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Discussion of allowing e-bikes on Central Oregon trails sparks debate

E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular
E-bikes are becoming increasingly popular

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Electric-assisted bicycles, better known as e-bikes, are becoming increasingly popular in Central Oregon, and some have even taken to trails and roads outside the city limits.

Electric-assisted bicycles (e-bikes) are subject many of the same trail and pathway rules and regulations as bicycles without an electric assist motor.

However, e-bikes must, under Oregon state law, also adhere to the following:

  • Have wheels in contact with the ground and include a seat or a saddle
  • Have no more than three wheels
  • Have pedals to assist as well as an electric motor
  • Go no faster than 20 mph
  • Have a power output of no more than 1,000 watts
  • May not ride on sidewalks
  • Youth under 16 must wear a helmet

The US Forest Service and BLM set rules that e-bikes are not allowed on their non-motorized lands. That has sparked controversy among e-bike riders, who want to be able to ride in those areas.

Supporters say in general that wider permission for e-bikes use would open more areas of public land to those who need a bit of an assist at times, while critics say it could prompt conflicts, even crashes unless kept separate from regular mountain bike trails.

Article Topic Follows: Central Oregon

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.


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