired by the natural and historical resources of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Being outdoors is important for physical and mental health and we support efforts to provide healthy recreational experiences in our national park,”said Deb Yandala, CEO of the Conservancy for Cuyahoga National Park.

“Access to the outdoors and physical activity have tremendous benefits for our emotional and physical health.  This new policy enhances that access to those with mobility and physical limitations. The freedom to pursue e assisted biking in our great outdoors will certainly add years to life and life to the years for many,” said Adam L. Myers, Population Health and Director of Cleveland Clinic Community Care.

“Great news on the acceptance of e-bikes. A true game changer for people with disabilities allowing ALL disabilities more access to the great outdoors,” said Steve Ricker, Founding member of the Adaptive Sports Connection (Ohio).

National Park Service, e-bikes

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