Electric Bikes Welcomed To Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Ebikes at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in September 2019
Ebikes are now permitted at national parks, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park. [Afi Scruggs / ideastream]
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Riders can now bring electric bicycles into Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of a change in nationwide policy by the U.S. Park Service.

Rob Wallace, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the US. Interior Department formally announced the change during a short ceremony at CVNP on Thursday. 

“E-bikes have been appearing in national parks with more frequency, but until now, there has been no regulation that directly addressed their use,” he said.

Over the next 30 days, park superintendents will draw up usage guidelines for their individual parks. Basic policies, however, will remain the same: parks will allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes; the bikes are permitted on park roads, paved or hardened trails but not in wilderness areas.

The vehicles resemble traditional bikes and are virtually silent. But their small motors, which are less than 750 watts and run on rechargeable lithium batteries, give riders a bit of pedaling assistance.

Depending on the model, riders can dial in their desired level of help. Classes 1 and 2 add power until the bike reaches 20 mph. Class 3 e-bikes will provide a power assist up to 28 mph. The latter are still prohibited in national parks,

The new policy especially benefits riders who find traditional cycling too strenuous, including older or disabled riders said Lisa Petit, acting deputy superintendent for CVNP.

“There’s a growing user group of e-bicycles, and those are the ones who may need a bit of assistance to get out and enjoy biking. It will help them enjoy the traditional biking areas,” she said.

After the speeches, local vendors let curious riders take a spin on e-bikes.  After a short chat, most were able to pedal away.

CVNP officials won’t rent e-bikes to visitors. Riders will have to rent them from one of the nearby local cycle shops, or bring their own just as they do with traditional bicycles.

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