Backcountry horsemen are very concerned about mountain trail bikes (MTB) and electric mountain trail bikes (eMTB)
The BLM, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have been directed by the Secretary of the Department of Interior to allow e-bikes where other types of bicycles are allowed, and not allow them where other types of bicycles are prohibited. This does not affect the U.S. Forest Service because it is under the Department of Agriculture.
Mountain Trail Bikes (MTB) and electric mountain trail bikes (eMTB) are specially designed for rugged mountain use. They have the ability to go fast and take the bumps. Currently most e-MTB have 250-watt motors. This helps get the rider through the not-so-fun mountain climbing portion of the day’s ride. The motors are obviously not necessary for downhill use. That is where the bikes extra-large disk brakes come into play.
On intermediate single-track trails of about 5 miles and 500 ft of total elevation gain the average speed for a MTB is 10 mph. Uphill sections average 8 mph with downhill sections averaging 12 mph. The average speed of an eMTB was 13 mph.(https://www.pedalchile.com/blog/mtb-speed) I believe if they had measured speeds in real mountains, the climbing speed would be much lower and the downhill speed much faster. Competitive riders go an average of 17 mph downhill. For Comparison, the average speed of a horse trotting is 8 mph.
It is obvious that both bicycles and e-bicycles go a lot faster than people or horses and that their speeds going downhill are probably about the same as motorcycles. If this proposal goes through It is going to waste a lot of the district rangers time trying to pacify various groups of trail users. More money and time need to be spent improving what we have.
The Back Country Horsemen of America, joined by 60 regional and national trail and recreation organizations "expressed, in no uncertain terms, their unified opposition to any change in agency policy that would authorize e-Bikes, which clearly are motorized vehicles, on non -motorized trails."
Idaho is blessed with thousands of square miles of open public land. However, access to the back country is by a network of fragile trails. Just as our roads need constant repair so do back country trails. When trails become washed out or blocked by natural downfall and overgrowth, people stop using them. Under use of a trail is as bad as over use. Horse back riders, hikers, back packers, mountain bikers, and trail runners, all share the same trail. PRBCH would like to promote cooperation among these trail users through planning, volunteer service, public education, and negotiation with government agencies.
The Federal government owns 61.6% of Idaho, only exceeded a little bit by Utah 64.9%, and a lot by Alaska 84.9%. Idaho has the greatest percent of its land in national forests 38.2%. And, while only 2.58% of the lower continental United States is designated as wilderness, Idaho contains 4.8 million acres of wilderness, 3rd largest in the U.S..