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Author: Robert Delach

Action Alert: Comment on Proposed U.S. Forest Service e-MTB Rule

The following is an Action Alert from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) regarding  a rule change that could impact the Baileys Trail System. The policy experts at IMBA are concerned that the rule could change the designation of trail systems like the Baileys from non-motorized to motorized, thus impacting the ability to receive grant funding to complete the trail system.

The deadline for comments is Monday, October 26, 2020. Please take a few minutes to read the details about the proposed rule from IMBA, and submit a comment to the US Forest Service about the e-mountain bike  (e-MTB) rule.

  • Rob Delach, Athens Bicycle Club Communications Officer

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IMBA Action Alert!

The U.S. Forest Service released proposed revised directives on eMTB management on September 24th. The release coincided with a public comment period which is open through Monday, October 26th. The Forest Service needs to hear from mountain bikers and eMTB riders alike: these proposed directives could have problematic unintended consequences for trails. Positives of the proposed directives: –Requires a local public process before allowing any eMTB access, through NEPA and Travel Management planning. –Distinguishes between class 1, class 2 and class 3 eMTBs. –Manages eMTBs as a new category, separate from traditional mountain bikes. Challenges with the proposed directives: –Continues to categorize all classes of eMTBs as motorized. –If the Forest Service continues to classify e-bikes as motorized, these directives have the potential to reclassify non-motorized trails as motorized trails to allow eMTB access. This could jeopardize trail funding and lead to increased user conflicts. Instead, the final directive must reconsider how to allow class 1 eMTBs on select non-motorized trails while retaining a trail’s non-motorized status, similar to the recent Bureau of Land Management final rule that mountain bikers liked you helped shape. For more information on the potential consequences with the Forest Service proposed directives, read the IMBA blog. For more details on the directives, take a look at IMBA’s summary guidance. For more information on eMTBs, visit IMBA’s eMTB education page and IMBA’s eMTB FAQs.

Ready to submit a comment?

This comment period is being conducted through a U.S. Forest Service portal. The sample comment below is in line with IMBA’s eMTB position, which supports class 1 eMTB access on non-motorized trails, as long as access for traditional mountain bikes is not lost or impeded. We always advocate for these decisions to be made via public process alongside local mountain bikers and all stakeholders. Customize the comment below to suit your perspective and submit by October 26th.

Submit your comment

Sample Comment:

Thank you for the opportunity for the public to engage on FSM 7700 and 7710, which would revise Forest Service directives to update and clarify guidance on management of electric bicycle (e-bike) use on National Forest System lands. Hundreds of organized mountain bike clubs around the country manage thousands of volunteers who work closely with land managers on trail development, trail maintenance, and trail education for all users. Much of this work relies on funding sources specific to non-motorized trail projects. The proposed directives could jeopardize this funding and increase user conflict if non-motorized trails were to become reclassified as motorized to allow for eMTBs. Instead, the final directive must reconsider how to allow class 1 eMTBs on select non-motorized trails while retaining a trail’s non-motorized status, similar to the recent Department of Interior final rule. The final directive can be further improved by following the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s (IMBA) management recommendations: managing the three classes of e-bikes separately from one another, and prohibiting class 2 and class 3 eMTBs on natural surface, non-motorized trails. Mountain bikers appreciate the leap in technology presented by eMTBs is a unique management challenge. These proposed directives rightfully plan separate management for bicycles and electric bicycles. It is critical that land managers and local mountain bikers work together to determine where eMTBs are and are not appropriate on current and future mountain bike trails. Thank you for the willingness to engage with the mountain bike community. Sincerely, [name, location, contact information]

Thank you for taking action!

Contact IMBA Advocacy

Athens County Residents Encouraged to Ride Their Bicycle to Work on National Bike to Work Day, Friday May 17, 2019

GET PUMPED! and ride your bike to work on National Bike to Work Day, Friday May 17, 2019. This FREE event to celebrate the occasion is again planned for Athens County this year, organized by Ohio University Office of Sustainability, OU Transportation and Parking Services, OU Police Department, OU WellWorks, HAPCAP, Athens Public Transit, City of Athens, Athens Bicycle Club, Black Diamond Bikes, Athens Bicycle, and Nelsonville Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, with support from various local businesses including Fluff Bakery and Catering, Ridge Runner Coffee, and Catalyst Cafe.

Bicyclists of all skill-levels are welcome to participate and give bicycling to work a try on National Bike to Work Day. We will have pit stop locations around the city of Athens and for the first time, a pitstop in the city of Nelsonville. Bike commuters are encouraged to stop by one or more pit stops on Friday morning, May 17, from 7:30-9:30 am for free coffee, snacks, and to sign up for free raffle prizes from local businesses. Representatives from local bike shops will be at several of the pit stop to answer bike-related questions.

Bike to Work Day Pit stops will be available at the following locations:

  • Hockhocking Adena Bikeway at the Mill St connector (at mile marker 1)
  • Hockhocking Adena Bikeway at the Habitat House near W. Union St
  • Uptown Athens at the Athens County Courthouse
  • Ohio University at the corner of Richland Ave and S. Green St, near Peden Stadium
  • Nelsonville pitstop at Rocky Boots parking lot, at the end of Hockhocking Adena Bikeway
Athens Bike to Work Day Map
Bike to Work Day Map showing pit stops in the City of Athens in red, and park & ride lots in blue.

Athens Bike to Work Day will be capped off with a Happy Hour celebration at Little Fish Brewery beginning at 5:00 pm.

“The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway is one of my favorite things about Athens County,” said Annie Laurie Cadmus, engagement and marketing coordinator for WellWorks. Cadmus, a resident of Nelsonville, stresses that the Bikeway is a safe way to engage in active commuting. “There are plenty of Park and Pedal lots along the Bikeway to help people who live far away but still want to bike or run into work the last few miles.”

Every bit of exercise you can fit into your schedule can help improve your health and activity levels, and bike commuting is a great way to do that.

If you live too far from work to bike commute, then you should consider driving partway, parking your car at a convenient location, unloading your bike, and riding the rest of the way to work. Numerous parking lots available are along the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway and around Athens County. A commuter can place a bicycle in or on their vehicle, park the vehicle in a designated lot and then bike the remainder of the commute safely and comfortably. The Bike to Work Day map includes recommended park & ride locations (https://goo.gl/qgmq5h).

Event Details

Morning Pit Stops: refreshments, support, and raffle sign-ups

When: 7:30 am – 9:30 am, Friday, May 17, 2019

Where: Four pit stop locations will be setup around the City of Athens and one pit stop in the City of Nelsonville

Cost: FREE

Bike to Work Day Celebration! Happy Hour

When: 5:00 pm-7:00 pm, Friday, May 17, 2019

Where: Little Fish Brewing, Armitage Rd, Athens

Drinks and food at the Happy Hour event will be at participants own expense

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