SWMMBA believes that electric mountain bikes (eMTBs) present opportunity and challenge to traditional mountain bike access. If managed effectively, eMTBs may increase ridership and stewardship of trails. No management, poor management and misinformation, however, have the potential to jeopardize current and future access that mountain bikers, SWMMBA, and national organizations have pursued for the past thirty years.
Our position on eMTBs is as follows: SWMMBA is supportive of e-MTB access to motorized trails. SWMMBA recognizes that changes in design, technology and the numbers of eMTB users is evolving, and believes this use can be managed in a sustainable way for both the environment and other motorized trail users.
SWMMBA firmly believes in its Mission Statement: to enhance access to trails and advocate for mountain bicyclists in Southwest Montana by engaging and educating community, and building and maintaining trails. We wish to execute that mission to the best of our abilities and dedicate 100% of our efforts to Mountain Biking in Southwest Montana, and will continue to do so, regardless of eMTB technology, or changes in access locally or nationally.
U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations categorize eMTBs as a “motorized” use. Therefore, eMTBs are only permitted where motorized vehicles are allowed.
Some state and local authorities manage eMTBs similarly to federal agency regulations. However, other agencies have decided to open non-motorized trails to eMTB use.
Several state parks, county open space organizations and municipalities treat electric bicycles identically to non-motorized bicycles, or have designated specific areas that are open to eBikes.
Many government entities have not yet considered the issue or have no policy regarding eMTB use at this time.