New York City Joins the Ebike Revolution

You’re no longer a scofflaw if you rode this cute little bike on a New York Street.

After considerable lobbying and accompanying news coverage highlighting New York City’s regressive laws surrounding e-bikes, the city has changed its rules to let ebikes join the many other kinds of transportation on its streets. Essentially only pedelec bicycles conforming to the European standard will be allowed under the new regulations. That means no assist over 25 kmh (20 mph) and no throttle control (the motor only works when the rider is pedaling).

NYC Spotlight Could Kickstart US Market

Mashable highlights the potentially huge market in the US if ebikes take off. This media attention and the newly legal status in NYC may be a boost to those predictions.

However, Bike Europe points out one of the challenges for the US market is the state-by-state approval process.

Stumbling blocks remain for NYC ebikes as there are the restrictions on throttles that power the bike’s motor without pedaling — a handy feature when starting from a standstill for delivery riders with heavy loads.

Treehugger explains the impact the old rules were having for the countless New York delivery people feeding the city.

Speed ebikes the next frontier

The next hurdle for ebikes in North America will be the integration of so-called speed pedelecs with assist up to 45 kmh (30 mph). While current pedelec ebike riders are co-existing on bike routes with regular cyclists in relative peace and harmony, the addition of these higher speed machines may present very real safety issues.

As of yet, their legality on North American streets, along with that of pedelecs designed for primarily offroad use, remains a patchwork of rules that vary by jurisdiction.