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DNR considering expansion of e-bike friendly territory at state parks

The Michigan DNR is proposing to allow the use of motor-powered bikes on natural surface trails.
Himiway Bikes
The Michigan DNR is proposing to allow the use of motor-powered bikes on natural surface trails.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering allowing e-bikes on more state park trails. The changes would allow Class 1 e-bikes (e-bikes that have pedal-assistance and go up to 20 mph) to be operated on natural surface trails. Currently, they are only allowed on paved and gravel trails.

In addition, Class 2 mobility e-bikes (which have pedals but also include a motor that can provide a boost without pedaling up to 20 mph) would be allowed on paved linear trails and natural surface trails with a permit.

Class 3 e-bikes, which go up to 28 mph, would still be prohibited on state land. E-Bikes are also still prohibited from wildlife and state forest trails

The DNR is currently conducting a survey on the proposed change. “What we're looking for is information on opinions from individuals on whether this is something they would support or not support,” said Nicole Hunt, the DNR’s regulatory unit manager for parks and recreation.

The proposal will go before DNR Director Scott Bowen in May for a decision.

As for why the expansion of trails that allow e-bikes was being considered, Hunt said the decision would encourage accessibility. “When we explored that, it was a lot about providing additional recreation opportunities” she said.

She said the move would help those who can’t ride traditional pedal-powered bikes for reasons related to age, surgery complications, or disability. ”We want to make those opportunities available to those individuals,” Hunt said.

Editor's note: In the interest of transparency, we note the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is a financial supporter of WCMU.

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Alvin (AJ) Jones