news E-Bikes to be Allowed on Marin Headlands Trails, Fire Roads Under Proposed Rule Change

Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)–which manages the Marin Headlands–is proposing to amend park rules to allow e-bikes on all roads, trails, and fire roads already open to bicycles.

In areas closed to motor vehicles, the park’s rule change would limit e-bike riders to pedal-assisted power only (the use of throttles would be prohibited). Like all people on bikes, e-bike riders would be expected to obey speed limits, which are 15 MPH on most pathways, trails, and fire roads, and 5 MPH when passing other trail users. 

The rule change comes after National Park Service (NPS) last month issued a directive to its parks–which include GGNRA and Pt. Reyes National Seashore locally–to identify trails suitable for e-bike access. Pt. Reyes National Seashore has not yet released its proposed rules.

“In recent years, e-bike use has become more popular, providing opportunities otherwise not available to some park visitors,” said Charles Strickfaden, Communications Director for GGNRA. “We look forward to working with the biking communities and all of our partners to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for e-bike users.”

GGNRA is accepting public input at until November 27, 2019. See their recent Press Release for more information.

Our Stance

The introduction of e-bikes on our trails, fire roads, and pathways understandably raises several questions around their compatibility with other user groups. We are promoting a fact-based dialogue as agencies at all levels consider how, and under what conditions, e-bikes should be allowed.

At this time, Marin County Bicycle Coalition will focus on education and highlight the many benefits of e-bikes, especially for Marin’s parents, aging population, and anyone looking for a way to reduce car dependence, lead an active lifestyle, and access public lands. 

MCBC supports the adoption of e-bikes for several reasons: 

  1. E-bikes remove barriers to bicycling. E-bikes flatten hills and enable people to cover longer distances in less time, making bicycling more accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities.

  2. More people on bikes equals fewer people in cars. Whether on roads, pathways, or trails, every person on an e-bike is someone who isn’t in a car. That’s a good thing for public health, traffic congestion, and air quality.

  3. More people on bikes equals more people enjoying parks. As more people are able to access and enjoy our public lands, the more support we will have to protect these lands and expand trail access.

  4. Studies show e-bikes have roughly the same impact on trails as traditional bicycles. In addition, they facilitate access to remote less-visited park areas, reducing stress on primary trails while improving public access to remote trails.

We encourage all interested parties and stakeholders to work together in a productive, inclusive and open-minded conversation as Marin’s land managers gather data and feedback on e-bikes.

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