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Non-motorized trails - is an electric bike allowed?

fos'l

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Jul 12, 2020
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My wife and I MTB some ICE-legal "trails" in CA where there are offshoots that are permissible only for hiking, MTB & equestrian use. What if we rode eMTB's to the trailhead, then removed the batteries; anyone know whether we would be legal (would be fun since the batteries can be as light as 3 pounds)? BTW, I'm not advocating poaching in any form! Possibly not legal since presumably we could be riding eMTB's illegally and remove the batteries when we saw a Ranger.
 
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Harryman

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Jul 15, 2020
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Considering that riding an unpowered ebike on a ebike prohibited bike path in Colorado is legal, I would surmise that it would be.

Don't send me your legal bills though if I'm wrong.......
 

fos'l

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Thanks, Harry; I never want to be a test case. Legally maybe not acceptable, but I wouldn't feel bad doing it.
 

Flamingtaco

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Jul 15, 2020
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Can I take my motorcycle down a non-motorized trail if I empty the gas tank and carry the fuel in a spare gas can? (y)

When this issue is dealt with, the eventual ruling will be the batteries do not adjoin you on said trail. IOW, no way possible to engage the motor. There might also be weight limits on the bike, so you're not mucking up the flow for everyone piled up behind you. Bike weight probably won't be an issue by the time they get around to addressing this.

For the time being, no motorized bikes of any kind on non-motorized trails is gaining traction. I'd suggest seeking a personal exception from the land manager if it's a small organization. From there, you might be able to work in a general ruling. Would help if your e-bike is sub 30lbs and the battery pack can be removed from wherever it mounts and stuck in a bag so it can be easily seen that there is no power to the bike.

Might work in the angle of collecting funds via fines for those caught running powered on no power trails...
 

fos'l

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Jul 12, 2020
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FT, thanks; not sure an ebike without a battery is similar to a motorcycle without gas since we can still propel the bike (probably not much heavier than a DH bike once the battery is removed); was more interested in whether anyone had encountered resistance either from other users or from a legality aspect. Doubt the 10 or fewer riders we'll encounter if we did this would even notice.
 

Flamingtaco

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My point wasn't equivocation, it was the futility of trying to provide assurances that batteries won't be put back into play as soon as one puts the first corner between them and the ranger. With shorter battery lengths and flexible circuits, battery packs can be snaked into hiding spots in frames, and they know this. There's not going to be a discourse on getting access for powered bikes to be used without power on non-powered trails. Shoot for getting regular use access to the trails.
 

Procter

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Jul 15, 2020
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Agree with FT - its like an open container law. You get a DUI (equivalent) even if your BAC is zero. You are not getting penalized for being drunk, you are getting penalized for wielding the ability to get drunk as you carry on your journey, with the assumption that, because you have facilitated your ability to be drunk, you intend to and you will.
 

fos'l

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Jul 12, 2020
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Thanks for your comments; that's what I thought the interpretation would be. We'll bikepack to the campsite on ICE-legal roads, then hike around. Going to be interesting in socal since many big stores have committed lots of resources to eMTB's.
 
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