Ebikes and motorized scooters will soon be joining our old fashioned bikes on many national parks and trails in the US. In September, the Trump administration made an argument on why we should be putting motorized ‘vehicles’ in parks; to help aging visitors and visitors who are not physically able to walk or bike the trails.
Cade Oster of the Ralston Valley mountain bike team says “In my opinion, these bikes are going to make trails more dangerous. I’m going to be worried about them during practices while biking on my own and even races.” Safety is a very large issue with these bikes, considering some bikes can get up to 30 miles per hour. “Just imagine coming up to a bend and all of a sudden a bike comes flying at you at 20mph,” said Oster.
The National Parks Service, or NPS, just rolled out the new policy on August 30th that will allow people to ride their bikes in the parks and use the motorized bikes the same way they use traditional bikes. Many states already e-bike policies in place and this new policy seeks to unite and provide consistency through those states.
This policy will expand access and opportunities to visit and experience all that the national parks and trails have to offer. E-bikes make bike traveling easier, allowing older citizens and citizens unfit to walk or bike to still get the full experience as they would from walking or traditionally biking.
“My family and I love to be outdoors, but, my parents are both getting older and with that comes the declining athletic ability, these e-bikes will allow us to still go on bike rides together and visit national parks without having to worry about leaving them out of it,” said Maria Lucas
One main concern of the Ebikes are animals who presently inhabit areas around trails. Many of these animals are used to tolerating traditional bikes and hikers, but adding motorized bikes could potentially run animals out of their homes.
“The animals are my main concern,” said David Lucas, head director at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. “We have started seeing these bikes pop up all over the place and we and the animals are not the most thrilled.”
Ebikes are beneficial but could potentially harm our environment. The Trump administration is still looking into details of the policy, meaning nothing is final yet, but most likely many of us will soon be seeing these motorized vehicles on our trails.