HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ)– The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) is seeking public opinion in an upcoming meeting for it’s drafted policy for the use of electronic bikes (e-bikes) on its land.
“The purpose of the policy is to provide guidance for the use of e-bikes on state parks and forests,” DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn said. “On the lands it manages, DCNR will allow e-bikes on trails already open to traditional bicycle usage as long as users follow some guidelines.”
An e-bike is a bicycle equipped with an electric motor that assists the rider when they are pedaling. Guidelines with the the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code state that e-bikes :
- Weigh no more than 100 pounds;
- Do not exceed 20 miles-per-hour using the motor;
- Have motors that do not exceed 750 watts; and
- Have fully functional, operable pedals.
Dunn said the e-bikes are great for people who are looking to participate in outdoor recreation activities, so the department is updating its policy as e-bikes become more popular.
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“E-bikes are increasingly popular as technology improves and the price drops,” Dunn said. “Because they make outdoor recreation accessible to more people we are updating our policy to provide those opportunities on our lands, while at the same time working to limit their impacts on other visitors and on our natural places.”
If the policy is adopted, e-bikes will be allowed to be used on DCNR-managed trails where traditional bikes are allowed.
State forest roads and trails that are not open to biking which would also prohibit e-bikes include:
- Natural areas;
- Designated hiking trails (blazed with yellow or orange); and
- Trails or roads specifically marked closed to biking.
On Wednesday, July 27, from 10 a.m. to noon there will be a meeting held by the Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Council in Room 105 of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, Harrisburg. There is a link for virtual attendance option. Public comment is taken at the end of the meeting.
Written comments on the draft e-bike policy also are welcome, and can be submitted to RA-NR_PolicyOffice@pa.gov. The deadline to submit comments is Aug. 31.
About 3,800 miles of state forest trails are open to mountain biking. Of those, 447 miles within 11 state forests are specifically designated and maintained for mountain biking, according to the DCNR.
More information about biking and mountain biking can be found on the DCNR’s website.