Your Citi Bike rides are about to get a bit easier—assuming you can score one of the company’s new e-bikes, that is. The NYC Department of Transportation, along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, today joined reps from Citi Bike in unveiling its new fleet of pedal-assist e-bikes at Borough Hall before taking a ceremonial ride over the Brooklyn Bridge.
The new two-wheelers, which became legal in July thanks to new legislation allowing pedal-assist e-bikes on city streets, are not tethered to any particular docks or stations; they can go wherever there’s Citi Bike service. That’s in contrast to the e-bikes that have been unveiled as part of the city’s dockless bike share pilot, which are intended to stay within their particular zones (Staten Island and the Bronx).
To start, there will be 200 electric Citi Bikes throughout the city. A larger roll-out of e-bikes will happen closer to the L train shutdown, with 1,000 new bikes intended for use at four docking stations in Williamsburg and lower Manhattan. Additionally, Citi Bike will add even more bikes to its fleet in particularly congested areas of Manhattan—though, as of right now, no expansion is planned for further out in Brooklyn along the L.
“Today’s pedal-assist bike ride signifies a new era of cycling for New Yorkers who love Citi Bike,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a press release. “Cycling is not only fun, it’s an affordable, healthy and sustainable way of getting around – and on pedal-assist bikes, it is even faster and easier.
While pedal-assist bikes—which reach top speeds of 20 miles per hour, and whose mechanism is engaged only when a rider pedals—the city’s clarification distinguishes those cycles from throttle bikes, which are still illegal (much to the chagrin of delivery workers who use them to get around—and feel they’re unfairly targeted by the city).