It seems like most TSW folks who have commented here are against the Interior electric bike order. It may be similar to the proposal to close FS Job Corps Centers, in that a reaction from the public can get the decision turned around. To that end, I’m posting what the Colorado Mountain Club sent out this AM in terms of how to comment. I’m sure most of you probably belong to groups that have this handy “contact everyone” button. If you aren’t on a mailing list for this easy mode of commenting, maybe other TSW folks will know a national or state group that has the same approach to easy commenting. I’m sure you don’t have to be a member of the organization. If not, there is always the approach of contacting each individual separately.
Here’s what the Colorado Mountain Club has:
On August 29, 2019, Department of the Interior Secretary Bernhardt released an order to allow electric bicycles (e-bikes) on non-motorized trails. While some front-range communities allow Class 1 e-bikes on trails, this policy includes full-throttle e-bikes and Class 3 pedal assisted bikes whose motors can engage while traveling as fast as 28 miles per hour. At a national scale, this sweeping policy will truly change the dynamic of trail experiences on federal public lands.
DOI Policy (08.29.2019): https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/elips/documents/so_3376_-_increasing_recreational_opportunities_through_the_use_of_electric_bikes_-508_0.pdf
Wilderness Society Press Release: https://www.wilderness.org/articles/press-release/national-groups-blast-interior-dept-opening-non-motorized-trails-e-bikes
This policy would affect hundreds of miles of hiking trails on BLM lands throughout Colorado in communities like Salida, Fruita, Grand Junction, Ridgway, Del Norte, Canon City and many more.
By issuing a sweeping policy to allow e-bikes on non-motorized trails, the agency is blatantly ignoring existing travel management rules and regulations. This undermines the bedrock laws that protect human-powered recreation and the backcountry landscapes and natural resources we enjoy.
While e-bikes are a very appropriate mode of travel on public lands, they have a motor and should be regulated in accordance with existing travel management rules. There are thousands of miles of motorized trails and roads in Colorado that are already legally accessible to e-bikes.
If any non-motorized trails are to be considered for e-bike use, the agency should carefully analyze impacts to current users, wildlife and natural resources before allowing e-bike designation.
E-bikes tend to be ridden faster than regular bikes, resulting in more speed differential between them and other trail users. This amplifies conflict and danger.
E-bike access on backcountry non-motorized trails may create situations where mechanical breakdowns, accidents or other emergencies could be catastrophic and put added strain on search & rescue organizations.
Public comment is an essential part of the decision making process on federal lands and input should’ve been requested in advance of such a far-reaching policy change.
As you can see in the image above, you can just click on a few things, add some sentences and it sends the comments to a bunch of relevant individuals at once.
A new DOI policy states that “E-bikes shall be allowed where other types of bicycles are allowed” – including hundreds of miles of non-motorized trails on BLM and National Park lands in Colorado. The policy not only creates a huge potential for user conflict but sets a danger precedent for allowing motorized vehicles on non-motorized trails and dismantling the Travel Planning Rule.
Although a rule-making process and public comment period will commence in the future, we urge you to please take a moment now to share your concerns with your legislative representatives and DOI officials.
Check out the Background Info tab for details and talking points
Review the DOI E-Bike Policy
Craft your comments below with details about how this will affect your favorite recreation spots
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Send a letter to your federal legislators
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