E-bikes only permitted on roads

The Governor of Svalbard has the following reminder for the use of bicycles, electric bicycles and dog sleds in the terrain.

Published 6/11/2024

Electric bicycles are a motorized means of transportation and are covered by the ban on motor vehicles in the terrain. This means that e-bikes can only be used on the road. This is stated in the Regulations on motor traffic in Svalbard, § 5 and § 7.

Driving with a wheeled vehicle without an engine, such as e.g. bicycle and dog cart, are not prohibited in themselves, but it is prohibited to leave tracks in the terrain.

As the vegetation on Svalbard is vulnerable, damage to the vegetation will quickly occur and tracks will quickly be left when driving with bicycles and dog carts in summer, which is a breach of the Svalbard Environment Act's governing the duty of care (§5) and traveling in nature (§73) .

Driving on roads, in riverbeds, or on other firm ground without vegetation where no tracks are left, can therefore in most cases be within the regulations. This assumes that one does not have to cross the tundra to get to such areas.