Medicine Bow Officials Address E-bike Use
The United States Forest Service (USFS) in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland is addressing the growing trend of riding electric bikes, or e-bikes.
The USFS is encouraging riders to use e-bikes appropriately in the forest, campaigning that riders "Know Before You Go." Those who wish to ride in the park should know where, when, and how e-bikes may be used and when their use is appropriate.
E-bikes are growing in popularity around the country. E-bike company Evelo says electric bike sales in the United States rose from about 70,000 in 2011 to 159,000 in 2012. They estimate sales will reach 340,000 for 2018. E-bikes and their uses, though, are not clearly outlined by law in all states.
The State of Wyoming does not directly address e-bikes in any statute, having them predominately fall under the classification of "mopeds." DMV.org even says whether or not to register an e-bike in Wyoming is one of WYDOT's unsolved mysteries.
E-bikes are classified by the USFS as motor vehicles, and may be ridden on designated motorized routes shown on Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps. This includes National Forest System (NFS) roads open to all vehicles and NFS trails open to all vehicles. The best source, as recommended by USFS officials, for knowing when and where e-bikes are allowed in Medicine Bow can be found on the Motor Vehicle Use Maps. Free hard copies are available at all forest offices and are available online at fs.usda.gov.
The USFS implores riders be responsible by staying on designated roads and trails. They ask that riders minimize wheel spin by not roosting around the apex of a turn or brake-sliding, particularly on switchbacks, as this can gouge the trail. Drive over, not around obstacles to avoid widening the trail, cross streams only at designated fording points, and comply with all signs and respect barriers.
USFS specialists say they are monitoring new technologies, visitor access and safety, social and sustainability issues, and natural resource effects associated with e-bike use. Information obtained from monitoring will be used to reassess and, if needed, adjust designating the use of e-bikes.
Visitors with questions about roads and trails are encouraged to contact their local USFS Office.