E-bikes only permitted on roads

The Governor of Svalbard hereby issues the following reminder concerning the use of bicycles, electric bicycles and dog sleds off road.

Published 6/17/2021

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) are a motorised means of transport and are subject to the prohibition on travelling by motorised vehicle in off road settings. This means that e-bikes may only be used on roads. This is set out in Sections 5 and 7 of the Regulations concerning motorised traffic in Svalbard.

The use of wheeled vehicles without engines is not in itself prohibited provided, but it is prohibited to leave scars in the terrain.

Since vegetation on Svalbard is vulnerable, damage to vegetation will arise quickly on the vegetation, and driving with bicycles and dog sleds with wheels will make scars in summer, which is a violation of the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act’s regulations governing duty of care (Section 5) and travel in undeveloped areas (Section 73).

Vehicular travel on roads, riverbeds or other solid ground without vegetation where scars are not made, will in most cases be within the rules and regulations.  This is conditional on not crossing tundra in order to access such areas.