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Interior Department moves to allow electric bikes in national parks

A new form of transportation in national parks
Posted at 6:54 PM, Sep 02, 2019

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Motorized electric bicycles may soon be humming along serene trails in Rocky Mountain National Park and at other national parks nationwide.

Last week, the Department of Interior, which oversees the National Park Service, said that bicycles with a motor that propels or helps a rider with pedaling up to 20 miles-per-hour should be allowed in areas where traditional bikes are.

As hundreds of people poured into Rocky Mountain National Park for Labor Day weekend, there were mixed reactions to electric bikes being used inside of the park.

While some people say it will only cause more traffic and be a safety issue, Charlotte Jacquenart thinks it could be good for several reasons.

"Frankly speaking for some Americans, it would maybe be good if they were using e-bikes, right? Instead of using a car," Jacquenart said.

Jacquenart is from Switzerland and says electric bikes are nothing new in Europe. She says having the option of riding an e-bike would also make the park more accessible to everyone.

"People who cannot use a regular bike on roads like this benefit from e-bikes and an e-bike is still a bike. You have to pedal hard. It doesn't just take you anywhere," she said.

In the Department of Interior's order, it gives national parks 30 days to provide a summary of policy changes and a timeline to seek public comment on changing the electric bicycle regulation.