Bicycles, electric bikes may soon be allowed on 300 Missouri conservation service roads
Riders of bicycles and electric bicycles are one step closer to seeing expanded uses on Missouri Department of Conservation areas.
The Missouri Conservation Commission gave initial approval to proposed regulation changes to MDC at an open meeting Aug. 27.
Folks who transverse conservation areas have shared interest in allowing bikes and electric bikes on service roads and multi-use trails, according to MDC.
Cycling on MDC's approximately 1,100 conservation areas is currently restricted to roads open to public vehicles and some multi-use trails. Bicycle use is currently prohibited on service roads.
MDC staff use service roads for resource management activities. They are marked on online maps, and some are used as walking paths.
The conditions of the service roads vary and are not maintained like public-use trails and public roads, according to MDC.
The regulation change will impact about 300 MDC areas, which would allow bicycles and electric bicycles to use service roads and multi-use trails.
"Approximately 30 of these areas will be closed to bicycle and electric bicycle use during all portions of the firearms deer hunting season and the spring turkey hunting seasons," MDC said.
Service roads used by staff at fish hatcheries and other heavily used MDC areas will not allow bicycles due potential damage to sensitive habitats.
As for definitions, MDC said electric bicycles are "any two-wheeled or three-wheeled device equipped with fully operable pedals, a saddle or seat for the rider, and an electric motor of less than 750 watts and meeting three classes, including:
- Class 1 electric bicycles are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour
- Class 2 electric bicycles are equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour
- Class 3 electric bicycles are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.”
The public is invited to submit comments to MDC from Oct. 1-31 regarding the proposal.
Comments from this period will be considered and final proposals will go to the commission for further action at its Dec. 10 meeting. If enacted, the changes will become effective Feb. 28, 2022.
Sara Karnes is an Outdoors Reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow along with her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email her at email@example.com.