50 CFR § 27.31 - General provisions regarding vehicles.

§ 27.31 General provisions regarding vehicles.

Travel in or use of any motorized or other vehicles, including those used on air, water, ice, snow, is prohibited on national wildlife refuges except on designated routes of travel, as indicated by the appropriate traffic control signs or signals and in designated areas posted or delineated on maps by the refuge manager and subject to the following requirements and limitations:

(a) Unless specifically covered by the general and special regulations set forth in this chapter, the laws and regulations of the State within whose exterior boundaries a national wildlife refuge or portion thereof is located shall govern traffic and the operation and use of vehicles. Such State laws and regulations which are now or may hereafter be in effect are hereby adopted and made a part of the regulations in this part.

(b) No operator of a vehicle shall be under the influence of intoxicating beverages or controlled substances.

(c) Driving or operating any vehicle carelessly or heedlessly, or in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of other persons, or without due care or at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under prevailing conditions, having regard to traffic, weather, wildlife, road, and light conditions, and surface, width, and character of the travel way is prohibited. Every operator shall maintain such control of the vehicle as may be necessary to avoid danger to persons or property or wildlife.

(d) The vehicle speed limit shall not exceed 25 m.p.h. except as otherwise legally posted.


(1) Every motor vehicle shall at all time be equipped with a muffler in good working order, and which cannot be removed or otherwise altered while the vehicle is being operated on a national wildlife refuge. To prevent excessive or unusual noise no person shall use a muffler cut-out, bypass, or similar device upon a motor vehicle. A vehicle that produces unusual or excessive noise or visible pollutants is prohibited.

(2) A refuge manager, by posting of appropriate signs or by marking on a map which shall be available at the refuge headquarters, may require that any motor vehicle operating in the designated area shall be equipped with a spark arrestor that meets Standard 5100-1a of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture which standard includes the requirements that such spark arrestor shall have an efficiency to retain or destroy at least 80 percent of carbon particles, for all flow rates, and that such spark arrestor has been warranted by its manufacturer as meeting the above mentioned efficiency requirement for at least 1,000 hours, subject to normal use, with maintenance and mounting in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations.

(f) The operation of a vehicle which does not bear valid license plates and is not properly certified, registered, or inspected in accordance with applicable State laws is prohibited.

(g) Driving or permitting another person to drive a vehicle without valid license is prohibited. A valid driver's or operator's license must be displayed upon the request of any authorized official.

(h) Stopping, parking or leaving any vehicle, whether attended or unattended, upon any road, trail, or fire lane so as to obstruct the free movement of other vehicles is prohibited, except in the event of accident or other conditions beyond the immediate control of the operator, or as otherwise directed by an authorized official.

(i) All persons shall obey the lawful order or signal of any authorized official directing, controlling, or regulating the movement of traffic.

(j) Load, weight and width limitations, as may be necessary, shall be prescribed and the public advised under provisions of § 25.31. Such limitations must be complied with by the operators of all vehicles.

(k) A motor vehicle involved in an accident is not to be moved until an authorized official arrives at the scene of the accident, unless such vehicle constitutes a traffic or safety hazard.

(l) A motor vehicle shall not be operated at anytime without proper brakes and brake lights, or from sunset to sunrise without working headlights and taillights which comply with the regulations for operation on the roads of the State within whose boundaries the refuge is located.

(m) If the refuge manager determines that electric bicycle (also known as e-bike) use is a compatible use on roads or trails, any person using an e-bike where the motor is not used exclusively to propel the rider for an extended period of time shall be afforded all of the rights and privileges, and be subject to all of the duties, of the operators of nonmotorized bicycles on roads and trails. An e-bike is a two- or three-wheeled electric bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of not more than 750 watts (1 h.p.) that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes:

(1) Class 1 e-bike shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

(2) Class 2 e-bike shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

(3) Class 3 e-bike shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.

(n) Such other requirements which are established under the provisions of this subchapter C.

[41 FR 9168, Mar. 3, 1976, as amended at 85 FR 69235, Nov. 2, 2020]

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