On any given afternoon in the city of New York, Brooklyn, or Queens, a pedestrian must come across within seconds, an e-bike. The battery boosted bicycles are very famous among the 50,000-plus transport cyclists registered in the Big apple metropolis. You'd find them zipping down streets and avenues carrying take-out dishes, laundry, documents, booze, and anything else the people of New York care to order online. Practically overnight, the city has grown to become a safe haven for them.
The wait will soon be over, some electric bikes will be officially legal in New York City starting next month. The Department of Transportation published a new rule Thursday clarifying the legality of so-called pedal-assist bikes, which give riders a motorized boost while still requiring them to use their legs.
City officials announced the planned rule change in April amid a police crackdown on electric bikes. Faster throttle-powered bikes are still illegal to use, and riding one can come with a fine of up to $500 and possible seizure of the bike.
"For now, we believe that this new rule will help us join other world cities opening the door to an increasingly popular, safe and low-emission mode of travel that helps cyclists climb hills and travel longer distances," Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement.
The new rule, which takes effect July 28, legalizes electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, with motors that turn on only when the cyclist is pedaling and turn off when the speed hits 20 MPH.
Pedal-assist bikes must bear a label showing their maximum speed for New Yorkers to legally ride them, the rule says. The rule also bans certain modifications to the bikes, including any change that lets the rider accelerate without pedaling.