“GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Calif. — I recently violated federal law high in the Marin Headlands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
How? By riding an electric bike for a mile along the Julian Trail, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The trail is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
It was an accident. That old fire road is part of a vast regulatory muddle involving (a) a global boom in e-biking, especially among travelers; (b) a sudden move in August by the Trump administration to ease e-bike access to public lands; (c) an opposing lawsuit by environmental groups; (d) the labors of dozens of national park superintendents to tailor the new policy to their parks; and (e) National Park Service red tape.
As it turns out, e-bikes are multiplying faster than public agencies can make rules to regulate them, with estimated U.S. sales of $144 million in 2018. Consulting firm Deloitte predicts 130 million e-bikes will be sold worldwide in 2020-23.”