Dec 01

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Electric Bike Trail Etiquette

Trail Etiquette: E-Bikes

As electric bikes become increasingly durable, lighter in weight, and more powerful, they are becoming a popular form of transportation. Thanks to e-bike kits, riders have the chance to cross greater distances than ever before. While this is great for commuting to work and avoiding traffic, many riders are taking their e-bikes for outdoor adventures as well.

Off road trails and paths are a popular way for riders to exercise and enjoy nature. Traditional pedal bikes haven’t always been accepted on trails, and as people start to shift to electric bikes, it creates a new layer to the discussion of what should be allowed on trails. By following some common etiquette tips, you’ll be able to fully enjoy riding on a trail while making a good impression.

Check Your Local Ordinances

trail through the forest

Forest Trail

Not every trail is open to e-bike riders. Before you head out onto a local trail, you should check local ordinances and regulations regarding trail use. In some areas, e-bikes are considered a motorized vehicle, just like a moped. As a result, there are concerns about damaging nature and trail safety that are still being evaluated. It’s important to know if these concerns or any rules affect local trails before taking your e-bike out.


Be a Good Nature Steward

If you know your e-bike is allowed on a trail, then it’s important to check trail conditions before venturing out. Always avoid riding on wet trails. If your e-bike is leaving tire ruts they will cause erosion – ultimately damaging the trail for others. Also be sure to stick to marked trails as closely as possible to avoid disrupting sensitive habitats. Even cutting around other trail users isn’t recommended, as it can widen trails and damage them.


Show Courtesy to Fellow Trail Users

When on the trail you should always be alert to other people; whether they are hikers, horse riders or fellow cyclists. If approaching another trail user slow down and let them know you are coming up on them early. It’s also important to be patient and yield to hikers, horses, or anyone going uphill so as to not spook anyone.


Don’t Hesitate to Stop and Dismount

helmet for bike trail

Always Wear Your Helmet

Not every trail is ideal for e-bikes. There’s a list of dedicated trails available online. When using a trail that has a lot of activity you should be prepared to stop your bike and walk it in certain situations. Not only is this a good idea when passing other trail users, but also in areas where trails may narrow due to vegetation.


Protect Yourself and Others 

Finally, make sure that when on the trail you wear all of the normal safety equipment that you would when riding other bikes. This not only includes helmets and pads to protect yourself, but reflective gear to keep you visible. You want to make sure other users can see you as you approach or hit a crossroad to avoid accidents.

If you follow these simple tips you’ll be in good shape whenever using a trail. After all, you may be a person’s first experience with an e-bike. So you want to leave a good impression to encourage others to accept e-bike riders on trails in the future.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2017/12/01/electric-bike-trail-etiquette/