The Jetson Journal

Are E-Bikes Legal in NYC?

Are E-Bikes Legal in NYC?

Image from BikeList.


*This article has been updated. Check out the latest edition here


Here's the thing...NYC laws on E-Bikes are super confusing. With all of this talk in the news about E-Bike crackdowns and a war on E-Bikes, it can obviously make you hesitant to even think about purchasing an electric bicycle. So we’re here to (try) to set the record straight. Under federal law, an electric bike with a maximum assisted speed under 20 miles per hour can be sold as a bicycle, not a motor vehicle.* But, in New York State the laws aren't as clear. As it’s written, fully motorized electric bikes that can operate without requiring the rider to pedal are illegal in New York City, but pedal assist electric bikes are not. Even Mayor De Blasio has encouraged people to ride pedal assist electric bikes. So, what is the difference between fully motorized and pedal assist?


What's the difference?


Fully motorized e-bikes do not require any input from the rider, you just turn the throttle and off you go. But, pedal assist e-bikes are designed to mimic the natural motion you are used to feeling when riding a bicycle. As you pedal the bike, a sensor is activated, which then generates power from the motor. The power is activated only when you pedal with the motor turned on, and the amount of power is determined by the pedal assist level that you choose.


We believe pedal assist electric bikes are the future, combining exhilarating exercise with practical transportation. Riding your bike to the office doesn't mean you'll have to bring a change of clothes – it can just be a fun, breezy trip. Forget about the overcrowded buses and subways. It's time for a healthier and greener future.


For those living outside of NYC, take a look at your particular DMV site to get familiar with your state’s local laws.



*This article has been updated. Click here for latest edition


*The Murky Legality of E-Bikes

How Do Hoverboards Work?
California Leading the Charge in Electric Bike Regulation