SierraClub.org - Full Article
Do they just damage trails, disturb wildlife, and endanger hikers?
BY CHRISTOPHER KETCHAM | JUN 29 2020
After you’ve labored to summit a hill on a human-powered bicycle, there’s an ineffable joy in riding the force of gravity down the other side, free and easy. Electric bikes offer a wholly different experience, as e-bikes are typically fossil-fuel-powered machines. (Although they can also be powered by renewable energy.) There is no work required to climb the hill; a battery pack charged by a coal-burning power plant or a natural gas facility does the work for you. That battery-powered motor allows you to race at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, simply by getting on the e-bike.
E-bikes are all the rage in Donald Trump’s Department of the Interior. Last summer, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt issued a directive to national parks that “simplifies and unifies regulation” of the machines by asking “whether e-bikes should be treated [as] motor vehicles.”
Bernhardt’s answer? No, they aren’t motor vehicles. Therefore, all is well with more e-bikes in the parks. “Use of e-bikes will increase access to recreational opportunities,” states the National Park Service on its website. E-bikers will now be able to access “park roads, paved or hardened trails, areas designated for off-road motor vehicle use, and administrative roads where traditional bikes are allowed.”
No problem, right?...
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