E-bikes may be on the rise but be forewarned, they are not legal on many trails in Vermont. Many of Vermont’s trails run across private land or public land where access for “motorized vehicles” is limited. Here’s the lates from the Vermont Agency of Natural resources on the top, as of June, 2019:
With the emerging trend of electric and electric-assist bicycles, the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is learning more about these devices. It is likely that at some point soon we will create a policy that specifically addresses “e-bikes” and how, when and if they can be used recreationally on state lands. At this time however, we have three policies which we’re applying to e-bikes:
FPR Policy #1: All-Terrain Vehicles: As these bicycles have motors, they are viewed as motorized on state lands. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on state lands with very specific exceptions.
FPR Policy #4: Mountain Bicycles, Horseback Riding and Pack Animals: Mountain bicycles are permitted only on state-owned roads and trails specified by the Commissioner. At this time, we do not have any designated trails which allow electric mountain bicycles, with the exception below.
Use of Mobility Devices on ANR Fee-Owned Lands by Persons with Mobility Disabilities: Persons with mobility disabilities may elect to use any number of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs). Per this policy, electric bicycles may be used on trails which have been assessed as appropriate for these devices by persons with mobility disabilities who adhere to the policy and obtain an OPDMD pass. The following definition of an electric bicycle is contained in the policy:
Electric Bicycle -Any bicycle or tricycle with a low-powered electric motor weighing less than 100 lbs, with a top motor-powered speed not in excess of 20 mph.
So, it is possible to see e-bikes on trails on state lands in use as OPDMDs. Staff should review the OPDMD policy (which prohibits inquiring about the nature of a person’s mobility disability), and we urge partners to err on the side of caution if and when they encounter people on e-bikes on our trails. The trails which have been assessed for OPDMD use can be found here.
To summarize, at this time, e-bikes are not allowed on trails on state lands with the exception of use as OPDMDs.