Home > Blog > The Washington Legislature Passed an E-Bike Policy

The Washington Legislature Passed an E-Bike Policy

21 | Aug | '18
Ian Terry



How Do These Regulations Affect You?


Not much changes in the short term. By default, all single-track trails are closed to E-MTBs, unless signed open and specifically permitted by the land manager. We fully support this approach because it enables state, regional and local land managers to set specific use policies for their trails.

However, e-MTB sales continue to grow and we’re getting a lot of questions from new e-MTB owners on where they can ride. 


Where Can e-MTBers Ride Right Now?

e-MTB owners can use all motorized single track trails in WA state (and of course on all paved motorized trails and on surface street bike lanes).  e-MTBs are also permitted on long distance, non-motorized trails with an improved surface—like the Iron Horse/John Wayne trail.


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For e-MTB owners, there are GREAT options out there—like Devil’s Gulch and Mission Ridge in the Wenatchee Area, or the motorized trails at Capitol Forest in Olympia. 

But knowing where you can and can’t ride can be confusing, so we’ve created an eMTB reference that identifies legal trails that are a blast to ride!

Print the list guide below and enjoy your ride without worrying about upsetting other non-motorized trails users, land managers, or law enforcement!   

And, if you really want to help eliminate confusion, forward our e-MTB Trail Guide to your favorite bike shop and encourage them to print and give this flyer to all their e-MTB customers. 


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What's Next for Evergreen and the e-MTB Industry?

We’re doing a number of things to address the fast-growing e-MTB technology: 


Surveying our partner communities. For the past year, Evergreen held a number of meetings with WTA, Back Country Horsemen, and land managers to discuss potential impacts on multi-use trail access, and concerns land managers have about trail impact, speed, and user experience (among other issues).  

We continue to diligently work toward understanding how e-MTBs impact the non-biker experience on multi-use trails. Our primary research focus is non-bike trail traffic– as they have expressed the most concern over the impact of allowing e-MTBs on non-motorized trails. 


Assessing risks to MTB trail funding. We’re working with our grant agencies to determine whether e-MTB access to trails could potentially leave Evergreen ineligible for non-motorized trail grants.  

If the grant agencies don’t view e-MTBs as “non-motorized,”  Evergreen’s future grant opportunities could be greatly limited, as bike trails open to e-MTBs would no longer qualify for grants.  

We're carefully assessing any potential risk to that funding since it remains our biggest income source for trail building and maintenance.


Assisting land managers with creative solutions. We expect several land management agencies to develop access policies for E-MTBs over the next few years, and Evergreen remains a close advisor in these discussions. 

Several land managers are evaluating development of e-MTB trails closer to urban areas, as well as innovative ways to make them a reality. King County Parks—recognizing the lack of motorized trails in their parks and trail networks—is exploring options for new e-MTB specific trails in response to growing demand. 


Facilitating ongoing discussion. Evergreen is hosting an e-MTB policy discussion panel at this year’s Washington State Trails Coalition conference in Wenatchee.  Along with representatives from State Parks, Department of Natural Resources, King County, and the National Forest Service, representatives will explore existing policies, concerns, and wishes regarding the future of e-MTBs on their agency’s land.


Evergreen will continue to assist those land managers exploring ways to open the State’s first e-MTB legal trails in a safe and sustainable manner.  Stay tuned for updates, and contact Evergreen Executive Director, Yvonne Kraus, if you have any questions!