Electric Bikes On Public – Conservation Land

The purpose of this guideline is to Electric bikes:

– define electric bikes for the purpose of their management on public conservation land

– guide the development of Conservation Management Strategies (CMSs) and National Park

– Management Plans (NPMPs) regarding electric bike use on public conservation land so that the Department’s approach is consistent throughout New Zealand.

Terminology and definitions

Electric bike (also commonly known as e-bike) – An electric power-assisted bicycle is a pedal cycle to which is attached one or more auxiliary electric propulsion motors having a combined maximum power output not exceeding 300 watts.

Note: Any cycles with motors (electric or combustion) over 300 watts are classified as a motorized vehicle as per the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) definition and therefore are only allowed where a motor vehicle is allowed.

Off-road biking – The activity of riding bicycles on trails where users are separated from vehicles.

 

Shared use – Two or more activities can be undertaken in the same place.

The following process should be used to guide the development of CMSs and NPMPs so that our approach is consistent across the Department.

 

1) Consider key principles in relation to each biking trail. This will provide us with a list of proposed trails where we should and shouldn’t allow electric bikes.

 

2) Test the key principles and outcomes (list of trails) through the CMS and NPMP processes. This will allow for public discussion and consultation.

Note: The use of electric bikes should continue to be considered on a case by case basis in CMS

documents and policies as these are reviewed into the future. This could result in electric bikes

being allowed on all trails open to cycling and mountain biking, only on some of those trails, or only on roads.

 

The Department’s approach

The Department’s approach to electric bikes in CMSs and NPMPs is to:

– Enable lower powered electric bikes (≤300watts) on lower graded1 off-road biking tracks and cycle ways so that families and those less physically able can enjoy our places.

– Treat higher powered electric bikes (>300watts) as motorbikes as these are an inappropriate fit with other off-road visitors.

The Department’s approach to managing recreation is to be driven by an understanding of demand without impacting negatively on historic, cultural or natural heritage values. We will do this by providing quality accessible opportunities that meet people’s expectations as part of the wider Recreation Opportunity Spectrum.

Electric bikes are a legitimate form of recreation and demand for places to use them appears to be increasing. The Department needs to be responsive and agile to ensure it is able to meet the demand of our visitors in appropriate ways.

Electric bikes enable a wider range of users to both recreate and access places on public conservation land.

The increase in the number of people using these bikes is a positive for the Department and outdoor recreation generally as it is encouraging those who are less fit and able to get out and enjoy public conservation land. We should not be trying to stop this activity from occurring but rather focus on managing it effectively.

Minor impacts and adverse affects can occur between most recreation activities however, much research in this area has shown that perception of conflict is much higher than the reality. There are thousands of kilometers of shared use tracks in New Zealand both on and off public conservation land where the majority of users are able to co-exist. Therefore, only where there is evidence that high levels of conflict is occurring should the Department take further action.

Responsible use of bikes and electric bikes can be promoted and managed through good

information such as the mountain bikers’ code.

 

Principles

Decisions around providing for electric bike use in CMSs and NPMPs need to be made on the same basis as for other recreation activities. The purpose and outcomes for the place/track/trail, the compatibility with other recreation activities and experiences and the impacts on the natural, historic and cultural heritage values need to be considered.

The following principles should be used to guide the development of CMSs and NPMPs so that our approach is consistent across New Zealand.

 

 The Article will consider allowing electric bikes where:

 

  1. Impacts on natural, historic or cultural heritage values can be managed.

An assessment of the natural, historic or cultural values can be undertaken to make a judgment as to the impact that electric bikes may have on these environments.

 

  1. Demand is evident and likely to be sustained.

Signals for demand may include the local community, industry or visitors requesting use of electric bikes on trails. Users may also be already using electric bikes on trails where they are not permitted.

 

  1. No known conflicts occurs with other users or conflict is able to be mitigated or managed.

The correct mix of recreation activities e.g. bikers and walkers on trails needs to be considered.

 

  1. There is enough capacity on the trail.

Issues are less likely to occur on lower use tracks. Should the existing level of use not be of concern it may be appropriate to consider providing for electric bikes here.

 

  1. Where trails cross more than one land owner or manager, the approach for electric bikes is agreed by all owners/managers.

This will ensure a seamless riding experience for the user.

 

  1. Lower grade4 biking trails and cycle ways.

These types of trails may allow those that are less experienced or physically able an opportunity to recreate on public conservation lands whilst in a more typically safer front country setting than some of the higher grade trails which may venture

further into the outdoors.

 

  1. Access roads or anywhere motorized vehicles are allowed.

Under current regulations any electric bike over 300 watts is considered a motorized vehicle and can therefore go where these are provided for.

 

The Department will consider not allowing electric bikes where:

 

  1. Impacts on natural, historic or cultural heritage values cannot be managed.

An assessment of the natural, historic or cultural values can be undertaken to make a judgment as to the impact that electric bikes may have on these environments.

 

  1. Demand is not present or is unlikely to be sustained.

Signals for demand may include the local community, industry or visitors requesting use of electric bikes on trails. Users may also be using electric bikes on trails where they are not permitted. If there is no demand, it is not likely to be necessary to allow electric bikes on these trails.

 

  1. Conflicts occur with other users that cannot be mitigated or managed.

The correct mix of recreation activities e.g. bikers and walkers on trails needs to be considered. The Department may have received complaints from the public regarding current use should normal bikes already be provided for on the trail.

 

  1. Non- power assisted bikes are not allowed.

Use of electric bikes should only be considered in places where normal bikes are provided for as these trails are built to the required standard.

 

  1. Higher grade5 biking trails.

As electric bikes are typically used by those less fit or physically able, higher grade biking trails may not be well suited to the user.

 

  1. There is not enough capacity on the trail.

Issues are less likely to occur on lower use tracks. Should the existing level of use be of concern it may be appropriate to consider excluding electric bikes here.

 

  1. Where trails cross more than one land owner or manager, the policy for electric bikes is not agreed by all owners/managers.

This will create a fragmented riding experience for the user.

 

Our perspectives on e-bikes on state lands

Electric bikes

We’re champions for wildlife and habitat, but we also recognize that conservation must go hand-in-hand with healthy and equitable communities. And we share values with many outdoor enthusiasts on public lands protection and funding.

Conservation Northwest has shared perspectives to the policy advisory committee around potential impacts e-bikes have on wildlife, and both our Executive Director Mitch Friedman and I have raised questions about the implications from expected increases in ridership and biking range on public lands.

 

Given that there has yet to be thorough research noting the impacts that e-bikes have on wildlife, careful studies should be conducted to better estimate the increase of the number of trail users associated with expanding eMTB access. Lacking regulation or studies to date have resulted in the widespread impacts of e-bikes to remain largely unknown.

 

Our bottom line is that e-bike impacts on wildlife must be well understood before expanding their use in important habitats on public lands.

Precautionary principles and sound science will shape Conservation Northwest’s positions on e-bike access and regulations as they are formed by state agencies.

 

While e-bike policy takes shape at the state level, CNW will continue to advocate for wildlife in the face of growing recreation and the rapidly advancing forms of mechanized and motorized travel.

 

In accordance to our long-standing mission to connect, protect and restore, we support recreation that is careful to avoid impacts to wildlife and habitat, especially when associated with increased biking volume, range into sensitive wildlands, and any specific impacts that ongoing research documents.

 

Stay tuned for more information as state e-bike policy continues to progress. We will keep you updated.

 

If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.

Contact Form
Your e-mail
Your phone number
Please fill in the details you want to know such as product specificationd,price,MOQ,,etc.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Get Free Quote

Thanks for your contacting. We will get you back in 24 hours.