Electric bicycles—or e-bikes—are becoming increasingly popular nationwide. These bikes look like traditional bicycles but are equipped with an electric motor that can be used to assist the rider. While there are a variety of e-bike types—ranging from pedal-assist, which simply give riders a boost, to bikes with throttles that allow users to choose to pedal or use the motor to get around—all are electric, which means that they do not use gasoline or emit exhaust fumes, and are quiet when the motor is used.
As these bikes gain popularity, questions arise about their use. At Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), we often get questions about whether or not e-bikes should be or are allowed on trails, and what concerns trail users might have about interacting with e-bikes.
Here are RTC’s perspectives on e-bikes and trail use.