eBikes in the Lake Tahoe Basin

Motor Assisted Bicycles:  The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has determined that motor assisted bicycles (electric, gas or diesel) are motorized vehicles. Use of motor assisted bicycles is only allowed on motorized trails. Please take a look at the Motor Vehicle Use Map at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/TravelManagement for information on where motorized vehicles are allowed.

Electric bikes or ebikes are evolving with more power, less weight and in more configurations each year. New ebikes are closing the gap between electric bicycle and electric motorcycle. Current regulations restrict ebikes to the motorized trails shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map above.

Electric bikes are a new and promising alternative form of urban transportation and potentially trail riding. Ebikes suddenly make biking a whole lot more accessible to a segment of the population who do not currently use bicycles.

Regulations regarding consumer safety do not classify ebikes as motor vehicles.  However Title 36 Part 212 Subpart A, defines a motor vehicle as such:

Motor Vehicle - Any vehicle which is self-propelled, other than:

(1) A vehicle operated on rails; and

(2) Any wheelchair or mobility device, including one that is battery-powered, that is designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion, and that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area

Subpart B of this rule requires designation of motorized trails, those trails are shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map (link above).