PHOTO CAPTION: New Yorker rides electric-assist bicycle, technically considered illegal, though US federal law defines them as bicycles.

New York City's Latest Ban on E-Bikes Only Adds Confusion

Drew Grant finds that New York City Council's vote to 'close loopholes' only further confuses the question of what exactly is an electric bicycle.

Published: 19-May-2013

Hey, remember all the crazy state, federal, and city statutes regarding the definition of an electric bicycle? Yeah, we don’t want to delve into that particularly confusing string again either–just thinking about that whole “e bike or scooter” controversy makes us want to stick our mouth around an exhaust pipe–but sadly, we must. As New York City Council decided to “crack down” on ebikes with three bills that would increase fines and illiminate loopholes that have kept e bikes on the streets as well as create an “interactive crime map” for citizens with nothing better to do, the issue is back on the docket.

Only problem? Neither bill, which Mayor Bloomberg signed yesterday, gets to the real problem. Let’s take a look.

From the press release:


Problematic electric-assist moped isn't a bicycle nor a full motor scooter, but its a popular, affordable two-wheeler.

Vanier residents who ride scooter-type electric-assist two-wheelers find that while they can use them on city-owned bike lanes, they are banned form the National Capital Commission multi-use pathways.

Smart electric bicycle.

Darius Sanai takes smart's new electric-assist bicycle for a spin around London, England

Ridekick is an electrified trailer that pushes a conventional bike.

Recent research suggests that cyclist currently arrive at their locations 20% faster than car users within the busiest cities.


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