NPS - National Park Service

09/30/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/30/2019 13:02

National Park Service Allows Electric Bicycles in Same Locations as Traditional Bicycles in Cape Cod National Seashore

News Release Date:
September 30, 2019

Contact:Brian Carlstrom, 508-957-0701

WELLFLEET, Mass- Cape Cod National Seashore will allow electric bicycles (e-bikes) along with traditional bicycles on park bicycle trails and fire roads as provided for by National Park Service Policy Memorandum 19-01 on Electric Bicycles. On August 30, 2019 the Deputy Director of the National Park Service issued a policy on how e-bikes can be used within the National Park Service.

Electric bicycles with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.) are appearing in national parks with greater frequency. E-bikes are grouped into one of three classes. Class 1 e-bikes have a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph. Class 2 e-bikes have a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the e-bike reaches 20 mph. Class 3 e-bikes have a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches 28 mph. As a result, it is prohibited to use the motor to propel an e-bike without pedaling except in locations that are open to public motor vehicle use. Under the class system described above, this restriction applies to class 2 e-bikes only.

Superintendents may restrict or impose conditions upon the use of e-bikes, after taking into consideration public health and safety and natural and cultural resource protection. Superintendent Carlstrom said, 'E-bikes offer enhanced mobility, allowing more visitors an opportunity to get out and experience the national seashore. Bicyclists are responsible for safe operation of both traditional and e-bikes, and we will continue to monitor bicycle trails to ensure responsible use.'

Trail users are encouraged to be safe, courteous, and respectful while using the trail system.

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike. The State of Massachusetts requires all persons 16 years of age and under to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.
  • Always ride single file to the right.
  • Announce yourself when passing other trail users from behind; always pass on the left.
  • Do not speed. The speed limit on national seashore trails is 10 mph.
  • Beware of trail hazards which could include: sand, standing water, bumps in the pavement, and low-hanging branches.
  • Stay on bike trails.
  • Be alert for hills, sharp turns, and other users.
  • Walk bicycles through tunnels and under-passes.
  • If you're riding an unfamiliar bike, check brakes, gears, tires, and steering before riding it.

The intent of the new policy is to allow visitors to use e-bikes for transportation and recreation in a similar manner to traditional bicycles. All three classes of e-bikes continue to be allowed where motor vehicles are allowed in Cape Cod National Seashore.