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Big-City eBike: Tips and Benefits for The Urban Rider

One great solution for urban dwellers living within a 10-20 mile radius from work is an Electric City Bike. Ebiking offers many benefits when it comes to rising costs of fuel, car parking expenses, and maintenance costs. Ebiking also provides the ultimate opportunity to get out into the sunshine, efficiently get to work, and arrive without worrying about showering. The more tips and benefits you know about big city eBiking the better!

Driving your car in big-city traffic can be such a hassle. Apart from traffic jams and the endless struggle to find parking, you have to deal with the ever-rising cost of gas, insurance costs, and the cost of parking. The Guardian reported the average price of fuel per gallon in June 2022 jumped 18 cents in a week and was $1.92 higher than this time last year. In some states, fuel cost has reached nearly $10 per gallon, thanks to an uneven but sharp rise in global oil prices. This volatility is not expected to change anytime soon.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the practical aspects of a big-city eBike experience as you embrace a healthier way of getting around your city.

Are eBikes Good for Cities?

E-bikes have several benefits for cities. Here are some of the reasons big cities such as New York are embracing e-biking:

  • Reduced congestion: Big cities struggle with a perennial road and street congestion problem that seems to worsen with the growing population. An e-bike can be an ideal solution to eliminate suffocating congestion on roadways and sidewalks. E-bikes take up limited space while helping move people out of the roads faster and more efficiently.
  • Reduced air pollution: Unlike the cars on our roads, e-bikes are climate-friendly since they emit zero greenhouse gasses. One more e-bike on the road translates to fewer people driving cars for shorter trips, including commuting to work and doing errands at the store. Air pollution typically impacts health, and e-biking is integral to improving the health of urban populations.
  • Reduces noise pollution: Noise pollution is a significant problem in urban cities, and e-bikes can help keep the noise at bearable levels. E-bikes make little sound compared to cars. They don’t disrupt the peace and tranquility of city environments. 

Are eBikes Legal In NYC?

In June 2020, New York passed a state law that allowed pedal-assisted e-bikes to operate in bike lanes and streets in New York City. Here is what you need to know regarding the legality of ebikes in the city:

Types of e-bikes and mopeds allowed 

The city categorizes types of eBikes and mopeds into three different classes:

  • Class 1 and 2 eBikes: Consists of pedal-assist ebikes and throttle ebikes. These bikes have the capability of riding on streets at speeds of up to 20 mph. Unlike their two-wheeled cousins, electric scooters are limited to a speed of 15 mph on New York City streets.
  • Class 3 eBikes: These consist of electric pedal assist and throttle e-bikes reaching a maximum speed of 28 mph. These bikes are allowed on the city’s bike lanes and streets and must maintain a speed limit of not more than 28 mph.

Wearing of helmets

It is unlawful for class 3 eBikers to ride on New York City streets and lanes without a helmet. Moreover, you must wear a helmet if you are aged 16-17 and riding e-scooters or Class 1 and 2 eBikes.

Driver’s license and registration requirements for mopeds

If you are driving mopeds on New York streets and highways, you must have a driver’s license and register your vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles regardless of your eBike class. According to New York law, a moped is a limited-use vehicle with two or three wheels. The following are some of the other crucial laws about mopeds in New York City:

  • You cannot drive a moped on the city’s sidewalk or bike lanes
  • It is illegal to drive a moped with no safety equipment such as brake lights, turn signals, and mirrors.
  • Class C and B mopeds should ride in the right lane or shoulder except when making a left turn.
  • Class C and B mopeds must maintain speed limits of 20 mph and 30 mph, respectively
  • Class A mopeds are allowed to ride in vehicle lanes. They must maintain a speed limit not greater than 40 mph. 

Categories of vehicles not permitted in NYC streets

The following are some of the vehicles not allowed to ride on NYC streets, highways, parking lots, sidewalks, or other areas:

  • Dirt bikes and off-road motorbikes are built for off-road trails and compete on. If you own such a vehicle, you must register it as an ATV.
  • Electric unicycles, electric skateboards, and electric hoverboards 
  • Any small motorized device with four wheels designed for off-road use, like Go-Karts and golf carts. Such vehicles should be registered as ATVs.
  • Any small motorized device with two wheels designed for off-road use, such as mini-bikes. A mini-bike can’t qualify as an ATV, motorcycle, or moped.

Can eBikes be used on sidewalks?

Generally, NYC doesn’t permit biking on sidewalks. Bikes on sidewalks are generally considered hazardous for pedestrians walking on them. However, there are some exceptions to these rules, and it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local rules and regulations regarding e-biking. Below are some of the basic road rules to help you enjoy riding your e-bike on NYC streets:

Basic road rules:

  1. Always drive on the right half of the road as close to the sidewalk as possible
  2. If there is traffic on the road, you are supposed to yield to the traffic
  3. When making turns, leverage the correct bike signals
  4. Stop at all stop signs and red lights
  5. Give way for faster vehicles to pass you where possible

Sidewalk Etiquette:

  1. You cannot operate e-bikes and e-scooters on a sidewalk except as authorized by ordinance or local law. 

Can I ride an electric bike on the road?

You can ride an eBike on some highways in New York State. Effective August 2, 2020, the state permitted people to operate e-scooters and eBikes on some specific streets and highways. You can ride eBikes on highways at a speed limit of 30 MPH. However, the law states that one cannot operate an ATV on a public highway unless the highway is designated for ATV use.

Is there a speed limit for electric bikes?

As mentioned earlier, many states in the USA utilize a three-class system for eBike regulations. To determine the speed limit for your eBike , it is essential to check your most current local eBike laws. Here are some beneficial details and tips on eBike speed classifications:

  • Class 1: Pedal assist only has a speed limit of 20 mph
  • Class 2: Throttle or pedal assist top speed of 20 mph
  • Class 3: Pedal Assist top speed 28 mph 

The above speed limits might be jurisdictional. It is advisable to check with your local bike communities for tips and other information regarding the speed limit.

Tips on where to stow your bike at work

If you have made a decision to commute to work with an eBike and wondering where to store the bike at work, here are a few tips:

  • Store your bike in your own office space: you can lean the bike on the wall, store in a communal area or place it closeby for charging and safekeeping
  • Lock the bike up outside: you can lock the bike to a fixed point on the street, or bike rack near your workplace
  • Store the bike in a parking garage: lock up your bike in a parking garage to ensure its safety
  • Use bike storage parking: some cities have created handy bike parking near subways and other public transportation that you can use to safely store your e-bike while at work.

Health benefits of life on Ride1UP eBikes

With our eBikes at Ride1UP, you can work in a big city without worrying about ballooning gas prices, crazy rush hour traffic, or insurance costs. And what does that afford you? More quality time with loved ones, numerous health benefits, and an endless list of possibilities to enjoy your life, including eBike staycations. Check out our e-bike catalog today for more information. 

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