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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Disabled rider challenges electric bicycle ban on national forest trails

Electric-powered bicycle.
Electric-powered bicycle.

TRAILS – A woman with a muscle degenerative disease wants to be allowed to take her electric bicycle onto mountain bike trails.

The U.S. Forest Service restricts Bella Berlly’s motorized bicycle to routes for off-highway vehicles such as Jeeps, the Columbian reports.

The routes in question also are open to travel by motorized dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles.

Berlly said she wants her electric bicycle treated in the same manner as motorized wheelchairs.

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.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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