filed under: e-bikes and emerging technologies

Perceptions of Conflict Surrounding Future E-Bike Use on the Arizona Trail

This analysis aimed to better understand how survey respondents’ most frequent method of travel, exposure to e-bikes and other factors shape their opinion of this new user group and where there may be potential for user conflict.

Presented by:

Event Details

** This event has passed **

October 29, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:00 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:00 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost:

  • CEUs are FREE for this webinar.
  • Note:

    Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
    Learning Credits
    are available for this webinar.

    Webinar Sponsor

    This webinar is free to the public, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Arkansas Department of Transportation.


    Webinar Outline

    ABSTRACT: The majority of e-bike related research has taken place on city streets, often outside of the United States, and has focused on e-bikes as a form of transportation with recreation as a secondary function. This type of research provides little insight into the potential outcomes from the 2019 U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Order 3376, which may allow e-bikes to be used on non-motorized recreational trails.

    This study gathered opinions from individuals who were knowledgeable about and connected to the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT). Comments were solicited in reaction to Secretary Bernhardt’s e-bike statement via the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) Facebook page and the ATA email newsletter. Quantitative data was collected by way of an online questionnaire and distributed via the Arizona Trail Association (ATA) Facebook page, the ATA email newsletter, as well as the email lists for Arizona members of People for Bikes and Back Country Horsemen of America. The questionnaire asked about e-bikes and their use on the AZT. The analysis aimed to better understand how survey respondents’ most frequent method of travel, exposure to e-bikes and other factors shape their opinion of this new user group and where there may be potential for user conflict. Our findings only reflect the opinions of our pool of participants and should not be assumed to represent the opinions of Arizona Trail users at large.

    The majority of respondents disapproved of e-bikes being allowed on the trail. This sentiment remained true across the board for each of the major user groups; however, mountain bike riders surveyed were less likely to disapprove of allowing e-bikes on non-motorized trails, and equestrians surveyed were more likely to disapprove. Findings also showed that experience with e-bikes improved tolerance for e-bike use on non-motorized trails amongst survey respondents, but on average exposure alone was not enough to create favorability. Survey responses also strongly suggested a polarized divide between the pro-e-bike and anti-e-bike camps, where both sides are highly reluctant to sympathize with the opposing camp’s argument, which could lead to conflict.

    Learning Objectives:

    • Understand the varying opinions that non-motorized user groups may hold towards e-bikes.
    • Learn how to differentiate between the three classes of e-bike.
    • Hear the latest update on how federal land agencies are regulating e-bike use.


    This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

    Questions & Answers

    Webinar Resources

    More resources:

    Arizona Trail Association


    Webinar Partners


    Matthew J. Nelson, Executive Director, Arizona Trail Association

    Matthew Nelson is the Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association. Among his contributions to the Arizona National Scenic Trail over the past 20 years are trail design, archaeological surveys, trail construction, and explorations of the AZT on foot, mountain bike and horseback. He accepted the position of Executive Director in 2012 and is helping guide the organization as its primary goal shifts from building trail to protecting, maintaining, promoting and sustaining the trail as a unique encounter with the land.

    Matthew has worked as an outdoor educator, professional backpacking and mountain biking guide, archaeologist, Native American tribal liaison, editor and freelance photojournalist. He has more than 500 published articles to his credit and is the primary author of Your Complete Guide to the Arizona National Scenic Trail and the Arizona Trail Junior Explorer Handbook.

    An explorer of high mountains, deep canyons, vast deserts and diverse cultures, his wanderlust has led him to nearly every continent in search of adventure. Matthew speaks fluent English and Spanish and lives in the Sierrita Mountains southwest of Tucson with his daughter, Mariposa.


    Jake Baechle, Lead Researcher, Arizona Trail Association

    Jake Baechle has 8 years of trail maintenance experience including both motorized and non-motorized trail construction. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and numerous outdoor non-profit organizations.

    In addition to being the Lead Researcher for the Arizona Trail Association’s recent e-bike publication, he also authored the Arizona Trail Day Hiker’s Guide. Jake holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Park and Resource Management.

    In his free time Jake has completed three national scenic trails with his spouse Karrie, including thru-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail and Arizona Trail.


    Closed Captioning

    We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES PDH)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

    Learning credits are free for American Trails webinars and are either free or a $15 fee for other conferences, webinars, or workshops.


    While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff.

    More Trainings by American Trails