New legislative report shows public opinion split regarding e-bike use on WDFW and DNR-managed lands

More than 7,000 public comments informed report development

The Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Natural Resources (DNR) are sharing their findings related to electric bicycle (e-bike) use on WDFW and DNR-managed lands in a new report to the Legislature this fall.

A robust public process

The report culminates a 9-month process that included tribal roundtable meetings, virtual town hall meetings attended by more than 250 people, an online public survey garnering more than 7,000 responses, and a literature and policy review.

The report indicates that public opinions about e-bikes are both strong and divergent, with about the same percentage of respondents to the public survey indicating that e-bikes should not be allowed on any nonmotorized trails as participants who indicated that e-bikes should be allowed on all nonmotorized trails.

Report recommendations

The report recommends future decisions about e-bike use should be made as part of local or regional planning processes with input from tribal governments, resource experts, and the public. This localized approach recognizes that our next steps around e-bike use on state-managed lands will likely vary landscape to landscape to be able to address unique resources and potential impacts.

The report recommends that:

  • E-bikes should continue to be allowed on roads and trails open to motorized use.
  • All natural surface trails and roads closed to motorized use should remain closed to e-bike use unless or until signed open.
  • Any roads or trails where e-bikes are deemed appropriate will be open to all three classes as defined by the State of Washington (RCW 46.04.169).
  • E-bikes should be considered a new use separate from traditional biking.

The report identifies several recommended next steps, which include identifying areas to prioritize localized trail planning, expanding signage in areas approved for e-biking, and developing or amending policy-level documents to address e-bikes on lands that WDFW and DNR manage.

Current e-bike rules and next steps

WDFW and DNR are ready to begin the recommended process outlined in the report, pending legislative response and outcomes.

The report doesn’t initiate any immediate changes to e-bike rules on WDFW and DNR-managed lands.

Riding an e-bike is currently allowed on roads and trails open to motorized vehicles across WDFW-managed lands. Visitors to WDFW-managed lands with a parking placard for persons with disabilities can use Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes on all nonmotorized natural surface trails and closed roads where bikes are allowed until June 30, 2023, or until new legislation is enacted.

More information is available in the following infographic.

Infographic courtesy of DNR.

To view the report, visit WDFW’s website.

For more information about e-biking in Washington visit the WDFW and DNR websites.

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.