In many cases, E-Bikes, Electric Bicycles, Electric Mountains Bikes, etc., are not allowed to be ridden on Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) campgrounds. This is largely due to arguments whether or not e-bikes are motor vehicles, and if licensing and registration is required. But like with everything, it depends…
Are E-Bikes Allowed on Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds?
For starters, there is no ACOE federal regulation that specifically identifies e-bikes as being banned on their projects. However, the ACOE does have a rule that requires all vehicles to be operated in accordance to federal, state, and local laws…
Vehicles shall be operated in accordance with applicable Federal, state and local laws, which shall be regulated by authorized enforcement officials as prescribed in § 327.26.CFR Title 36 § 327.2 Vehicles.
The ACOE at large has held the opinion (though not official rule) that e-bikes are motorized vehicles, and thus requires licensing and/or registration. This is why many ACOE camp hosts have approached campers and told them their e-bikes are not allowed.
The Issue with E-Bikes Has to do With Licensing and Registration
If your e-bike has been registered and/or licensed by a government-sanctioned authority, then the ACOE cannot enforce a ban on your bike. This is based on the ACOE’s very own rules that require all vehicles be operated in accordance to federal, state, or local laws. See quoted regulation above.
- Even in cases where an ACOE district has specifically banned e-bikes, their rules make exceptions to those that are registered or licensed.
- The reason why is because the ACOE has a federal regulation that requires state and local laws to apply. See CFR Title 36 § 327.26 State and local laws.
- If a camp host tells you that your e-bike is not allowed, and there are no posted rules prohibiting e-bikes in that campground, then you can cite the above State and local laws regulation in your defense, and compel that camp host to appeal to ACOE officials.
Inconsistent Enforcement Between One Campground and Another
Because the ACOE has not adopted official rules for e-bikes on the federal level, it has left each district, project, and campground to make its own judgement on how to apply the vehicle operation rule quoted above.
Each ACOE district is permitted to set rules of its own, and some of them already have. Yet, many other districts have still not issued any rules for e-bikes.
ACOE Districts That Have Enacted Rules Specifically for E-bikes
- ACOE Rock Island District enacted a ban (click here to read) on its Mississippi River Project Area, with the exception of e-bikes that are licensed or registered.
- ACOE Wilmington District issued a policy (click here to read) for W. Scott Kerr Dam & Reservoir that only Class 1 E-bikes are allowed on its recreation area, with no mention of requiring licensing or registration.
- ACOE Fort Worth District issued a policy (click here to read) that allows Class 1 E-Bikes on all of its recreation areas for all of its projects. This includes all roads and trails where standard bicycles are allowed. The only exception is for trails rated for intermediate or high difficulty.
- ACOE New England District issued a policy (click here to read) on its Cape Cod Canal Recreation Area (Masschusetts), that Class 1 & 3 e-bikes are permitted in all areas. Only Class 2 e-bikes are banned.
- ACOE Pittsburgh District issued a ban on e-bikes (click here to read) on Tionesta Lake.
- ACOE Mobile District issued a ban on e-bikes (click here to read) on Tennessee Tombigbee Water recreation lands.
- ACOE New Orleans District allows e-bikes on its Indian Bayou Area (click here to read), but only marked roads and trails.
The remaining ACOE campgrounds and recreation areas still have not adopted any rules for e-bikes. The general consensus is that only those e-bikes that have been licensed and registered are allowed. However, there are still many ACOE campgrounds and recreation areas where enforcement is lax, and you’re still likely able to ride your e-bike without being hassled.
If There Are No Rules Banning E-Bikes, Can I Still Ride Mine?
If there are no posted rules banning or restricting the use of e-bikes, it’s reasonable to assume you can ride it. Based on the fact that the ACOE applies state and local laws on its lands, as long as your state and county allows you to ride your e-bike, you’re safe to assume you can ride it there.
If a camp host tells you that e-bikes are banned in that campground, or recreation area, ask them to show you the posted rules, or hand you a copy of the printed rules. If the camp host cannot back up their claim with proof, you’re well within reason to challenge them. The camp host must appeal to ACOE officials. A camp host does not have the authority to force you out of the campground nor confiscate your e-bike.