Will Burning Man Ban e-Bikes? Up to YOU.

This post has been updated as of July 23, 2023.

Author’s comment: Thank you all for the recent feedback from readers. I apologize for creating a panic. The post has been updated to reflect current guidelines on e-bikes, which are the same as in previous years — but with an emphasis on the 5 mph speed limit throughout Black Rock City. Thank you all for taking this issue seriously.

The recent criticism of e-bikes at Burning Man has been incredibly pointed, and at times emotional. Despite many members of the community urging us to do so, we don’t want to ban e-bikes in Black Rock City — not just because outright bans feel draconian (not to mention the logistics of enforcement), but because we deeply believe in leaning on community values and expectations to improve everyone’s experience. Truth is, we hate bureaucracy as much as you do, and aren’t inclined to behave like an unnecessarily oppressive government entity. Rather, we’d prefer to share the bare facts with you all, and humbly ask for Participation and Communal Effort in service to Civic Responsibility.

This is a post in our 2023 Back to Black Rock City series — covering a spread of topics we hope get you excited as you prep to head back to the dust.

Black Rock City is best discovered at a pace that lets the best-kept secrets and unplanned surprises of the city (and there are oh-so-many!) reveal themselves. If you go too fast, you miss many of our ephemeral city’s hidden wonders and surprise encounters: whimsical treasures of the backstreets, understated art, spontaneous new friendships, popup events, and parties with secret entrances. Have you found Golden Guy Alley?

And WHO in their right mind would want to miss all that goodness? Are you really in Black Rock City so you can go zipping by, from one thing to the next? These are the deep questions we ask ourselves when we witness e-bike-riding Burners flying past without a care in the world for the serendipity and Immediacy that’s springing up all about. The 5 MPH speed limit in BRC exists both to keep us all safe and to help us savor all that our city has to offer. 

Burner on electric bike, 2022 (Photo by Ludovic Nortier)

Where Are We Now?

Burning Man is and has always been a bike-centric culture, and BRC is a walking and bike-friendly community. Did you know, dear Burner, that Black Rock City has more bikes per capita than any city in the world? (BRC is currently under consideration as an official Bicycle Friendly Community through the League of American Bicyclists!) One of the things we love about our bike- and pedestrian-friendly city is its safety. Black Rock City participants can let their guards down and cherish the moment without being bowled over by a speeding idiot. Until now.

One of the newest trends to emerge in BRC in recent years is the proliferation of electric modes of transportation on our city streets and the open playa — most notably, electric bikes, or e-bikes. After the 2022 Black Rock City event, participants sent Burning Man Project an overwhelming volume of feedback about how their fellow Burners were operating e-bikes. 

Concerns about excessive speed:

“The proliferation of e-bikes on playa seems to cause an issue with speeding — many riders are going fast and are a danger to pedestrians particularly at night.” 

“The 5 mph speed for e-bikes needs to be enforced or else just don’t allow them — they go really fast and present a danger to everyone, especially at night.” 

“E-bikes are not observing the 5 mph speed limit.” 

E-bike drivers were dangerously inattentive:

“E-bikes should be flat out banned on the playa during the Burn — too dangerous, too many altered and inexperienced riders, accidents waiting to happen, or have happened.” 

A risk to others:

“The e-bikes were really a hazard this year! People rode them at high speeds on the streets and into crowds around art pieces, without consideration for endangering others.” 

A noticeable negative shift in BRC’s pedestrian- and bike-friendly culture:

“E-bikes are having a negative impact.” 

“E-bikes suck and no one goes 5 mph, no one. I am tired of dodging these things like Neo — they cultivate literally the antithesis of immediacy.” 

“We have gone from a wonderful bike-based, slow-moving community to a high-speed, electric motorcycle city — the entire vibe of the place was different this year [2022] due to this.”

THIS IS NOT OKAY. What’s more, many fellow Burners — e-bike drivers, and a high number of pedestrians and cyclists — were injured in 2022 because of e-bikes.

So what are we — and YOU, Black Rock citizen, going to do about e-bikes?

5 mph Speed Limit — for Everyone

The 5 mph speed limit has been in place for decades; it exists for the safety of our community and the protection of our roads. It applies to everything that moves in BRC. Pedal bikes, mutant vehicles, staff vehicles, and any electric modes of transport, including e-bikes — are all subject to the 5 mph speed limit. 

E-bikes in particular have made speeding more of an issue and much more common in recent years, because speeding on an e-bike is so easy. 

Why does speed matter? Aside from the very obvious issue of safety in the crowded city streets and the busy parts of the open playa (near art pieces, the Man, the Temple, a passing parade, or anywhere crowds gather), you miss BRC if you move quickly or don’t stop. Don’t forget to explore the back streets!

e-Bike Theft

The next part of the e-bike puzzle is that e-bikes are valuable and attractive to thieves. Even with high-quality locks available today, reports of stolen e-bikes in BRC are in sharp rise. 

Still Thinking About Bringing an e-Bike to BRC?

Before you invest in a new form of transportation for BRC, ask yourself: should I bring an e-bike to the playa? We acknowledge that e-bikes make the city accessible for folks who otherwise find it hard to get around BRC, so for some, the calculation may be “yes.”

If you decide to bring an e-bike to BRC, you agree to operate under these parameters:

  1. Keep speeds at or below the 5 mph limit — everywhere!
  2. Watch out for pedestrians and other cyclists — everywhere!
  3. Remember to stop, get off, and explore — everywhere!
  4. Respect and listen to those who raise concerns — all the time!

Be forewarned: if you don’t abide by these basic guidelines, you may be pulled over by law enforcement or Black Rock Rangers, and your e-bike may get impounded.

Rangers chatting with a couple that was speeding with an electric bike, 2019 (Photo Jamen Percy)

What is Permitted, and What Is Not?

This section has been updated as of July 23, 2023.

There have been guidelines regarding e-bikes in Black Rock City for many years. When this post was published, it initially did not accurately reflect the existing rules. The post has been updated to be accurate for 2023. As stated above, the primary aim for e-bike regulations for Black Rock City 2023 is to have riders slow down. Watch this space and our other channels after the 2023 event for any noteworthy changes for e-bike regulations for Black Rock City 2024 and beyond.

In Black Rock City, e-bikes must conform to the following definition of “electric bicycle:”

  • Generally recognized as a bicycle
  • 2-3 wheels
  • Working pedals
  • Electric motor, up to 750 watts
  • Top-rated speed up to 20 mph with a 170-pound operator
  • Does not include mopeds

These guidelines were written before e-bike classes began to be recognized. If we need regulations for e-bikes in BRC in the future, we may re-address these guidelines. If you are buying a new e-bike, Class 1 is a good place to start.

Don’t Be a Dick — Slow Down

Controlling speed in Black Rock City, e-bike or not, can be a challenge. In the wide-open playa, it can be tempting to go fast.

As a close-knit community, it’s our responsibility to work with each other to solve collective problems. And as you saw from the community-generated feedback in this post (just a smattering of the overwhelming amount of critical and concerned feedback we received about e-bikes after the 2022 event), e-bikes have become a problem in our city. Our hope is that the BRC community can hold itself accountable and do the right thing when it comes to any safety issue.

We have considered the various options, but we know it’s better to rely on the community rather than the organization to solve the problem. So before we create prohibitive e-bike rules in BRC, confiscate e-bikes at the Gate, require e-bike registration, or connect incidents of speeding to your camp performance (all potential solutions that have been asked of us to implement), let’s try this: 

Let’s solve it together. Whether on an e-bike, pedal bike, one-wheel, unicycle, or mutant vehicle: don’t be a dick, slow down.

Cover image of sunrise joyride, 2022 (Photo by Kate Beale; Graphic design by Deets Shay)

About the author: Charlie Dolman

Charlie Dolman

Charlie Dolman (aka Louder Charlie) oversees event operations in Black Rock City, including Emergency Services, Gate-Perimeter-Exodus, the Black Rock Rangers, BRC Department of Public Works, Community Services, the Cafe and Ice services, the Department of Mutant Vehicles, and on-the-ground Art operations. He also oversees the Special Recreation Permit Burning Man holds with the U.S. Federal Government during the event season. As part of this role, Charlie sits on the Black Rock City Operations Management Board, the Budget Committee and the Executive Committee. He also chairs the Event Operations Team and Event Leadership Team meetings.

155 Comments on “Will Burning Man Ban e-Bikes? Up to YOU.

  • CocoNut says:

    Hey BurningMan Org. It’s your job to curate the environment, set the infrastructure and determine the rules. Banning e-bikes is well within your remit. Just do it, give a one year notice. We are with you.

    Report comment

    • Jumping Nomad says:

      I’ve been e-biking on the playa since 2017 and I would hate to see a ban (though I don’t see how it could feasibly be done) so I for one will be EXTREMELY proactive this year at trying to convince speeders that they are ruining the experience for themselves and everyone else. I already have a megaphone that I can put to the task and I now have a fog horn on order to assist as well.

      I encourage other e-bikers to be proactive and talk to anyone you see speeding. My experience has been that most people do not want to be an asshole, When you point out to them that their behavior is coming across as rude and inconsiderate, they are almost always extremely receptive and apologetic. Im looking forward to helping naive e-bikers see the error in their ways, and help them become considerate citizens of BRC! ❤️

      Report comment

    • Thomas Monroe says:

      Yes, this. E-mobility only for the mobility challenged, however that needs to be implemented.

      Report comment

      • Karen Drevo says:

        I agree that e-bikes should only be for those who are mobility challenged. I realize it will be hard to manage, though. The people who are racing by others are dangerous, especially at night.

        Report comment

      • MS says:

        Mobility challenges aren’t always immediately visible. I’m a veteran of well over 20 Burns. This year, lung irritation from Covid in June (yes, I’m fully vaxxed), turned into pneumonia in both of my lungs. Recovery has been slow, and my body tires very easily. It’s nothing visible—it’s all internal. I want to bring an eBike this year, because I’m afraid I’ll become exhausted riding a regular bike.

        Point being, I hope that no one harangues me if I use an eBike, simply because I don’t *look* physically challenged. And of course, I will respect the 5 mph limit. I’ve seen plenty of people speeding on Playa with traditional bikes too, and have been crashed into by them. Don’t be a dick no matter what you’re riding or driving.

        Report comment

    • Charles Tucker says:

      The noise of generators recharging e bikes is another problem. And the fumes.

      Report comment

    • Safety 3rd! or 4th or 5th says:

      Don’t be crazy CocoNut. E-bikes will remain un-banned until something really really bad happens. And don’t think simple broken bones and hospitalizations are enough, those already happened many times, last year. Also don’t think that people getting tickets, then getting DUIs, then being brought back to their camps with probably cause to search, then getting entire camps busted will be enough. Death or paralysis might possibly get a ban passed. What will 100% get a ban is when BM loses a law suit because the danger is inherently understood, but isn’t reasonably self avoidable. So just be patient in the mean time and stop bumming everyone out with your ‘safety’ concerns.

      Report comment

    • Speedometer says:

      There is no “WE” you are in that alone.
      Banning ebike is like banning Mutant Vehicle.
      It’s stupid.
      You don’t ban something because it has the potentiallity to go faster than 5mph. Or you ban ALL bikes.
      Freaking boomers and there ban on everything. Educate people instead.

      Report comment

      • tony says:

        Regulate, regulate……Regulate. Another brilliant decision looming.. Like the sad rationalization to take Coffee out of Center Camp (now a Ghost Town). Eliminating E-bikes will be one more act killing the freedom of the once Great Burning Man

        Report comment

      • walton says:

        What is being missed is many of the class three bikes are programable via the very thing they are outlawing (bikes with screens and throttle control). We programmed all ours to maintain the 5mph speed limit. If the rider wants to go faster they will have to pedal faster, which brings me to my next point. I saw more non E-bikes speeding last year than I saw E-bikes period. So if e-bike ban is necessary than perhaps ALL bikes should be banned.

        Report comment

  • Lawrence says:

    I say if the trend continues and people will not self police, then next year, there should be a requirement that E-bike users be able to prove that they need one for permanent mobility/ accessibility conditions ONLY, or those who have mobility issues and can demonstrate their needs that show that they absolutely can not get around without an electric conveyance. They would be required to Pre-register for the accessibility license before they get to the event.

    All other able bodied individuals will not be able to bring in an E-bike, simply for convenience and comfort. Require each valid E- contraption to have the license fully visible, so that they can be easily identified and shown that they are in compliance with the rules.
    The @$$holes will have ruined the privilege of being able to use this technology responsibly and the community should no longer have to tolerate their crappy behavior.
    Just like trailored in ATVs and motorcycles, the people who try to sneak them in should be turned away and sent back to Reno to remove the no longer allowed machines for average people.

    Report comment

    • Marcoco says:

      So you want to put a badge on anyone with a disability so you can clearly identify those that have disabilities and those that don’t? Do you think before you vomit your anger? And you want to be the “judge”?

      Report comment

  • Papa Penguin says:

    Well said. Here’s to hoping people listen and slow it down and take it easy, while also remembering it is better to be late than never (etc).

    Report comment

  • Dani says:

    I appreciate this post, but I am skeptical it will help at all.

    For one – the people speeding on these things don’t give a rats ass about community – as evidenced by what occurred last year. This is kicking the can down the road.

    Secondly – you mention 5 mph for all vehicles – pre-E-Bike, the worst offenders of participants were the staff vehicles, specifically, the golf carts. People driving those wouldn’t even slow down if you asked them nicely. they kicked up dust and one even flipped me off when I asked them to please slow down. Put governors on them. Do it now.

    Report comment

    • Infored says:

      I agree on staff golf carts. I can’t tell you how many times I have eaten their dust as I am walking or peddling my bike around. It starts at the top. The blatant disregard of staff in golf carts has irked me for years. They act like they are just too important to slow down even when asked too. If I had an elite, I would have a hard time complying with this request.

      Report comment

    • Mike says:

      Golf carts were another major issue last year. On several days, the air was so stagnant that you could barely see the Man or Temple from the Esplanade. If the particulate pollution had been measured, it would have been among the top most polluted cities in the world. The Golf Carts and speeding E-Motorbikes, were the main culprits in kicking up all the dust.

      Report comment

  • Drag0nfly says:

    I totally understand the views shared. I plan on making my trike an e-bike for health reasons. Definitely not for speeding but simply to be able to get around and see more than I can without a e-bike. I hope the rules will be enforced for everyone’s safety.

    Report comment

  • Elorrum says:

    Most e-bikes, even lower wattage, especially diy kits have a throttle and can motor without pedal assist. Instead of making an adjustment everybody can accept and work with, for safety, you’ve made a new rule that will be considered a joke, (many attendees do not even read anything on this website) Many I believe will ignore the ebike class restrictions. Will they be checking for throttles on e-bikes at gate?

    Report comment

    • Thomas Monroe says:

      Gate volunteers won’t all be trained to know what a throttle is, and they won’t have time or energy to go through all of the bikes that come in piled onto trailers, while 2,000 vehicles are on gate road anxious to get in. I feel it’s going to be more about enforcement within the city.

      Report comment

    • Jackster says:

      This class 1, 2, 3 thing kind of took me by surprise. I’ve been looking at ebikes, but never even heard about the classification until now. I agree it could be confusing (it is to me) and probably difficult to enforce. I’ve also watch them tearing across the plays blowing dust at breakneck speed. It’s a mess.

      Report comment

    • Jackster says:

      …I’ll just add that nobody’s said anything about fires. Lithium batteries in the sun and 110+ degree heat? I’m surprised we haven’t heard more about that. I just hope no one parks one of those things next to my tent.

      Report comment

      • Snoop says:

        The new LifePO4 Batteries are extremely safe, it was the older LI-ion batteries that had a safety risk. I drive around with LifePO4 all the time and they come with built-in battery management that shuts down power if there are any issues. You can even puncture them.

        Report comment

  • Tom (the Bishop) Andrejko says:

    I am all for an e-bike ban . I have witnessed reckless use of them 2022.

    Report comment

    • Philip Sager says:

      I agree, except for those with documented accessibility/disability issues, Ebikes and E-scooters should absolutely be banned. The folks violating the rules do not care

      Report comment

  • GirardotDelCamino says:

    Heck, makem register 120 days before the low income ticket application closes, with brand and model, serial number, photo of the vehicle, front and side, original purchase receipt, divers license and passport of the pilot, require a GPS tracker sold by The Org, to track speed and location, require registration at DMV, and chargem’ a non refundable voluntary donation, plus deposit, with credit card on file, and require exit inspection in order to receive the deposit back minus EBPIF (e-Bike Playa Impact Fee) and conduct speeding satellite record review to collect fines for all instances of speeding over 5 MPH, calculated in 15 minutes increments. But thats just me. Maybe do the same to all bikes with gears / speeds, and only allow one speed cruisers. Yellow, no wait, green, oh, Im so confused )”(

    Report comment

  • Redtail says:

    I am disabled and I can only get around on an e-bike with a throttle.
    Without it, I will not be able to attend burning man.
    Please allow e-bikes for the disabled.

    Report comment

  • Anne says:

    And for those of us who use an e-bike with a throttle for mobility reasons?
    Will we be turned away at Gate?
    Is Gate now going to have to be trained in recognizing different classes and dealing with the fall-out?

    Report comment

  • With all due respect.

    To stay balanced on a 2-wheeled bike, especially on the playa’s texture, there is a minimum speed you have to pedal.

    For most people, of medium fitness, that minimum speed *starts* around 5mph. I’m not talking about electric bikes – most of the ordinary bikes moving safely about BRC – the ones no one is complaining about – are either stopped, or moving above 5mph.

    For context: 5mph is the speed of jogging. If jogging (think speed, not effort) seems too slow when you think about how far away things can be on playa, you understand why bicyclists don’t go that slowly. My first day ever on playa I tried to get everywhere by just jogging. I quickly realized why so many people use bikes. It wasn’t because I was tired.

    Immediacy. I don’t own a car in default world, I bike everywhere, and even pedaling as fast as I can, I get the sense of immediacy and connection with my surroundings that I don’t get in a car – just like walking. I have plenty of time for my brain to just sit and notice things while I wait for my legs to fully advance the bicycle to a different scene. I think “lack of immediacy” is a bit of a disingenuous argument against ebikes. I suspect it’s only coming from the folks who haven’t actually ridden an ebike on playa. Not that you should, if you don’t want to.

    5mph was just never a realistic speed limit. 10mph would be taken more seriously, and is more enforceable. It’s probably about where the enforcement is happening already.

    The class-based restriction is arbitrary. I brought a bike last year that was Class 3, because well, I’m not wealthy and that’s the only ebike I own. I used it to go the same speed as the normal bikes, if not slower. So the fact that it has big bad motorbike capabilities did not matter in practice. What did matter was that a bike of that class has a big battery – meaning I could e.g. explore the outer limits of the city at sunrise, something I wouldn’t have even contemplated doing on a non-electric bike. Not every inch of playa is brimming with blink-and-you-miss-it… out near the trash fence it’s miles of nothing.

    I was also able to haul heavy loads for my camp, which was a huge help for the community. Repeatedly, without tiring.
    This was because of my class 3 ebike.
    The kind that is apparently banned this year.
    Because some burners went too fast last year, and ebikes got blamed.

    Report comment

    • Regina says:

      Omg! Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive comment! I 100% agree. It’s almost impossible to bike at 5mph even on a regular bike. It’s a speed I get to on a very steep hill in SF…

      It’s hard to take current speed limit seriously. It should be a reasonable number – 10mph.
      And huge +1 that banning certain category of bikes only because they have throttle doesn’t seem reasonable.

      Report comment

    • Sue Vans says:

      I totally agree with Connor. The blurb above says this Journal post is supposed to get us excited, but it’s actually making me depressed and anxious, having purchased an inexpensive folding Class 2 e-bike a month ago for this years burn. I was irritated by people speeding last year, too. But I tried a friend’s e-bike and loved it. My plan was to go out to far flung areas along the trash fence, airport, and outer burbs, which I never have the time or patience to do on a regular bike. Also, now that bikes can’t be picked up on Playa, and since rear bike racks are functionally illegal in Nevada, it is incredibly inconvenient for tent campers to get a bike out there without renting a truck. I thought I’d finally solved that problem with my folding e-bike. I was never going to go faster than a typical bike. This feels really autocratic.

      Report comment

    • Sound Man says:

      Yay for interjecting some reality into this conversation. Your points are unique and spot on. I’m afraid that considering 10mph could never happen due to fear that people will just go 5 miles an hour over what is posted, just like in the car. But, I still think that 10mph would be a better step before banning e-bikes. Also, the “no speedometers” rule is ridiculous. No one knows the difference between 4 and 7 mph without a speedometer.

      Report comment

    • Anton Cauthorn says:

      Yes this. 5mph is ridiculously slow. When you have an absurdly low speed limit, it will be ignored and violated by nearly everyone on a bike. The speed limit needs to be increased for bikes to make it enforceable.

      Report comment

      • Yona Appletree says:

        This 100% the fact that the post doesn’t mention that normal pedal bikes easily go faster than 5mph makes the whole thing hard to relate to. It makes sense for cars, but I wish we could have a realistic conversation about bikes.

        Report comment

    • mournlight says:

      Totally agree. I have a trailer on my ebike and made many trips of many things back and forth for camp and staff. Having the ebike also makes the difference for me after suffering gunshots – there are scars that hurt with excessive pedaling that no one can see – so folks should not be so judgmental. I also think I went faster on the non ebike than I do on the ebike. The ebike allows me to pedal so gently. On the non- ebike, I had to get up speed to get through the dunes. It’s about the driver, not what they are driving. The two wrecks I witnessed last year were both non-ebikes. The drivers were just going too fast. People just need to respect one another.

      Report comment

  • A.J. Jennings says:


    All e-bikes equipped with a throttle are banned?

    You change the rules and make this announcement at the end of July?

    I built my electric trike to the posted rules as of yesterday.

    Wow, you’re going to need a much bigger D-Lot.

    I have two tickets and one vehicle pass for sale.

    Report comment

  • Ben says:

    No pedal bike goes 5mph limit… Make it fair and limit any bikes to 15mph and we are good. With 5mph you make all movement useless and there must be considered, that sometimes you go from a to b (e.g. for shift) and sometimes you stroll to explore.

    I the first case I also don’t check for other things and just pedal to get there. I haven’t used a ebike on the Playa before but planned to do so this year. Please revoke the decision and consider 15mph for any bike.

    Report comment

  • Bill Paxton says:

    I’ve seen more people disobey the speed limit on pedal bikes, hit pedestrians, wipe out, nearly collide with my camps art car. But it’s easy to wag the finger at ebikes and say “those damn kids!”.

    Report comment

    • Edgi says:

      We all ride 10-15 on the Playa and in BRC. At least sometimes on our regular bicycles. It’s not the Ezbikes fault the Burner doesn’t have speed sense. In most cases it’s easier to ride faster 10-15 mph when the sands is loser.

      Report comment

  • Francis Wenderlich says:

    “We have considered the various options, but we know it’s better to rely on the community rather than the organization to solve the problem.” Then how about you bring back the cafe ???!!! make a poll and we’ll vote on it , ok?

    Report comment

  • Colin says:

    This new restriction puts me in a tough place – my partner has a chronic neurological disorder that makes biking long distance impossible, but they aren’t eligible for an accessibility pass for their electric assist trike because they don’t need a handicap placard for driving. We are artists and need to visit the art multiple times daily, and I’m just not sure what to do now.

    Report comment

  • Slow Flash says:

    I’m someone who plans on bringing out my e-bike this year for the first time. I’ve had 3 major back surgeries and am currently facing a two level dial replacement. Getting around is a lot harder than it used to be. Outright banning e-bikes seems counter to the ethos of radical inclusion.

    In years past, where conditions allow, I’ve easily ridden my standard beach cruiser 18-20 mph with no issues. Restricting speed everywhere on playa to 5 mph also seems a bit draconian. This means I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rest of the people riding unassisted bikes in my party. As with anything, there will always be those who abuse any and privileges afforded to the community. ($20k Pay-to-play mega camps, anyone?) Allowing safe and reasonable use to those who need them seems appropriate. But what do I know.

    Report comment

  • Jason says:

    A regular bicycle is easily casually ridden at 10 mph, and 15 mph is not hard to reach. 15mph is the speed limit on my local bike trail. I have seen many people on regular bikes speeding across the city over the years. Yes, e-bikes do make it easier to speed.

    Last year was my first year with a ebike, which I got because I’m in the Playa Pops Symphony and have to pull a wagon of heavy percussion equipment all over the city including out to the temple to perform for you all, and it made my life much easier.

    When I wasn’t pulling equipment, I pedaled while using the motor, so while I may have exceeded 5 mph, I was going only as fast as anyone pedaling a regular bike.

    Report comment

  • Papa Bear (not the placer) says:

    I‘m a little concerned that this change is being announced so close to the event – many people may not see this article, and the survival guide and the Vehicle Rules and Protocols pages have not been updated to reflect it. This could lead to a lot of issues at gate.

    If you do not enforce this at gate this year, I hope you will consider doing so next year before you consider banning Class 1 e-bikes as well. It would suck for people responsibly using only pedal assist to lose out because of a lot of problems that may be caused by supposedly-banned throttle bikes.

    Report comment

  • C-47 says:

    I don’t speed, I will follow whatever rules are decided upon. But there is NO MENTION anywhere 30 minutes of ardent searching on the BM.org website can provide that even mentions Class 1,2,3, a system that is not used anymore. Nearly every e-bike sold today is a class 2. If this antiquated class system is to be used, it should be announced, advertised and well known, since I have rode a class 2 since 2017 with no incidents, and am always seeking to be compliant and more importantly- safe and unharmed. Speeding is in the intention, not the vehicle. I can pedal my normal much faster than 5 mph. Please share WHERE on the BM.ORG website this classification RULE (rule? At BM?) is mentioned.

    Report comment

  • Casey says:

    What about people with legitimate health needs, are you going to make them spend extra time an energy jumping through hoops just so that they can enjoy their time out there? That seems to go against radical inclusion principle. And before you say people easily get a health exemption, ask yourself what that looks. There a numerous health issues that aren’t clearly defined and aren’t widely agreed upon as being a disability by our terrible health care system, are we going to ask them to try to get a Drs note!? So people with long covid, people that struggle with weight, simple or sudden injuries, or even mild asthma might decide not to go because it’s too difficult to get around and just as difficult to get registered as disabled. I personally will be bringing a e-bike for the first time; the reason, I’ve been struggling asthma symptoms for months and I don’t feel I have the energy to bike and enjoy myself.

    There are always going to be selfish-aholes at Burning Man. We can’t make rules just because some people can’t be bothered to think of others. In my opinion Burning Man is not the org and the rules it makes, it is all the people that make up this community and who put in the effort to raise a city out of the dust. It’s up to the community to police itself, otherwise we’re no better than any other festival.

    Report comment

  • Noteen moffett - chainsaw says:

    And those with mobility issues will be marginalized yet again. I have an ebike for this purpose, along with a state disability placard. It the fools who ruin it for the rest of us who need to be stopped.

    Report comment

  • Lorna Rickard says:

    Agree with all that’s been said. An accident with an e-bike would likely ruin my Burn. It’s not fair to the rest of us. Please ban them.

    Report comment

    • Blinding says:

      People on regular bikes go around the same speed as people on e-bikes in my experience. E-bikes also provide a ton of mobility benefits to getting around our big city. Im thankful most of these comments are people actually critically thinking about this and disagreeing with the article.

      Report comment

  • Dominic R. says:

    I think this is the right call. A ban on Class 2 and 3 will significantly help. The worst of the worst speeders were not pedaling at all.

    Report comment

  • MT says:

    29 days until build week and you announce restrictive class-based rules like this? That’s absurd. It doesn’t address the actual reckless riding or speeding issues, but rather just makes it a “you have to pedal to speed” problem. And people will continue to abuse e-bikes until you ACTUALLY START STOPPING AND TICKETING THEM. Most class 2 bikes can have their max speed set to a specific MPH, and as many have noted, the people who are the worst offenders DGAF about our culture or other people out there. All this does is screw over responsible e-bike riders that might have gotten a class 2 bike long before this rule change because so many of them come with throttles nowadays. Unreal. ‍♂️

    Report comment

    • Don says:

      So true. Last year while I was working I watched countless numbers of ebike riders go flying past law enforcement officers that were stopped and talking to each other. They did nothing to enforce the speed limits or even attempt to stop the riders and ask them to slow down. With the amount of virgins each year I don’t see how asking the community to police themselves will help at all.

      Report comment

  • Junglesmacks says:

    WHOA. In one obscure journal post, you’re claiming to completely alter years of experience bike policy by at the 11th hour, claiming that nothing but a class 1 bike is allowed?!?! When survival guides stating otherwise have already been printed and mailed as well as opposing information stating otherwise is all over the BORG website?? ***FACT CHECK NEEDED ON AISLE 9***

    Report comment

  • HP says:

    So the addition of a throttle makes a bike illegal — why? Class 2 goes just as fast as class 1. Most people already own class 2 and have invested a lot of money and time in decorating them.

    Report comment

  • Mike says:

    What about bike riders speeding about over 5 miles an hour?

    Report comment

  • Bean says:

    If class 1 and 2 only vary with the option of peddle assist, how is this new “rule” not exclusive of all who may need to use their bodies and machines in varying ways to participate?
    What is the main principle we are trying to preserve and how are we moving forward as an inclusive community when banning the movement or nonmovement of legs/ pressing of a thumb on a machine? Vs cognitive understanding of 5mph and individual freedom to participate based on their own means.
    I am all for safety and concern of all participants. However, ebikes allow many of us to independently experience and participate with playa in ways never before (except if you’re grateful enough to find an artcar to hop on. But again, those don’t allow the “freedom” of individual needs, desires and immediacy an ebike, even of class 2 can offer).
    Additionally, how can you be okay with this change this now, a month out from when many start to arrive/travel? After many of the participants spent hard earned dollars on a machine to help them embody this culture more, only to be told, your newfound playa dreams are already squashed and your bike doesn’t fit our new standard. How does that align with diversity and inclusion of all your participants and their daily lives in the default to make this event a reality?
    And lastly, how will you enforce this?

    Report comment

  • Ryan says:

    When did class 2 e-bikes get banned?? There is nothing about that in the survival guide. This is the first I’ve ever heard of it. My wife and I bought class 2 e-bikes for this years burn – why are we finding out about this now? What happens to people who show up at the gate not knowing about this? Do they get turned around?

    Report comment

  • Snarf says:

    So, I understand some of the reasoning behind this- but this will basically restrict my ability to burn. I have a chronic orthopedic issue- it’s not bad enough to consider my disabled by most standards, but it limits my mobility on playa. Part of my issue is in fact pedaling as it’s a foot/ankle issue.

    These bikes made the playa more accessible for a lot of people. I hope the org is ready for an influx on handicapped permits. I wish we could just enforce the rules we already have rather than dreaming up new ones.

    Report comment

  • Martin Cline says:

    Nothing like a dick move. One month before gate opens and you effectively ban ebikes. Welcome to Burning Nanny.

    Report comment

  • Jolly Holly says:

    It is hard to find a type 1, most of them are type 2. Ebikes and trikes really help those of us with mobility problems who just need assistance getting from A to B. Without, I would never get to the Temple or past my camp. I have tried to flag down art cars etc but got passed by. I also have gotten stuck walking too far and not being able to get back due to my disability. I got an ebike so I could be independent. It has made all the difference, but I have had to dodge the speeders, and it sucks they ruin it for the rest of us.

    Report comment

  • Ben Jones says:

    So just to be clear, you are denying 100s of people Accessibility Access even if they do have a Placard as ‘Two-Wheeled vehicles of any kind ‘ are not eligible for Burning Man DMV “Accessibility Vehicle” (AV) licenses. For those disabled, the throttle makes it possible to ‘get the bike rolling’ and then it can be used with peddle assist. Please let your attorneys and accountant know that we will be filing an official complaint with ADA.gov

    Report comment

    • Bill Fridl says:

      Ben, Are you soon going to be demanding special access for your comfort animal? The Playa’s a desert; it’s made of sand. It’s a difficult environment; it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s sandy, it’s crowded. Lots of people can’t cut it. They don’t whip-out the threat of litigation.

      Report comment

      • Ben says:

        This is about accessibility, not comfort. You legally can’t take this away from people and it’s a dick move to do so a month before the event. The point is to continue to make the event accessible, that’s all. Clearly the rule makers need to be made aware of the law and thus the reason for the post. ( In addition to emails sent to the org)

        Report comment

    • Ted says:

      Bull shit. The speeders were young , able bodied and ravers as seen with my own eyes. They were on electric motorcycles and scooters. They won’t stop speeding, ever. This post is not a war on the handful of people who use e-bikes for a disability.

      Report comment

  • Ben says:

    Please update the “Accessibility Vehicle” (AV) license rules to include ebikes with throttles. Thank you

    Report comment

  • Jane says:

    It bears mentioning that many PAS bikes immediately try to jump you up to a specific speed the second you start pedaling. That speed is usually around 7mph.

    If you are disabled then bring proof of having a disability placard to the DMV. They will give you a sticker, and that sticker can go on just about any vehicle. That will overrule this ban and keep you mobile. I haven’t gotten a sticker previously because my ebike is within the previous rules. I’ll need one this year, obviously.

    Report comment

  • Brian says:

    Are you going to actually update the documentation at the official vehicle policy page? Or is this just going to be buried in a journal entry somewhere that very few people will actually see before arriving at the playa?

    I’ve spent the last month modifying my self-built e-trike that’s been out to ~4 burns before, so that my 4 year old kid can ride on it with me on her first burn this year.

    I had read the official bike policy docs to ensure I’m compliant.

    We’ve spent the last few weeks with my kid helping me measure and cut plywood, build the rear bench, and such. The bike doesn’t have a pedal assist option (motor is ancient and no spare parts available that are compatible)…and it’s not really driveable due to size, without at least some e-assist (I’m hauling 2 people and a bunch of gear for kid, and a sun canopy, and such).

    Funny thing is — I do have a class-1 compliant e-bike that I use at home, but wasn’t planning to bring to the burn. It is a much faster and more powerful e-bike than my non-compliant trike, even operating fully in class-1 mode (in pedal assist mode, it almost immediately jumps it to 20mph when pedaling starts, using the optional throttle is my only easy way to go 5mph on that bike).

    Report comment

  • Lindsay says:

    It’s unbelievable to me to have this edict issued 32 days before I’m scheduled to arrive for an art build on playa. 2023 was to be my 9th burn. I’m in my 60s. I have balance and mobility health issues requiring a trike for safety. I purchased the most stable and comfortable e-bike I could find for the burn last year. The trike was not cheap for someone on a fixed income. It’s an Admotor trike with a throttle and pedal assist. I totally prefer to use the pedal assist which is set on the lowest setting. I wish to go slow and DO go slow on my bike trips at home and last year on playa.
    I don’t think I can now do my planned jobs as build and LNT moop mistress for the art project without jeopardizing my health getting myself to and from the build.
    I have witnessed EVERY single type of transport out there exceed the 5mph limit. We all need to slow down.
    Gate is going to be pissed off for sure this year.

    Report comment

  • Sam says:

    This is a huge hurdle for those of us with disability issues and is most stressful to those of us who need it the most. I’m leaving for the burn in a little over a week, I don’t have time to find alternate options. I have a theme camp, art project and staff department that I contribute to, taking away my ebike will effectively stop me from participating in at least two of those because I can’t get across playa to where they are.

    Report comment

  • rstar says:

    Rules without enforcement are basically just suggestions. Maybe focus on enforcing the 5mph before making more suggestions that you also don’t have the bandwidth to enforce.

    Report comment

  • Edward says:

    It isn’t clear if this is an opinion piece or a clear rule change under Electric-Assist Bicycles (eBikes) and an article that makes it seem like this is a rule change vs opinion (I am not clear what it is) this close to the burn is going to cause a lot concern Yes there are people who abuse it like anything else. However, there are those like myself who use it and are doing so in a way to reduce harm and work withing the even rules.

    Report comment

  • Arislyn says:

    I am a disabled veteran and I bought an ebike for this burn since my disability has finally progressed to the point it is very hard to pedal a normal bike for me.

    I read all the rules and there were absolutely no rules specifying class anywhere to be found. So I bought the bike 2 weeks ago. Now I see it is banned, according to this blog.

    What do I do now?

    Report comment

  • Gary Parsons says:

    Congrats on expanding the 12th principle: radical vilification. Just to let you know, I’ve been responsibly using an e-bike on playa since 2015. I’m now almost 80 years old. Isn’t weird to tar everyone who has an e-bike with the brush reserved for assholes who express themselves in any number of ways, INCLUDING just regular fucking bikes that are ridden too fast with careless disregard. Beware contributing to the yearly demonization culture.

    Report comment

  • Bam says:

    You can’t change the rules AFTER you sell the tickets.

    It’s not the vehicles that are the problem, it’s the inconsiderate riders/drivers who drive too fast. A few reckless assholes shouldn’t change things for the rest of the community.

    Find a reasonable speed limit for all bikes and vehicles, including staff cars.

    Report comment

  • Christena234@gmail.com says:

    If art cars would offer more lifts it would help after all art cars and mutant vehicles get STEWARDS tickets for this reason(a LOT of them I asked). I am an old lady who limped all over burning man, including the deep playa, 2022 and NOT ONCE would an art car or mutant vehicle ask if I’d like a lift even as they went speeding in the direction I was going and rangers kept asking if I needed a hand. To make it worse few if any bothered to show up at the “stops” burning man provided and to a one refused to even make “eye contact” even as rangers chased after me asking if I was ok. So I will bring my e-bike follow safety rules and I dare you to tell me I can’t because it would spoil your enjoyment. And ORG how about a little extra lean for the stewards tickets or like us they can buy their own.

    Report comment

    • Sandra Pritchard says:

      THIS!!^^^ Every year I have asked and been denied access with mumbles about “private” this n that. I guess I didn’t make the grade as a sexy Sparkle Pony. Last year I got hurt on Tuesday, ended up on crutches, and got passed over time and again. The only way I got to the Temple Burn was to beg one car for a ride.

      Report comment

  • Keru says:

    I would be quite happy with 10mph for pedal bikes and ebikes on open playa, 5mph in the city streets, and 5mph for vehicles everywhere with exceptions for emergency response.

    Report comment

  • Mirror Man says:

    What kind of drugs you people taking? Yeah 5 mph looks good on paper, but what’s the real world at BRC? No one, I repeat, No One in BRC, goes 5 mph, not even pedal bikes. Everyone goes faster than that, typically 10 mph for the safety-minded, and plenty of staff and golf carts way in excess. The most dangerous thing has always been people on unlit bikes at night. I suppose we’re supposed to be doing “The King Wore No Clothes” about all in excess of 5 mph.

    Report comment

  • Martin says:

    1. No one reads here. All official guidelines are not updated.
    2. it is too close to the burn.
    3. I bought a class 2 bike specially for this burn, coming from europe. What do I do now? Return it? or just bring.

    I guess I will just bring it like tens of thousands of others and expect no one to see me anyways.

    remove this rule.

    Report comment

  • DWB says:

    Not cool. At 64, I was pretty reluctant about being able to enjoy BM. But my wife wants to go so we tried and got tickets. I am not in very good health and the ebike was a way that we would be able to enjoy BM. I bought a class 2 ebike, the same one that someone bought like 16 of to rent to burners. I thought we were compliant, but all of a sudden we are not. I really don’t know what to think.

    Inclusiveness seems to be pretty ridiculous with the incredibly high cost to attend. I like the idea/concept of BM, but I swear you are really restricting my ability to explore away from my camp.

    Report comment

  • Rio says:

    Are you going to put hundreds if not thousands of confiscated Ebikes in E lot? Come on. Get real.

    Report comment

  • Plus One says:

    Well, they better run this new policy past Legal, because it wasn’t mentioned before we all bought our tickets and it isn’t mentioned on the back of my ticket that Type 2 and 3 (who made these distinctions up) are not allow in the event. These e-bikes are legal in Nevada and thus legal at BM albeit limited to 5 mph which is the legal speed regulation in the event that has always existed and will continue to exist. And while guns and fireworks are not permitted, that is clearly spelled out on the backs of the tickets we’ve bought and it is there for a reason – notice and a contractual term. Good luck with that.

    Report comment

  • HoneyBee says:

    I don’t see how enforcement will fix this problem. The city is too big and the problem is too widespread. I do know that some of those speeding golf carts are on their way to an emergency, medical or otherwise, but not always. And there’s no excuse for bad behavior, staff or otherwise.

    We all agree to the 5MPH speed limit when we buy our tickets. Let’s be adults and slow down.

    Maybe we need something like the “darkwad” reproval aimed at unlit Burners at night. Any suggestions?

    Report comment

  • Craig Jensen says:

    I built an old 3 wheeler 7 years ago. It has been to 4 burns with zero issues. I am over 70. Now, 3 weeks before we leave for the 3000 mile drive to gate, Bmorg says I cannot bring my method of transport to the playa? I am one of the “old farts”, pretty normal in my driving. I see the fat tire bikes driven by the P & P camps are generally the problem. So, do I go back to pedaling? Can’t. Sell my tickets and VP to try and recoup my investment? I spend a year and a lot of money in prep for the burn every year. Dick move, Bmorg.

    Report comment

  • Peter says:

    You can not balance and pedal safely on a 2 wheeled bike at less than 5 mph until you are coasting to slow down. Every bike is going faster than 5 mph. Rarely is there a speedometer on a playa bike with the exception of e bikes.
    Last year several of us tested this on the playa. 5 mph is too slow.

    Report comment

  • Warren Peace says:

    We dont need anymore rules. We have rules. 5 mph is already the rule and it covers this problem nicely. Those who broke that rule will continue to break it.

    The real problem is two-fold:
    1). Education.
    2). Enforcement.

    BMORG does well in re #1.
    BMORG positively sucks in re #2.

    The real answer is to simply enforce the existing rules. Exclude serious or repeat offenders from future burns. If you seriously hurt someone due to obvious and intentional breach of the rules, you get ejected from the event.

    Adding another layer of glop to the Rules is just silly when you dont enforce the rules we already have.

    Report comment

  • Whoops E Daisy says:

    e-bikes – yikes! The best way to deal with banning e-bikes is to wait until someone on an e-bike hits someone not on an e-bike at 20mph+, and then the victim gets paralyzed. That might be possible at lower speeds, but 20mph+ is plenty enough for a horrible result. Since we all know that there is no chance of banning e-bikes until real blood is spilled, let’s just kick back be chill. Also, most likely it won’t be even you, and probably not even anyone you know. Zoom Zoom!!

    Report comment

  • Bill Waters says:

    The playa is entirely flat. Nobody needs an e-bike at Burning Man unless they have legitimate mobility issues, which they can document and use to apply for an ebike license.

    Everybody else can pedal ffs.

    Report comment

    • Edgi says:

      It’s the Burner Going plus 5 mph not the E-bike.
      Too many rules and limits for “Radical Acceptance” to be applied we all will be better off accepting that some burners whether on regular bikes or E-bikes going over 10-15 mph. It’s easier to ride a regular bike faster on sand than slower (5 mph). I can see riding an E-bike slower for not having fear of boring down in the sand.
      I ride regular bike and definitely ride faster than 10 mph on average speed if the sand is deeper.

      Report comment

  • richard says:

    The last unite rule change is the dumbest move I have ever seen. The conflict that this “newsletter” has created is the very definition of SHIT STORM! Now I am an outlaw because I have a bad knee and use a throttle on my trike?! Yesterday I was all set to go and now I am being told I will be rejected at the gate?! Do I want to support a shit show?

    Report comment

  • Murray says:

    Could everyone actually read the article? While stating class 2 and 3 are not permitted it also says this will be enforced by LE and Rangers. They won’t be looking at every ebike, only those being reckless. If you crash or are caught speeding a banned bike it will be impounded, so don’t.

    Report comment

  • AleXander Fancy/Smartypants says:

    Doesn’t even address the damage to the terrain that ebikes do. And the additional generator filth.

    Ah, if only a couple of decades ago the same questions and reasoning had been raised regarding RVs — then the festival (yes it is) wouldn’t have become a suburban campers RV event.

    Someone said – “if you don’t like it go to Coachella, they have showers and food courts”. Well, now everybody has RV showers (with grey water pickup) and the plug’n’play (oh yes they’re still there!) have their own chefs. Time to get off the high horse and stick with the fact that at least it still remains a no-trace-event.

    While Burning Man wanted to bring change outside itself, the Default World was steadily infiltrating and changing Burning Man. Look up this fact up on your cellphone when you’re on the playa — Convenience and Comfort are the new principles.

    14x burnmudgeon.

    Report comment

  • Monster says:

    Throwing my hat in on this burning nanny bull too. This is stupid and reckless like always, class 2 bikes HELP a lot of people with medical issues. Screw your rules I’m gonna start breaking multiple rules in retaliation to make this one ignored.

    Report comment

  • Sheldon says:

    Hi, I turn 77 at Burningman this years. After 10 days on the Playa last year (I help set up camp), the night of the Temple burn, I just couldn’t do it, so left. I have been attending for over 20 years. I also couldn’t keep up to go on many of the rides with my camp members, couldn’t keep up or go the distance in the heat. Nope, I am not out of shape, am in excellent health. With aging, it’s simply that you can’t do the things you used to do, each year, at a certain point, there is a decline in strength, reality. I have been sooo stoked, just got an E-Bike from Walmart and I’ll be keeping up with my camp members. In a sense, to exclude e-bikes is to cut out older Burners. Sure, bust folks for speeding, but don’t cut out the E-Bikes, take into consideration, older Burners.

    Report comment

  • Berto says:

    This is an unenforceable and draconian attempt to control. This will be my fourteenth burn-and for over a decade, and this year as well, I will be able to hop on my mountain bike, blast the pedals and cruise across the open playa from 2 to 10 o clock at 20 miles an hour if I so choose. It’s aboht being RESPONSIBLE. I’ve commuted on a bike in Los angeles for 5 years. I know how to handle my shit on a bike at speed. I’m aware of my surroundings. The barrier to entry though is you couldn’t be a lazy fuck.
    Now with e bikes there’s no barrier to entry. We all have to be RESPONSIBLE.
    This all boils down to. DON’T BE A DICK

    Report comment

  • JohnnyJet says:

    5 MPH signs are every where – people see them and ignore them – all over not just at the Burn – Change the number – to, say 6 1/2 MPH and watch more people pay attention to their speed.

    Report comment

  • Rox says:

    What? Wait! Last minute change? Not right. Level 2 bikes, even with throttle attached, do not move faster than level 1. Many of us use the throttle to get the bike moving due to disabilities. I, myself respect and love my fellow burners and would never be an idiot trying to harm another by excessive speed. Idiots are idiots even while riding non assisted bikes or other vehicles. Why punish the do-gooders for the poor behavior of others? Please correct this and allow level 2 ebikes for everyone who enjoys a nice, 5 mph ride to view art across the vast Playa, or at the very least for the disabled.

    Report comment

  • Griz says:

    Ridiculous to state “policy” weeks before the event.
    Swifties also almost had their preschool plastic bracelets banned in N Cali because some idiot tossed on stage at a recent show.
    Enforce speed rules and let folks try and traverse this immense temporary city as they can. I blew out my knees last year in that shitty hot, windy and rutted dusty river bed and found a previously BRC used e-bike to help haul my 63+ year old overweight and depleted corpus across the great divide. Enforce reasonable rules and let folks self monitor as well. I seem to recall that’s the basis of this whole mess ?! Excluding ADA and mobility limited folks is what will happen here and that wrong. Last minute “policy” declarations also seem wrong and foolish. Remember we are a community not a dictatorship !

    Report comment

  • Larry Winn Boywitt says:

    I have worn the Kaki for 16 burns and as have reached my 70’s I’ve invested into a DIY e-bike kit and converted my well used mountain bike to allow me to keep giving back to the community that I so love while keeping up and peddling with my younger partners. All DIY conversions seem to be throttle controlled. I had hoped to make many more burns but with this it seems unlikely.

    Report comment

  • Tammy Remington says:

    I’m not seeing anyone mention how the huge increase in ebike usage absolutely destroyed the streets in 2022. I’ve never seen the streets so badly rutted and difficult to navigate due to the enormous increase of heavy ebikes.

    Add this to the ubiquity of cell/device accessibility, the prevalence of RVs, and the increase in billionaire compounds to complete the transformation of Burning Man to an edgy suburban checklist item.

    Report comment

  • maxwell says:

    I’ve ridden four different ebikes over the years, either class 2 or 3’s. I’ve found that on the lowest pedal assist level 1 all those bikes went about 10 mph. I had an ebike on the playa in 2018 and found that the only way I could stay at a speed that matched the flow of regular bikes in city streets (~7 mph) was by holding my thumb on the throttle in a low position and not peddling. It looks to me, from my own experience, that banning bikes with a throttle will make staying at the speed limit of 5 mph impossible.

    I recommend folks remove their throttle, if they can, so that they pass any inspection at the gate and re-attach it before use on the playa. I also recommend that ebike users ride at safe and responsible speeds depending on the situations around them at the time, both on playa and in the real world.

    Report comment

  • Gary says:

    Two weeks after Burning Man I am having both knees replaced. I could not attend Burning Man without an e-bike. I wonder if there is a ‘Handicapped’ placard Burning Man could give out to keep me from being hated while I ride around on my e-bike. I guess I will make one of my own!

    Report comment

  • Kate Russell says:

    We all agree to go 5 mph when we accept our tickets. It doesn’t matter what sort of a vehicle we are on.

    Report comment

  • Dr. Baron von Realz, Esq. says:

    E-mobility only for the mobility challenged!

    Report comment

  • Bernardo says:

    e-Bikes are the next evolution of cycling; there’s no putting that rabbit back in the hat. e-Bikes have opened up the far reaches of the playa, made the miles and miles of avenues more accessible (not less), and have enabled more mobile-impaired folks to experience all that our community and event has to offer. Quit vilifying the riders, and instead blame the individual bad actors. Our everyday culture has become a symposium of censure, ridicule, and public trolling, for everyone we don’t agree with. Burning Man is an escape from that condemnation. Please let’s not let that kind of bigotry infect our desert-haven.

    Consider these simple rule for ALL bikes:
    1) Keep speed under 10mph in the city – this has pretty much been the speed everyone considerately rides all bikes at anyway; 5 is just impractical.
    2) On the open playa, ride at a reasonable speed and be hyper-aware of art installations, cables, cords, and people!
    3) At night, if you’re going to be riding fast, affix a headlight or have a headlamp. It is your responsibility not to run into dark-walkers, not the other way around

    Report comment

  • Jane says:

    I’m returning to comment again because I’m confused.

    Per the Survival Guide currently I read the following-

    “For your ebike to be allowed in BRC, it must:
    Be generally recognized as a bicycle
    Have 2-3 wheels
    Have working pedals
    Have an electric motor, up to 750 watts
    Have a top rated speed of no more than 20 mph with 170 lb. operator
    Not be a moped”

    However, in the above you state, “Tl;dr: Class 2 and 3 e-bikes are NOT permitted in BRC!” That is an unequivocal statement not reflected in the current survival guide. I question if this is an actual change or only grandstanding.

    I also question whether or not Black Rock Rangers are permitted to impound bikes. That seems so far outside the scope of our Rangers. Additionally, as participants themselves Rangers are required to also abide by that speed limit. Frankly put, how are they going to catch a speeder?

    I see that you carry a large amount of influence and power inside BMORG and are speaking from that position of power. That said, this reads like a unilateral decision. I can’t imagine others involved in making BRC run all signed off on this. Some clarification is certainly needed.

    Report comment

  • Danny says:

    So where do I find a class 1 e-bike for sale? I can’t find them on Amazon and online bike shops. They’re all class 2 or 3!

    Report comment

  • Roberto Dobbisano says:

    walk if you can, or pedal if you can.

    if you can’t because of health reasons, just stay at 5 fucking miles an hour.

    jumping jesus on a biscuit, clothes-line the offending speeders with a big rubber sex toy, then maybe they’ll get it…

    Report comment

    • A.J. Jennings says:

      ‘clothes-line the offending speeders with a big rubber sex toy’

      Funny, but, yeah, please don’t do this.

      ‘jumping jesus on a biscuit’

      That’s a little safer and much funnier.

      Report comment

      • roberto dobbisano says:

        sorry, but if a fucknut riding a one wheeler at 25 mph comes whizzing by me, he or she is getting the large double sided dildo in a manner fir which it was not intended.

        Report comment

  • Bill F says:

    To me, e-bikes are like guns, bad things are just waiting to happen – especially with lots of night action, substances, tens of thousands of newbies (!), etc. I would never allow anyone under 30 to bring either of those devices to Burning Man. (I added the “under-30” hoping that that might placate the many comments claiming medical necessity.)
    Heck – I’d require a $1000 refundable license assigned to the e-bike. You get pulled over for speeding, half that money goes to the police force pulling you over, the other half to the local tribes.

    Report comment

  • Louis Jules says:

    Top 10 comments on e-bikes.
    1. 5 mph is a non realistic speed limit. You can’t even balance a bike at 5 mph. You need to go at least 8 mph in order for your bike to make through the playa’s rough surface. Cruising speed on a regular bike is 10 mph
    2. No one stays under the 5 mph limit at the playa. Not even the staff. At 5 mph you wont even get to experience 1/10 of what the playa has to offer specially if you are over 50. You will die pedaling in the 120 degrees.
    3. Instead of prohibiting e bikes, bikes, art cars… why not trey to raise the speed limit to 10 mph and fine everyone that exceeds it. You can use the fine money to hire more staff and enforce the site limit.
    4. You can’t change the bike laws and not allow class 2 and 3 bikes at last minute and after everyone has already bought their tickets and bikes.
    5. You will have a massive increase in disabled and injured attendees if you only allow disabled and injured attendees to use e bikes. Are you going to hire doctors and nurses to work the entrance to see who is really disabled or injured?
    6. Where are you going to find experienced bike employees to examine 50,000 bikes and how are they going to know what bike is what? There are a million e bike brand and models. How much longer will that make the wait to get into the playa?
    7. A regular 10/15 speed bike can hit 20 plus mph. There are more people speeding on these bikes than on e bikes. Are you also going to ban those also?
    8. What about art cars that go over 5 mph? I have seen some do over 20 mph? Let’s prohibit those too.
    9. Prohibiting e bikes because of a few reckles idiots that dont control themselves is like prohibiting drinking because of some drunk idiots who don’t know how to control themselves?
    10. Drugs, alcohol, the playa surface, sand storms, pitch darkness, and carelessness have more to do with playa accidents than anything else but let’s keep blaming the e bikes for now until we can find something else to blame.

    Report comment

  • Jed says:

    Your e bike classes don’t make sense. There are ebikes that have small displays that tell you your speed but are limited to 20 mph. Some have an ability to go much faster but no throttle. Just enforce the speed limit and stop trying to classify everything.

    Report comment

  • Mike says:


    I am OPPOSED to any restriction on e-bikes, regardless of class.

    Radical Inclusion and Personal Responsibility are what is in question here.

    Report comment

  • Dav says:

    Just go slow!! 5mph…

    Report comment

  • KittySparkle says:

    As a pedal powered cyclist I want to acknowledge that I too have ridden some of the streets at higher speed for the purpose of riding over horrible washboard ruts. I will also ride at the very edge of the road which is at or inside the edge of camp space. Guilty as charged: missing out on Immediacy, less than good Civic Responsibility even though I try to be as safe as possible. When I found the ped/bicycle-only lanes though, I was very happy not to have to pedal so hard (because they were naturally flat), so I adjusted my routes to take those ways. Let’s just admit that one legit reason for speed on a bike is to make it through the washboards or sand drifts where pedaling is very hard and without catching the wheel and crashing. Open playa, great. In the city, it’s a problem and hand-to-heart I’ve been part of that. Tell me again how spraying the roads down with water is helping. Maybe its the 80,000 of us. I don’t remember it being quite so bad when we were 30,000.

    Report comment

  • anon says:

    Here me out: eBike lanes! jk jk

    Seriously though, what Burning Man desperately needs right now is MORE rules!

    Report comment

  • Dwayne R David says:

    Some, if not all ebikes have a setting which caps the maximum speed. My E Trike has this feature and I set it to 5 mph. I was one of the folks last year who consistently went not above 5 mph. I would hate to see ebikes or trikes banned as it would affect how much of the playa, the art and the experience so many can enjoy. I also believe seeing the BLM trucks driving on the open playa at 35, 40, 45 mph and higher is a discouragement to the standard of 5 mph.

    Report comment

  • David Wang says:

    I am OPPOSED to any restriction on e-bikes, regardless of class.

    Radical Inclusion and Personal Responsibility are what is in question here.

    Report comment

  • Ryan says:

    5 miles per hour is not realistic. I challenge the org to test this and prove it is.

    To keep a bicycle upright on a flat surface, it needs to be moving at a certain speed, known as the “minimum self-stability speed.” This speed varies depending on factors such as the design of the bicycle, the rider’s weight distribution, and environmental conditions. However, generally, it’s around 8 to 10 miles per hour (13 to 16 kilometers per hour). At this speed, the angular momentum of the wheels provides the necessary stability to keep the bicycle upright.

    Report comment

    • A.J. Jennings says:

      Well, someone recently stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

      (That’s funny if you’re older than the average mean age of those that attend the event)

      Honestly, great comment and you showed your (math) work. Thank you.


      Report comment

    • Douglas says:

      Experimentation has showed that the so called gyroscopic effect of a bicycle’s wheels stabilizing it is erroneous; it’s actually balanced by the microsteering movements of the rider, the lowest speed limited by the rider’s skill. Racers have to be able to balance at a stop, because they are clipped in to the pedals. That being said, my average speed in mild mixed terrain is 10 mph, at 5 mph I can balance easily, below 3 (which I can estimate fairly accurately as it is my normal walking speed) balance becomes tricky, and I start thinking about getting off to walk. This usually occurs going up a steep grade.

      I’m fine with 5 mph in BRC, out on the Play, 10 seems more reasonable. At 25 mph relative speed, 50% of collisions result in fatality for unprotected human bodies. So I’d be in favor of confiscation of any vehicle accurately clocked over 15 mph regardless of propulsion method.

      Report comment

  • Sandy says:

    Solution: Paintball guns! Zap offenders, and task LEOs with apprehending them.

    Report comment

  • Captain RON says:

    Ya know, all that rebar you’re not using anymore because you switched to lag screws? I think you just may have just have repurposed it for speeding bikes…

    Report comment

  • Douglas says:

    E-Bikes are useful for those people in the zone between normally abled, and not disabled enough to qualify for a disabled sticker. As one making that transition with age, I see E-Bikes as one way of keeping me out of a car. If I was attending this year, I would bring an E-Bike. I hope, with upcoming hip surgery not to need one next year. But, eventually, the time will come. As with any other electrical device, it would be ideal to bring enough PV panels to keep it charged, and a spare battery pack to receive the charge, if the bulk of one’s riding is done by day.

    Report comment

  • david says:

    What’s “Generally recognized as a bicycle” mean? My ebike is pretty weird looking and has 40″ wheels. This seems to directly contradict the decorate your bike ethos. That said mine has a software limited top speed of 7mph so I hope I won’t be getting pulled over.

    Report comment

    • A.J. Jennings says:


      That software speed limit thing sounds perfect. I’m going to see if I can hack my motor controller to do the same. I actually don’t want to go fast, I really enjoy just poking along and seeing everything.

      If you feel the need for speed, you’ve really come to the wrong event, in my opinion.

      Thanks for the info!

      Report comment

  • Mike says:

    Speed is the real problem here. There are a few rule breakers in every transportation class going too fast. Cars, Trucks, Suv’s, motorized mini-bikes, motorized skate boards, golf carts, Art Cars, regular bicycles and e-bikes. Over twelve years I have witnessed people in every transportation class going too fast.

    The majority of burners follow the rules. It is a minority who are disregarding the speed rules. Have you driven on a highway lately ? Speeding and not observing the speed limit is a national pass time. We are trying to govern what everyone does in their normal life.

    The worst speeding offenders I have observed on playa is the Staff. Yes, the Staff … Staff Trucks, Staff Cars, Staff in Golf Carts and other Staff vehicles zoom past my camp going much closer to 25 mph than 5 mph. Windows rolled up, air conditioning running, I wave and they don’t even glance my way. Please set the example and do not tell us “rules for thee, but not for me”.

    I know we have all seen this, a regular car roaming down a city street mid-week, full of people and no special sticker of any kind on the car. I’ve seen normal, healthy people with no observable disability, driving around in handicapped licensed vehicles everywhere on playa. Everywhere.

    Yes, I’ve seen e-bikes go too fast, but I have witnessed MANY MORE regular bikes going waaaayyyy too fast also. Mostly younger burners. I’m 67 and not as strong or as capable as I once was. There was a time I would take my troop on a five mile hike before breakfast. Now, I bet I don’t walk five miles a week. I have volunteered for ten shifts a week for many years and without an e-bike, I could not make it across playa to any of my volunteer shifts. I could not make it to the Man or the Temple or any Art in deep playa. I’m not handicapped, just older and weaker. If you’re lucky, maybe one day you’ll be my age and understand that nature is equal opportunity … if you survive, it happens to all of us.

    Maybe set an age requirement for e-bikes, like 55 and older.

    Maybe we could all just be helpful to one another and loudly ask people who go too fast to PLEASE SLOW DOWN. Whether they are in a car, a Staff Vehicle, a motorized mini-bike, bicycle, golf cart, etc ….

    Embrace Radical Inclusion here. An e-bike is just an environmentally safe method of biking that gives many burners the ability to get around the playa. Lets ALL of US educate those who don’t know that going TOO FAST in any type of transportation is UNACCEPTABLE.

    Discriminating against one type of transportation will just move us to another type of transportation.

    There is just no way I can ride a regular bike the miles and miles and miles I ride my e-bike around the playa. My e-bike gives me so much more mobility and accessibility to Burning Man.

    Please, No Class Envy, PAS and Throttle can both be used responsibly. Please do not take my PAS and Throttle assisted e-bike away from me.

    Report comment

  • Tom Lee says:

    Please can you share the data? Surely Rampart has data attributed to injuries? Everything you shared is anecdotal from a vocal minority of participants.
    Enforcing a 5 mph speed limit on all bikes and staff golf carts is going to be a disaster. If you only drive one of the old golf carts at 5mph or below they will breakdown quickly and have battery issues

    Report comment

  • A.J. Jennings says:

    Speed bumps could be really funny if done safely and clearly as a joke.

    Oooo maybe a duck crossing with someone actually doing a duck crossing bit. I love stuff like that out there.

    The Gate camp once staged a water main break in the road in front of their work camp. That was epically funny.

    Report comment

  • Anton Cauthorn says:

    Thanks for the update, but your update reinforces one of the most ridiculous rules at burning man–the 5mph bike speed limit. The 5mph speed for bikes is absurdly slow. It should be increased to 10 on city streets and 15 on open playa (but 10 in congested areas on open playa). This is a nearly universally broken rule. It is hard to ride at 5mph, that is a slow and wobbly pace for most people.

    Of course people should use common sense. Slow down in crowds. Slow down on dusty streets. Be courteous when passing others or riding close to other people.

    Yes faster is more dangerous. But that’s fine. The playa is dangerous. Some of us will get hurt. And that’s fine, that’s part of living and part of being on the Playa. Being exposed to danger and getting hurt is good for us, it makes us stronger. My friends and I used to do fun things on playa like take out our bike locks while riding, lock our bikes together at the bike stem while still riding and see how many people we could get with their handle bars locked together until we all crashed in a big laughing pile. And we did this all at more than 5mph. Part of burning man is taking risks and doing fun dangerous things. We should all rebel against safetyism culture which is antithetical to the culture of burning man.

    Once you up the speed limit, then it is easier to enforce because it is no longer being broken by everyone. You can then enforce it against people who are reckless in a way that may harm others (again reckless) on regular or e-bikes. For example, the person with glazed eyes who is staring sideways while going 20 and nearly running into people can be stopped and bike impounded. On the other hand, a person riding 20 mph in open playa and paying attention should be ignored and left to have fun on their ride.

    Report comment

  • Dr. Really? says:

    Holy Rabbit! Burning Man is just no fun anymore. Like the rest of Planet Earth, there are too many humans, and opinions.

    Report comment

  • Snarkalicous says:

    Stop trying to ban and cancel things that bring others joy just because you don’t approve of their choices. Keep that shit in the default world where it belongs.

    Report comment

  • Just Justin says:

    While this new policy is, on paper, rather draconian (and imho, rather antithetical to the general ethos of Burning Man), it must be reconciled with the real worlds practicality of enforcement.

    I suspect this is a case of being able to establish probable cause to pull over and impound bad actors, not everyday Boomers nursing bad knees as they make their way across the playa. It will most likely be utilized as a pretense for pulling over anyone who is speeding or acting the fool on an ebike.

    Rangers or law enforcement will then use the whole Class 2/3 ban as a cudgel to warn (threaten?) them with confiscation if they don’t settle down.

    And given that there are almost zero Class 1 EBikes manufactured and sold today, this is just a power move to exert control of what they must see as a difficult issue to contain.

    Keep in mind that most Burners, participants and staffers included, don’t want to create more rules and restrictions (let alone spend their Burn enforcing them!) but this is likely the best portion they’ve seen for giving them the upper hand over bad actors when they inevitably encounter them.

    Also, there’s no way Gate is going to be looking at Class type of EBikes on entry. Just too impractical.

    My prediction is that you WILL be able to bring your Class 2/3 ebike into the event and ride it around with no problem. BUT, if you act like an entitled dick, cause trouble, or generally exhibit disregard for public safety, they’ll have a way to deal with you and, if necessary, impound your bike.

    So to all those who are fretting about bringing your newly purchased and lovingly decorated Class 2/3 ebike or custom strike to playa, I’d say don’t worry. If you’re cool and generally responsible, this new rule isn’t actually about you.

    It’s just a shame that they’ve vilified a technology in the name of public safety. They should have taken a cue from Beverly Hills where the speed limit in most neighborhoods is 25 MPH – thus giving cops probable cause to pull almost anyone over they wish for any other reason. Instead of establishing unenforceable rules over Class type, be honest with the community about “reasonable speed and Civic Responsibility” and let people know that anyone traveling over 5 MPH (which is indeed ridiculously slow for a bike) can and will be pulled over if they are ALSO riding in a way that is dangerous, disrespectful or otherwise impinging on the experience of others. And with the ability to make a confiscation based on the situation, I think most reasonable people would be okay with this.

    Report comment

  • Alan Irwin says:

    Hi enthusiasts of the considerate, thoughtful, and rule abiding bicycling community of BRC. This will be my first Burning Man event in my lifetime. I will be coming this year with my son, who came last year for his first time and thought dad should come along this time. I have purchased an E bike before I realized all the negativity that they have caused to many people in the community. I can’t believe that there are so many attendees that willingly misbehave, and are not willing to follow simplistic, and considerate safety rules that are meant for the benefit and the safety of all. With all the complaints, I have read here, I don’t understand why these people who willingly ruined the event by not being a part of the event, are allowed to come back. Just a thought though, because I am a newbie and don’t know all of the politics and enforcement that are part of the working Burning Man . How about myself, I bought a class 2 E bike two weeks ago, specifically for myself, to be able to participate in viewing the different parts and interacting with the many people, not taking in consideration and not realizing what the Burning Man community might think of what my purchase might possibly mean to them. I bought my E bike for my own personal concern and safety, so that I could participate in seeing as much and as wide a field of Burning Man that I could possibly do in the time that I’m there. My concern for me is that I am 69 years old and I had three heart attacks a couple years back, I’m on medication, I’m not as physically strong as I was 10 years ago and if I didn’t have an E bike with me that could haul my butt around the playa, camps, and all of the fantastic art, that I so desperately want to see, it would not be possible for me. So what I want to say to you, my future family and friends, is that I pledge that I will abide by the rules for my time at Burning Man, and especially the 5 mile an hour rule for bikes and E bikes. I will also pledge to make a sign with my name and the camp that I’m at through my time at the burn, so that if anyone sees me miss using my bike for any reason, can report me. I’m planning on participating in a positive and considerate fashion and will demonstrate that the whole time that I’m there. I hope that I can be an example for the positiveness and the progress of E bikes on the playa for this Burn and ones in the future ❤️

    Report comment

  • Stephanie Slama says:

    My concern is that the type of person who recklessly speeds on an eBike is not the type of person to even bother reading the JRS nor the Survival Guide. Very often they are Virgin Burners treating Burning Man like a festival on their bucket list. I feel it could be EXTREMELY HELPFUL if into addition to all of us doing our part to spread the word about the 5mph speed limit…that also GATE make a point in their routine examination of arrivals to GENTLY BUT FIRLMY REMIND everyone of the 5MPH speed limit and say THIS APPLIES ALSO TO eBIKES AND THEY RISK BEING BANNED if not respected due to SAFETY ISSUES FOR EVERYONE. If they can just say this to EVERYONE who arrives, regardless if they have eBikes or not, it will get the word out there to those who DON’T read the JRS or SURVIVAL GUIDE. Thank you )'(

    Report comment

    • A.J. Jennings says:



      The Gate really has their hands full processing tens of thousands of vehicles, and reminding people of the rules is not really a Greeter’s job either. Greeters are really great at setting a good vibe and welcoming people. Participants really should know what is expected of them.

      How about this… You can get a real DUI from real law enforcement on playa as you should. Drunk driving on playa can be just as dangerous as speeding.

      Let the plenty of law enforcement officers on playa ticket speeders as they would any drunk driver. We really do pay for them to be there.

      Report comment

  • Feral Hollowell says:

    I’m repeating myself here… put up big billboard (Larryboard?) size banners across from Greeters, with warnings and perhaps humorous messages. Everybody who makes it thru Gate and finally thru Greeters is raring to go and just blasts off while I scream “5 miles an hour” over and over. Perhaps keep a Law Enforcement Officer vehicle parked nearby. (Sometimes they do.) No one can say “I didn’t know! Nobody told me!”
    For example (on the left) “Here’s Dave the Caveman. He thought he was going to Las Vegas after the burn. (On the right.) Now he’s in the Lovelock jail. Don’t be the Caveman. Speed kills!” 5 Miles an Hour!!!
    Put a call out for artists. Get it printed and erected. Cheaper than another accident.

    Report comment

  • SinCity says:

    I have been concerned about ebikes for several years now. I have a hard enough time with the regular bike riders. My first burn in 2007, on my first day on playa, my friends and I were headed back to camp on 7:30 for dinner. We were a group of four and in no rush. I had the outside position closest to the camp spaces. There was another group headed toward us and we had slowed in order to react. Evidently, we were not going fast enough for some guy that was coming up behind us. He veered toward the camp space to go around me but had an obstacle and quickly turned back toward the road. I remember seeing him out of the corner of my eye and I knew I was going to be hit.

    The next thing I remember, I was standing in the middle of the street and ppeople were running up to see if I was OK. I was confused, in pain and had lost my shoes. My friends had continued riding and missed the accident. The people running up had described that I launched off the bike, did a full summersalt and landed on my feet. Although my right foot toe planted and was throbbing. I remember the man that hit me stopped and said he was sorry and asked if I was OK. I replied with “Where are my shoes”. He said oh you’re OK and took off. I wasn’t OK, I was in shock. Other people helped me find my shoes which were quite a ways behind me. They helped me pick up the bike and then my friends had come back realizing they lost me. I had to walk the bike the rest of the way because of the throbbing. They set me up with a bucket of ice and the next day, half my foot was purple, swollen and throbbing. My big toe was broken and three more were sprained. I could not ride the bike the rest of the time. In all the years since I have only rode a bike a few times. It sends me into a complete panic if someone is riding toward me. I stop and put my feet down until they pass. Now just imagine if that was an ebike. Do not raise the speed limit.

    I don’t believe they should be banned because I feel they can significantly improve the experience for some people with medical conditions. However, it seems entirely unfair that you can not have an escooter with a seat. I would feel far more comfortable on one of those because they seem less likely to cause damage if hit. I understand not wanting the playa to be littered with etransportation like many tourist areas but they should at least be allowed for people with a disability plackard.

    Report comment

  • Guthrie Castle says:

    SPEEDING IS THE PROBLEM. If only, DPW would set the example. All build week and all burn week, nearly every DPW vehicle I saw in 2022 was burning up the roads (with 4 heavy wheels, not 2), leaving them damaged and rutted. It is hard to see how the Org can come down on E-Bikes, when DPW is the worst violator of the speed limit. I don’t see how the Org can ask E-Bikes to do something that it, itself, will not do. Org, enforce your own rules with your own people first. Set the example, and we will be inspired.

    Report comment

  • Fox says:

    The bikes are fine. Start banning people. Sort of like Mel Brooks when he drops that third tablet. The Ten Principles of ~crunch~ FIVE, F I V E Principles of Burning Man!

    Report comment

  • Willie Jack says:

    The 5 mile a hour speed limit is great…in theory. Try riding your bike while staying under 5 mph. Go, we’ll wait. Not easy is it, near impossible I’d say. Absolutely nobody rides a bicycle at less than 5 mph. A good safe speed is more like 8 to 10 mph. And I’d bet that’s what most responsible folks are doing on playa. If someone rode by you at 10 mph, you would think nothing of it.

    Report comment

  • Comments are closed.