Bill would make e-bike access the default in Montana

Joshua Murdock

Allowing electric-assist bicycles anywhere regular bikes are allowed could be the norm on non-federal lands in Montana under a bill making its way through the state House. 

House Bill 261, introduced by Rep. Steve Gunderson (R-Libby), would revise state code to state that electric-assist bicycles are not motor vehicles, mopeds or off-highway vehicles. The bill would also revise state law to reflect the generally recognized classifications of electric-assist bicycles, generally referred to as e-bikes. Under the bill, e-bikes would be allowed anywhere that regular bicycles are allowed, including streets, highways, roads, bike lanes and bike or multi-use paths. That includes paths with a natural surface, like dirt. State agencies and local jurisdictions would still have the ability to restrict e-bike use on specific multi-use paths or trails.

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Riding an e-bike on one of Missoula’s pedestrian/multi-use bridges.

The bill would restrict the use of the fastest class of e-bikes, which can travel up to 28 mph, to riders 16 and older. And it would require that those faster e-bikes, called Class 3 e-bikes, have a speedometer displaying the bike’s current speed in miles per

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