Bicycles and electric bikes are now allowed on several Missouri Department of Conservation service roads and multi-use trails.
In a regulation change Feb. 28, approximately 300 MDC areas and more than 1,500 additional miles of roads are open for cyclists. During the firearms portion of deer and spring turkey hunting seasons, about 30 of these areas will be closed to bikes.
Multi-use trails let horseback riders, bicyclists and hikers use an area while service roads are non-public roads used by MDC staff. Many service roads are currently used as walking paths by the public. Road conditions vary and are not maintained like public-use trails and roads.
There are still approximately 1,100 conservation areas where bicycle use is restricted to public-vehicle traffic and some multi-use trails, according to MDC. Bicycles are not allowed on service roads on department lands associated with nature and education centers, fish hatcheries, staffed ranges, offices, designated natural areas where bicycle use could cause damage to sensitive habitats, and other conservation areas.
As for defining electric bicycles, they must be equipped with pedals, a rider seat, an electric motor no more than 750 watts, and meets one of three classes, including:
- Class-1 electric bicycles are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches a speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class-2 electric bicycles are equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.
- Class-3 electric bicycles are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.
Cyclists should follow appropriate trail etiquette, such as yielding to pedestrians and horseback riders, maintaining safe speeds, staying on designated trails or service roads, and avoiding damaging trails by not riding in wet conditions.
To find the multi-use bicycle trails and service roads you can ride on, visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places. Bike trails can be searched for by using the Advanced Search feature. Service roads are identified by searching for a conservation area and then checking the online map for the area to see if service roads exist that allow bicycles.
Sara Karnes is an Outdoors Reporter with the Springfield News-Leader. Follow along with her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @Sara_Karnes. Got a story to tell? Email here at firstname.lastname@example.org.