So it’s clearly advantageous to use a hunting electric bike, but where can you use one? All states allow them in some fashion. But because electric bikes are equipped with motors, some states treat them similar to a moped, dirt bike, or other Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV). Regulations can also vary depending on the size of the motor and how the bike is operated (e.g., throttle-only or pedal assist). In some cases, you may need to legally wear helmets while operating them, be a certain age to operate them, or carry separate registrations, licenses, or insurance.
Further complicating matters, federal lands can have different regulations than state lands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) all manage different types of federal lands. On August 29, 2019, the Secretary of the Interior issued Secretary’s Order 3376, which determined that all electric bikes up to 750 watts could be used to access most federal lands (e.g., national wildlife refuges, national parks, recreation areas, etc.) anywhere a regular bicycle could be used. It does not apply universally to all national forests at this time. This same Order also defines three classifications of e-bicycles:
- Class 1: Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches a speed of 20 mph.
- Class 2: Bicycle equipped with a throttle-actuated motor, which ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches a speed of 20 mph.
- Class 3: Bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the e-bike reaches a speed of 28 mph.