A phalanx of silent, high-speed bikes getting used for deliveries in neighborhoods just like the Higher East Facet of New York has drawn consideration to the necessity for new and better-defined regulations. A few half-dozen states have instituted guidelines recognizing totally different courses of e-bikes and permitting pedal-assist bikes which can be restricted to twenty m.p.h. for use in bike lanes, with out a license.
However, the assorted guidelines will be complicated. Officers from the New York Metropolis Division of Transportation insisted in emails this month that each one bicycles with any form of electrical help are unlawful, which might make them topic to confiscation and fines of as much as $500.
However simply final month, Mayor Invoice de Blasio instantly contradicted that view. In an announcement of a crackdown on companies utilizing all-electric throttle bikes, Mr. de Blasio made it clear that slower pedal-assist e-bikes, like these made by Cannondale, Riese & Müller and Specialised, “are allowable.”
However Tim Blumenthal, the president of PeopleForBikes, mentioned he didn’t consider that legislative restrictions had been as massive a consider gross sales as value.
Whereas e-bikes can be found for about $500, consumers can anticipate to pay $2,000 or extra for a top quality mannequin with an inexpensive vary and dependable service, mentioned Chris Nolte, the proprietor of Propel Bikes in Brooklyn.
Mr. Nolte additionally advisable that consumers search for fashions with a center-drive motor and at the very least a 400-watt lithium-ion battery. Anticipate a two-year guarantee from the producer and a battery lifetime of 1,000 full expenses.
E-bikes are starting to accumulate a sure cachet, Mr. Nolte mentioned, with extra aesthetically interesting fashions which can be tough to tell apart from common bicycles. Proponents say the perfect argument for e-bikes, nonetheless, is the expertise of driving one.
“Some folks mentioned, oh, that’s like a bike, that’s not bicycling,” mentioned Mr. Geyer from Specialised. “However then they rode it and altered their minds.”