E-Biking in Bend

Be E-Bike Aware

E-Biking in Bend, Oregon

E-biking in Bend, Oregon is becoming increasingly popular and e-bikes are popping up more and more. From speedy e-commuters zipping around town on their way to work to e-mountain bikes rallying quickly along motor-friendly dirt roads and e-bike specific trails. Many people have an absolute blast on them because they’re fast, efficient, and easy to ride, opening up the world of biking to so many people.

If you love to ride e-bikes or are looking to try one out on your next vacation to beautiful Bend, Oregon, then you definitely need to know the rules and laws around e-bikes in the area, especially on our trails.

Where you can and cannot ride your e-bike

The facts about the legality of e-bikes in Bend

How does Oregon define an e-bike?
A pedal assist e-bike is a motorized vehicle when on dirt trails. This is the federal law definition. By Oregon state law definition, it is not a bicycle when it is not on the roadway. So in Oregon, a pedal assist e-bike is not a bicycle when you’re on trails (off the roadway). This is an important distinction and helps clarify why e-bike laws are a little different here.

Where can I ride my e-bike around Bend?
Gravel and dirt roads that allow motorized vehicles. If you are permitted to drive a car or a motorcycle on it, you can absolutely take your e-bike! There are many scenic and serene gravel routes that will get you into nature and away from the hustle and bustle. Our buddies over at Hutch’s bike shop have put together a helpful list of a few e-bike friendly gravel routes.

OHV trails are open to e-bikes, like the Millican OHV trail system east of Bend which is on BLM land. Currently, the BLM does not allow e-bikes on their non-motorized trails. This means areas like Horse Ridge, Cline Butte, and Maston are closed off to e-bikes. At OHV areas like Millican, e-bikes must follow the same rules as any other motorized vehicle on these trails, so an ATV permit/sticker is required. Make sure to be aware of other vehicles like motorcycles and quads on the trails — you’ll hear and see them much quicker than they will you. Move to the side, give a friendly wave, and let them go by so you can get back to riding.

Class 1 (pedal-assist only up to 20mph) e-bikes are allowed at the East Hills Trail Complex in Madras, about an hour north of Bend. Here you’ll find a fantastic flowy singletrack trail system with tons of options for beginner and intermediate riders with a few more challenging rides mixed in.

Where can’t I ride e-bikes in Bend?
The US Forest Service has banned the use of e-bikes on all USFS trails in Oregon, where motorized use is prohibited. This means that all of Bend’s singletrack is off-limits (illegal) for riding e-bikes. Phil’s, the Wanoga Complex, the River Trail, Horse Butte, Swamp Wells, etc.. These non-motorized trails are located on USFS land and therefore e-bikes are not allowed. If a car or motorcycle can’t be on it, neither can an e-bike because of how they’re defined.

Oregon State Parks also do not allow e-bikes. Smith Rock and Tumalo State Park don’t allow motorized vehicles on trails, so you guessed it, that includes e-bikes.

Our friends at Bend Trails not only provide valuable information on current conditions, routes, and juicy local intel, but at the top of each trail description you’ll see whether or not a trail is legal for e-bikes.

Please note these regulations do not come from the Central Oregon Trail Alliance. For 25 years, COTA has been maintaining and building trails in Central Oregon and works with the USFS and the BLM under a Volunteer Agreement, but they are not the ones that decide where you can or can not ride an e-bike.

Where can I rent e-bikes in Bend?
There are a few local bike shops offering e-bike rentals. For commuters and around town bikes check out Bend Electric Bikes and Let it Ride Electric Bikes – Tours and Rentals. For mountain bikes check in with Hutch’s, Sagebrush, and Project Bike.

E-biking laws in Bend, Oregon can be a complicated and much-debated issue among locals and tourists alike. Who knows what the future will bring, how our trails will change, and where you might be able to ride e-bikes in the next few years. But for today, there are laws. So, let’s be kind, respectful, educated, and stay on designated trails.

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