Your Guide to E-biking in CA State Parks
If you’re planning a trip to California and you want to bring your E-Lux Bikes ebike with you, it’s important to make sure you understand the regulations regarding electric bicycles in CA before you go. Electric bikes are becoming much more popular on all types of trails, including those found within the California State Park System.
As a result of the uptick in ebike riding, State Parks has enacted a policy regarding ebikes that went into effect in August of 2021. The policy is intended to keep electric bicycle users and those around them safe while also providing more opportunities for people to enjoy electric bikes on the many park system trails.
The key to avoiding trouble on the trails is to familiarize yourself with ebiking regulations in any area where you plan to ride. Here is your brief guide to ebiking safely and legally in CA state parks.
Definition of an E-bike
California Vehicle Code 312.5 defines an electric bicycle as any bicycle that has an electric motor of fewer than 750 watts and fully operable pedals. There are three different classes of electric bicycles (based on the speed and level of assistance each bicycle offers). These different classes of ebikes are allowed in different areas of the park (with classes 2 and 3 only allowed in certain vehicular recreation areas and public roadways or with approval through a Superintendent’s Order). Here are some details regarding the different ebike classes.
Class 1: A bicycle with a motor that only provides assistance as the rider pedals. A class 1 ebike no longer offers assistance when the bike reaches 20 miles per hour.
Class 2: This is a bicycle with a motor that can be used to power the bike exclusively (without pedaling assistance). A class 2 ebike stops providing assistance once the bike reaches 20 miles per hour.
Class 3: In this class, the bicycle has both a motor and speedometer and is designed to operate at higher speeds. The motor only offers assistance when the rider is actively pedaling and stops assisting when the bike reaches 28 miles per hour.
Where You Can Ride Your Electric Bike
Electric bicycles are limited to certain areas of the California State Park System. They are allowed on concrete or asphalt bike trails that have e-bike designations. It is important to carefully review California state laws for electric bike use in state parks before beginning riding. There are maps detailing the many different trails that are currently open to electric bike users. Failure to adhere to the regulations regarding electric bike use in state parks could result in fines or citations.
The Importance of Riding Safely
Electric bicycles are capable of reaching fairly high speeds (20 mph or more depending on the class). It’s very important to keep yourself and those around you safe when riding ebikes on state park trails in California and elsewhere. Becoming familiar with local regulations can help you enjoy a safe and incident-free experience in California state parks and avoid getting cited or fined for failure to comply with regulations governing ebike use.