Electric bicycles raise concerns over trail access

VANCOUVER, Wash.  — A woman with a muscle degenerative disease wants to be allowed to take her electric bicycle onto mountain bike trails.

The Columbian reports the U.S. Forest Service restricts Bella Berlly's motorized bicycle to routes for off-highway vehicles like Jeeps.

People riding dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles also travel these routes.

Berlly said she wants her electric bicycle treated the same way motorized wheelchairs are.

An agency document from 2015 says electric bicycles are considered motor vehicles regardless of who operates them.

Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler wrote a letter to the Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell saying discriminatory actions are limiting access to National Forests for people with disabilities.

Forest Service spokesman Byron James said in an email that the agency would consider revisiting the issue if necessary.