Electric Bicycles in New York City: Are They Legal?

Once you learn how to ride an electric bike, you probably can’t wait to take it everywhere. However, if you live in New York City or plan to visit, you may have heard that they aren’t legal. There is a lot of confusion about what the city does and does not permit. The following information should help you ensure that you stay on the right side of the law.

The Current Law

The topline is that e-bikes are legal in New York City with a few restrictions. Prior to June 2020, electric bikes were much more heavily restricted. Those with top speeds over 20 miles per hour were not allowed and those with a pedal-assist mode and top speed under 20 miles per hour had to be registered. This was largely unenforced until 2017 when the NYPD started to get much stricter.

Following a June 2020 vote by the New York City Council, new laws were put into place. These established that electric bikes are, for the most part, legal to use in the city. There are three established classes of e-bikes.

  • Class 1: These are electric bikes with pedal-assist mode and no throttle. They must stay under 20 miles per hour. Helmets are required for minors and recommended for all riders.
  • Class 2: These are electric bikes with a throttle and top speed of 20 miles per hour. They must remain under 20 miles per hour. Helmets are recommended for all riders and required for minors.
  • Class 3: These are electric bikes with a throttle and top speed of up to 25 miles per hour. Their speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Helmets are required for all riders.

Additionally, all e-bikes must use bike lanes and streets with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less. They cannot be used on sidewalks and some areas may be marked as being barred to bikes.

Tips for Safely Using E-Bikes in New York City

With the above laws in mind, you are ready to hit the streets of NYC. However, you may still be wondering about other tips such as safety and how many miles can an electric bike go. While the answer to the latter depends on the bike, the former is relatively straightforward.

When you are riding an electric bike, you need to always use the designated bike lane, if there is one. Make sure that the vehicles on the road can see you. So, for example, when you stop at a light, move forward to be in view of all the cars waiting. Additionally, you should always wear appropriate clothing and a helmet. Plus, install lights and/or reflectors on your bike for night riding.

Start E-Biking Around New York City

Discover more about riding your e-bike in New York City. It can be a great way to get around the City That Never Sleeps. However, you will need to follow the laws set by the city. It is also helpful to have a bike that works well for you. For example, there are electric bikes for tall riders and short riders. You should find the one that fits your body and needs.


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