Electric bikes are extremely common in many parts of New York City and yet, certain types have been banned. This dates back to 2004 when gas powered kick scooters that could reach high speeds were becoming popular and a 19 year old young man died riding a gas powered pocket-rocket mini motorcycle cycle that hit a pothole. As a result of the noise, high speeds and even pollution caused by these unlicensed vehicles, the city passed a bill to ban certain types of motorized vehicles in the city. In more recent years as technology has changed, those older laws have become relevant to throttle operated electric bikes. These bikes are commonly used by delivery people in the city to quickly get food to customers because parking is expensive and traffic can be difficult. These imported illegal ebikes can be seen on almost every street around the restaurants in Brooklyn, NY and elsewhere but are usually ignored. The delivery people wear bright reflective clothing and follow riding laws closely enough that the police and other authorities seem to let it go. Also worth noting is that the top speed of nearly all electric bikes used by delivery people and most consumers is 20 mph vs. the 40 mph mentioned in the minutes and discussion around the law for gas powered scooters.

Here’s the law referenced in the video that talks about high speed throttle operated scooters: http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=441172&GUID=3AB8E015-5DEF-45D5-A1CA-A466E2C3AC66

For those shops and riders who are using pedal assisted ebike technology, the law does not explicitly state that they are disallowed because they require human input in order to go. In fact, Propel Bikes is located in Brooklyn and sells many models that use assisted technologies but do not have throttles. You can learn more about their products at their website here: http://propelbikes.com/

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