NYC To Legalize Pedal-Assist Electric Bicycles

Class 1 electric bikes will be ok under new NYC ruling.

In an attempt to bolster cycling in NYC, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the DOT begins the rule-making process to clarify that pedal-assist electric bicycles are permissable in the city.

Previously, the city had cracked down on electric bicycles because of problems with delivery persons operating class 3 bikes with throttles riding on sidewalks and other wreckless behaviors. We had covered this in an article on riding in NYC last year, where we could easily see one delivery person on an electric bike every few minutes, none of them pedaling and many breaking the law even if they were.

NYC delivery electric bicycle banned legalized mayor de blasio pedal-assist throttle
This is what a typical delivery cyclist looked like in NYC, though this one had a helmet and high-vis vest. The bike is from Arrow, it’s capable of 25 mph and has a throttle.

Though electric bikes still aren’t legal per the State of New York, legislation is pending in Albany. NYC officials are trying to quickly implement legislation to legalize pedal-assist bikes in the five boroughs of the city to alleviate congestion and double the number of active cyclists in the city by 2020. There is a planned, 18-month closure of the L train tunnel for maintenance starting in April 2019 that will affect thousands of commuters and cause tremendous congestion, and it is hoped that increased bicycle traffic will alleviate some of that.

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