Electric bike usage now allowed in Smokies after park rule change

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced a new park rule that will allow the use of low-speed electric bikes in the park.

The new regulation allows e-bikes in the park at all locations where bicycles are currently allowed. Both Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, which can provide electronic assistance until the rider reaches a speed of 20 mph, are allowed under the new regulation.

A release from park officials says the rule change will allow more people, especially those with physical limitations, the opportunity to explore the park in a unique way.

Bicycles and e-bikes are allowed on any park road where motor vehicles are allowed; seasonally closed roads; and the Gatlinburg Trail between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Gatlinburg (1.9 miles), the Oconaluftee River Trail between the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the town of Cherokee (1.6 miles), Indian Creek Trail (2.9 miles), and Deep Creek Trail (1.4 miles).

Cyclists may only use the small electric motor to assist pedal propulsion. The motor may not be used to propel an e-bike without the rider also pedaling, except in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic. More people, especially those with physical limitations, will now have the opportunity to explore the park in a unique way.

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