New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio Gets Right With E-bikes

Mayor Bill de Blasio took a potentially giant step forward towards reducing traffic congestion, parking shortages and fossil-fuel-burning auto emissions by rescinding his total ban on e-bike use in New York City. The mayor’s press release (click here to read it) is welcome news for delivery services, commuters and tourists in the Big Apple.

The mayor’s announcement takes the same stance as IMBA as far as Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes. He welcomes Class 1 e-bikes while keeping the door closed to Class 2 e-bikes. My feeling is the mayor is confusing Class 2 e-bikes with throttle-operated, electric-motorized scooters that were widely used (and abused) by restaurant delivery services. Given time and a better understanding of Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes, New York should find Class 2 e-bikes to be appropriate for use on the city streets along side of Class 1 e-bikes.

If the whole Class-1 and Class-2 thing is confusing to you (and Mayor de Basio), you are not alone. The classes were dreamed up by the e-bike industry to establish make-believe standards that are close to impossible to enforce (or detect) and don’t address up to a quarter of the e-bikes in use today (e-bikes that have been converted from human-powered bikes). But that friends, is another story. For now, bravo to Mayor de Basio. You have just made New York a much more livable city.

I highly recommend that any New York City e-bike rider seriously consider a model like Giant’s Dirt-E +2 for the harsh road conditions of NYC. A smoother tread tire and cushier saddle choice is all you need to turn this into a capable urban commando.
Will the e-bike rule update change the city’s traffic problems? It can’t hurt! Still, New York is not a friendly environment for any cyclist. Serious change will take decades.
Electric scooters (no pedals and throttle) may have been what caused Class-2 e-bikes to be left on the “not on my city’s streets” list.

 

 

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