Environment Coalition Wants E-Bikes Banned In National Parks

A woman rides an e-bike along a nature trail
Photo credit Getty Images
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

A coalition of Marin environmental groups has filed a federal court case to force the National Park Service to ban e-bikes on public trails. 

Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area already allow electric bicycles on certain trails.

That doesn’t sit well with Gordon Bennett, president of the Marin County-based environmental non-profit, Save Our Seashores.

He said that the National Park Service violated its own rules when it approved the use of e-bikes on trails.

“[The agreement to allow electric bikes on trails> was the result of a private meeting with e-bike manufacturers and the rules came out of that private meeting. That is a violation of the Advisory Commission Act,” said Bennett. “The original [National Park Service> bicycle rules went through a full environmental process where there was public comment and a National Environmental Policy Act review; none of that was done."

Bennett and a number of other environmental leaders who are parties to the lawsuit fear that e-bikes could pose a danger to cyclists, hikers and equestrians.

He said that some of the battery-powered bicycles can travel down these trails at speeds of 28 miles per hour.

“You’re supposed to hear from everybody, not just one side,” said Bennett.

The sales of e-bikes are the fastest growing segment of bicycle sales nationwide, according to global information company, NPD Group.

That fact has the National Park Service strongly defending its new e-bike policy. In a statement, the agency said the Park Service’s stance on e-bikes favors the public’s equal rights to recreation. The use of e-bikes on national park lands should be no different for traditional cyclists, hikers or walkers.