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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As eBikes proliferate local eBike specific groups will begin to form and start bringing Pro-eBike access arguments to the table with land managers and the other major access groups, hikers, equestrians, bird watchers, environmentalists and cyclists.

What are some positive talking points the eBike users can bring to the table? Please list them here.

This thread is not for discussing the difference between a human powered bike and a pedal assisted bike, there is a difference, Land Mangers know it, Hikers know it, Horseback riders know it, Bird Watchers know it and cyclists know it.

I will get started.

* Land Managers should consider implementing trail access rules such as Speed limits that apply to eBikes and non-motorized bicycles.
* Land Managers should consider implementing specific trails that allow adequate room for passing on the uphill so ebike riders who are climbing at a higher rate of speed have a place to make a safe pass without disturbing sensitive habitat.


Please add your ideas. This is not a place to argue semantics or syntax. Any posts that purposely derail this will be deleted at the discretion of the moderators.

The idea here is to develop a resource for eBike advocacy groups to use when approaching land mangers for access.
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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Land Managers that I know are concerned with the impact of trail users upon the habitat. They are concerned with trail user conflicts.

More people experiencing the trails means more trail degradation and the potential for more trail user conflicts. It matters not which trail user group or in this case, a new trail user group, more people means more impact.

Any new user group that wants to gain the privilege of trail access must learn what the specific issues in their specific area managed by the specific land manager are and then formulate options that are developed into a proposal to mitigate these issues.

I personally invest a **** ton of time immersing myself into the issues faced by the land managers I choose to work with. It is only then, after "walking in their shoes", can I hope to capture a glimpse of what my land managers are taxed with and only then can I begin to figure out a way to HELP THEM.

The manufacturers spent a lot of time and money devising a "class system" that they know would not have any real meaning as far as land management goes. Not my opinion. My land managers opinions. Therefore, anything, any talk about watt limits and speed limits, in my neck of the woods, will be returned with questions such as "where will funding come from to ensure the proper class and defined limits are enforced?"

Anyone with some amount of advocacy experience will tell you that whenever you may request anything from anyone, you are requesting that someone devote time, and time costs money, and if funding is tight or non existent, smart advocates will have a budget and funding outline included with all proposals.

Thank you Klurejr for starting this much needed thread.
 

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In what I've read locally on e-bikes, advocates are saying they don't actually ride one now, but want to have the chance to do so when their knees get old and gimpy. The implication is that they don't want to ride faster on an e-bike, they only want to ride the same as on a regular bike. When they're older. On the other hand, and as implied above, I would think the attraction of bombing uphill as well as downhill, would hold quite an allure for many able and fit riders. Trails with uphill berms could become a reality. Going just generally faster, than is possible on a regular bike.

Is there a distinction here? I think there can be, and the e-bike crowd should make it, and declare where they stand. In the former case , language that describes a power limit, rather than a speed limit could be used. As I understand it, the pedal assist design is already a function of the input power (or maybe it's force), not speed. It should follow directly that it can be capped in units of watts as well. If the total power output of an e-bike is capped at the same power that a typical rider can generate on a regular bike (say, 500W? the roadies all know this stuff), then the speed is a non-issue. The e-biker will be just as slow on the uphills, at well under 20 mph, and just as fast on the downhills (>> 20 mph).

If the latter case, it's going to be a long and interesting debate for sure.
 

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there is a difference, Land Mangers know it, Hikers know it, Horseback riders know it, Bird Watchers know it and cyclists know it.

I will get started.

* Land Managers should consider implementing trail access rules such as Speed limits that apply to eBikes and non-motorized bicycles.
* Land Managers should consider implementing specific trails that allow adequate room for passing on the uphill so ebike riders who are climbing at a higher rate of speed have a place to make a safe pass without disturbing sensitive habitat.

Please add your ideas. This is not a place to argue semantics or syntax. Any posts that purposely derail this will be deleted at the discretion of the moderators.
Sounds like you're well on your way to writing a design / management guide like this:
https://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf11232804/pdf11232804dpi100.pdf
 

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Thanks for bringing this conversation up! Hopefully it will stay civil:)

Talking about class 1 & 2 ebikes only, have a speed cut out at 20mph. I’ve now been on my own class 1 bike for several months.

One argument I see constantly is this uphill closing speed. I honestly don’t know where this is coming from as from personal experience ECO is maybe 2 to 3mph faster, Trail 3 to 4 mph and boost 5 to 6mph faster. Any typical challenging grades there’s no way a class 1 ebike is going to do 20mph and if a rider can, it won’t be for long before rider gets tired out. Plus stopping distance while going uphill is like really really short, as you have gravity helping out.

I think manufactures should donate some ebikes to the LMs and maybe this has been done, so that they can see for themselves what ebikes are all about.
 

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trail rat
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There is a long term study from JeffCo (Colorado) Open Space that is comprehensive, based on a pilot program.
https://www.jeffco.us/3618/e-bikes

A number of our local open space advocates and managers attended the online presentation when this was released. There were mtbers, hikers, equestrians, trail runners, and state & county parks land managers in attendance together. We are fortunate to have a solid relationship with all trail users and managers here, thanks to 30 years of working together for common goals - abundant local trails.

Many more useful links at the bottom. Useful for talking to local land managers, because they get get other professional land manager info.

Presentation of study.
https://www.jeffco.us/DocumentCenter/View/9672/e-Bike-Presentation?bidId=

Survey results with excellent graphic data.
https://www.jeffco.us/DocumentCenter/View/9674/e-Bike-Survey-Results-?bidId=
 
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* Land Managers should consider implementing trail access rules such as Speed limits that apply to eBikes and non-motorized bicycles.
* Land Managers should consider implementing specific trails that allow adequate room for passing on the uphill so ebike riders who are climbing at a higher rate of speed have a place to make a safe pass without disturbing sensitive habitat.
I consider myself E-bike neutral, but what you are proposing sounds like dirt sidewalks with Johnny Law hiding in the bushes with a radar gun.

No thank you.
 

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As eBikes proliferate local eBike specific groups will begin to form and start bringing Pro-eBike access arguments to the table with land managers and the other major access groups, hikers, equestrians, bird watchers, environmentalists and cyclists.

What are some positive talking points the eBike users can bring to the table? Please list them here.

This thread is not for discussing the difference between a human powered bike and a pedal assisted bike, there is a difference, Land Mangers know it, Hikers know it, Horseback riders know it, Bird Watchers know it and cyclists know it.

I will get started.

* Land Managers should consider implementing trail access rules such as Speed limits that apply to eBikes and non-motorized bicycles.
* Land Managers should consider implementing specific trails that allow adequate room for passing on the uphill so ebike riders who are climbing at a higher rate of speed have a place to make a safe pass without disturbing sensitive habitat.

Please add your ideas. This is not a place to argue semantics or syntax. Any posts that purposely derail this will be deleted at the discretion of the moderators.

The idea here is to develop a resource for eBike advocacy groups to use when approaching land mangers for access.
I prefaced my conversation with a local land manager by thanking him for the years of mountain bike acess that I had enjoyed. It turned out that the no eBike stickers that I had called to ask about weren't placed by his rangers and he sent people out to remove them right away.

Mine are the usual weight and power comparisons between eBikes and normal bikes; an an explanation of why I'm riding an eBike and not a normal mountain bike and an expressed desire to continue using the trails as I age. I might go into animal and hiker behavior; no dog has ever alerted to the whine of the motor, and that hikers often don't hear me approach; same as on a mountain bike. Also that the peak torque on my eBike is much less than that of my mountain bike because it is geared higher so I rarely experience soil-displacing wheel spin.

Mostly I'd just show up and present myself as just another guy wanting to enjoy the outdoors and save the talking points for a written statement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I consider myself E-bike neutral, but what you are proposing sounds like dirt sidewalks with Johnny Law hiding in the bushes with a radar gun.

No thank you.
It is just one idea, I don't have all the ideas here, that is what this thread is for. my local riding area actually has a speed limit of 15mph on it, but it is not enforced. I think enforcement would only come about if trail users were abusing the limits, blowing by other users, causing trail conflict, etc.

Trail speed and user conflict ARE issues whether on a pedal bike or an eBike. Speed directly led to the closure of an entire riding area in Northern California a few years ago.

Maybe instead of just being critical of an idea, simply point out why you don't like my idea and the offer up what you think is a better solution.
 

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Single(Pivot)and Happy
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I consider myself E-bike neutral, but what you are proposing sounds like dirt sidewalks with Johnny Law hiding in the bushes with a radar gun.

No thank you.
I understand where you are coming from but consider this: By the mere suggesting of a speed limit, Klurejr is addressing an "issue" held by some land managers and other trail users. Getting in front of issues shows that you have an understanding of others concerns and shows that you are trying to be an asset with a solution, as opposed to an ass with an attitude.

I suggested building upon Klurejr's initial suggestion with looking into revenue sources and implementation possibilities. I don't think you are suggesting nor is Klurejr suggesting radar guns. I believe this is a meaningful dialog, much better than many other threads here.
 

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In what I've read locally on e-bikes, advocates are saying they don't actually ride one now, but want to have the chance to do so when their knees get old and gimpy. The implication is that they don't want to ride faster on an e-bike, they only want to ride the same as on a regular bike. When they're older. On the other hand, and as implied above, I would think the attraction of bombing uphill as well as downhill, would hold quite an allure for many able and fit riders. Trails with uphill berms could become a reality. Going just generally faster, than is possible on a regular bike.

Is there a distinction here? I think there can be, and the e-bike crowd should make it, and declare where they stand. In the former case , language that describes a power limit, rather than a speed limit could be used. As I understand it, the pedal assist design is already a function of the input power (or maybe it's force), not speed. It should follow directly that it can be capped in units of watts as well. If the total power output of an e-bike is capped at the same power that a typical rider can generate on a regular bike (say, 500W? the roadies all know this stuff), then the speed is a non-issue. The e-biker will be just as slow on the uphills, at well under 20 mph, and just as fast on the downhills (>> 20 mph).

If the latter case, it's going to be a long and interesting debate for sure.
The 500 watts on my eBike is hardly a limitation; at age 25 I probably produced around 300 watts on my best hill climb; at age 40 my sustained climb rate was a calculated 200 watts; now combine my meager 130 watt continuous power with the 500 watt motor power at age 62 and I'm potentially twice as fast uphill as I ever was. But the reality is that I don't ride that much faster; 8mph up hill instead of 4mph means that I'm no longer getting in everyone's way and hikers don't have to keep looking back wondering if I'll -ever- pass.

But not everyone will use that awesome 750 watts allowed by the class I standard responsibility. I'm starting to agree with 'Walt' who said that People for Bikes really blew it by setting the motor cutout at 20mph instead of the Euro 15mph limit.

So a talking point for the e-minus crowd from a self-hating eBiker, I guess.
 

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But not everyone will use that awesome 750 watts allowed by the class I standard responsibility. I'm starting to agree with 'Walt' who said that People for Bikes really blew it by setting the motor cutout at 20mph instead of the Euro 15mph limit.
To be fair, they weren't concerned with mountain biking at all, I think. The money in bikes has and always will be in road and hybrid/commuter bikes. Their focus was on that. I believe they've said publicly that another category for e-mtb would have been a good idea (presumably the EU Class 1 standard).

I'm not sure going back and changing all that legislation is realistic, given the low (from the perspective of the wider world) stakes involved. Enabling people to ride on commuter paths and bike lanes without getting insurance/registration/driver's license was a slam dunk idea. E-mtb was at best, an afterthought. It might seem like a big deal to us, but I'm guessing it wasn't even a consideration at the time.

Everyone I know who owns or wants to own an e-mtb wants it because of age/injury to keep doing the sport. They could care less if the assist cutoff was 15mph instead of 20, or if the power limit was 250w instead of 750, because they're just trying to go for a normal ride. Those higher limits are a terrible idea for e-mtb because it's enough to encourage young strong people to go rip around. Just IMO, of course.

-Walt
 

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I will get started.

* Land Managers should consider implementing trail access rules such as Speed limits that apply to eBikes and non-motorized bicycles.
* Land Managers should consider implementing specific trails that allow adequate room for passing on the uphill so ebike riders who are climbing at a higher rate of speed have a place to make a safe pass without disturbing sensitive habitat.
In theory I think speed limits are a great idea. In practice I think we have to be realistic about enforcement. If we setup a framework that cannot be enforced than it's worse than useless.

So back when using a motor on a MTB/hiking trail was not even something we'd think twice about if someone showed up at such a trail with a motor they'd get non-stop flack and it was dead easy to spot the motorized machine. That resulted in next to no motorized use of these trails in places I ride.

However, if you take the same situation, but now some motors are allowed in some way the whole process of managing that user group is a lot harder. You can't spot what's legal and what's not legal easily from a distance. You need to carefully inspect the machine to see if it meets whatever the standards of legality are. You have to know enough to do so, have the time to do so and be able to overcome such obvious work arounds as fake "Class" decals or software/hardware overrides.

The speed limit thing solves a bunch of these ^^^ issues, but it requires an expensive Government employee with expensive equipment and training to be on the trails regularly enforcing the rules. Not impossible in very high use areas, but not super practical in a lot of areas. If the main regulation mechanism is something that's not practical to enforce we'll just end up with a motor/battery arms race.

The second idea of having ebike specific trails does make a lot of sense. Where I ride most all trails are open to hikers, but there are also some hiker only trails. For the most part the hikers stay on their exclusive trails [I suspect because they don't enjoy interacting with MTBs]. Trail runners are more likely to use the MTB part of the network...they are also moving at similar speeds since our terrain is chunky and steep so we can't go super fast. I don't begrudge hikers their exclusive trails.

Giving ebikers their own trails would solve a lot of problems. User interactions are not a factor, they get to take ownership of design, maintenance and use of those trails. They will provide a lot of practical data that will be useful for making land management decisions in the future. As they build their planning and advocacy muscles ebike groups will be able to affect more and more positive change as stakeholders in the land management process.

I also think identifying some shared use MTB and ebike trails makes sense. Based on features that should lead to harmonious interactions. Maybe that would include direction of travel restrictions for ebikes so they don't try climbing a trail MTBers descend. Climbing sections that allow for safe passing and higher speeds, etc...

Once you acknowledge the difference between ebikes and other trail users and then adopt the well establish advocacy frameworks the existing user groups have developed and are using ebikers can come to the table and we can all work out the access issues. It's going to be a lot of work, nobody will be 100% happy with the result and it won't happen overnight, but that's life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
vikb - I disagree that there needs to be eBike only trails. I think pedal and pedal assist Mountain Bikers can learn to get along on the same trails.

I am in full agreement that if a park has Hiking only trails it better also have cycling only trails since the 2 user groups have different desires for what a trail should be.
 

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I think the best move for advocacy would be to push for:

-More trails period. More trails spreads out users and is better/more fun for everyone. Crowded trails are a recipe for e-bike and normal bike bans.

-Modern trail design/upgrades. We already have lots of legacy trail with bad sight lines and dumb layouts (ie, fast straightaway into a blind turn) that can be easily fixed by moving a few rocks to create chicanes and lower speeds/increase fun. This would benefit both e-bikes and normal bikes, AND equestrians and peds.

Some very public money and effort on those fronts would go a long way with many skeptical people, I think.

-Walt
 

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vikb - I disagree that there needs to be eBike only trails. I think pedal and pedal assist Mountain Bikers can learn to get along on the same trails.
Before I think it makes any sense to discuss shared trails we need to define what is legal for motorized equipment and practically how that will be enforced. If there is no practical way to enforce the use of motors it will be a battery/motor arms race and there is no way to manage the shared use effectively.

If there was a practical way to manage motorized recreation within defined parameters you could then at least say okay at these speeds it would be reasonable to share trails X, Y and Z and maybe not W, R and S.

OTOH if you can't effectively manage what motorized vehicles are used keeping them on motorized only trails limits the problems to the one user group.
 

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always licking the glass
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I consider myself E-bike neutral, but what you are proposing sounds like dirt sidewalks with Johnny Law hiding in the bushes with a radar gun.

No thank you.
That already exists in the Bay Area even before e-bikes with MidPen OSP.

I hate to see more of the same throughout the country. Agreed. No thank you on this one.
 

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I’ve personally never seen an ebike higher than a class1 pedelec on the trails. Could that happen in time? sure, but doubt it would be the norm.

I would like the land managers to consider that A) Most ebikers are current or previous mtbrs, therefore they cannot ride 2 bikes at once. B) Every Levo, Pivot, Trek, Giant etc Class1 ebike sale made, a portion of money goes to the local chapter for more trails, but for hiking and equestrian trails, because I believe an experienced rider that currently rides an ebike can easily gel with mtbs. Let’s fund more trails for the other user groups. C) Allow class1 pedelecs, the riders on them will help self police against the 1000watt frankenbikes and those riders will not be the norm. I see some manufacturers are going into tech to “FREEZE” the emtb if it has been hacked for speed. Now, I don’t ride an Emtb because I have bad knees or aged out, I’m 48 I ride them purely for fun, like 98% of mtbrs.
 

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Blue Text Slope Line Font


It is super important to note the Y-axis "Self Esteem". This change, the introduction of e-bikes, is personal and actually effects people's self esteem. That is why you see such a visceral reaction to them (see stage 3 description).

Now notice the X-axis "Time". What this means is it will take each individual time to come to their own determination of integration with their own norm, and that assumes time is exposure to and relative understanding of e-bikes.

e-bikes are still "new" on the timeline and by virtue of that, we should EXPECT to see most people in stages 1-3, with the more knowledgeable (on the subject) and experienced to be somewhere in the zone 4 - 6 phases. The ONLY people in stage 7 are the people that actually own e-bikes and have ridden them for quite awhile, AND, have a baseline understanding of land management.

Why do I bring this up? It is critical to understand that this issue, along with any other change is PERSONAL to each individual whether they are a land manager or a fellow trail user of any category. The myth that there will be a collective sigh of relief and universal acceptance is a pipe dream.

What needs to happen is education and hands on experience to help speed people along the stages. That isn't to say that everyone will arrive to stage 7 with full acceptance of e-bikes, rather, it's going to take a few years before we can realistically "legislate" eBikes based upon understanding and reflective of a knowledgeable population.

Want to see proof? From the presentation above:

Blue Text Colorfulness Line Electric blue
 

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I work with the USFS and BLM a lot so I think reviewing the area's TMP (travel management plan) and stating how use conforms to it would be my first steps.
 
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