Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hell on Wheels: Can E-Bikes Ever Go Legal? -- Daily Intelligencer

The current regulatory regime for e-bikes is nonsense.  Regulate them the same as mopeds, and then enforce the law accordingly.  In the meantime, prohibition is silly, but riders should be held accountable for the rampant wrong-way riding, lack of lights and sidewalk riding that we see regularly, especially among restaurant delivery persons. 
*cough, Ting Hua, cough cough*
After the 2002 federal law went into effect, Most states changed their codes to match it, but not New York. The DMV's website explicitly states: "A motor-assisted bicycle does not qualify for a registration as a motorcycle, moped or ATV and does not have the same equipment." Meanwhile, in New York City, a 2004 law aimed at minibike riders made it illegal to ride a "motorized scooter," which the city defines as any vehicle powered by a motor that is incapable of being registered with the DMV.
Updates: Wikipedia has a page (which needs some filling in) on e-bike regulation; the broader page covers international regulation, though I've linked specifically to the US portion.

You can read about NYC DOT's current effort to educate businesses and crack down on scofflaw behavior by commercial delivery bikes here.  This is for the broader subject of bicycle delivery, not e-bikes.  The state legislature needs to act to address e-bike regulations.


Scottilla said...

Nobody seems to know that it is illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk.

Gary Reilly said...

Frustrating, I know. I've added a couple more links - DOT is taking steps to address that. In my experience the worst offenders are the delivery guys. DOT is doing a big education/enforcement push. Good stuff.

Also FYI, kids under 12 are allowed to ride on the sidewalks.