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Citi Bike’s e-bike fleet won’t return until the fall

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The bike-sharing program’s fleet of e-bikes will be grounded for a few more months

Courtesy of NYC DOT

Citi Bike’s fleet of pedal-assist electric bicycles has been grounded since last month, and it appears that those faster two-wheelers will be off of city streets for at least a few more months. The company announced in a tweet that a redesign for e-bikes is currently underway, with a rollout of that new model expected in the fall.

“We’re confident that putting rider safety first is always the right decision, and we’re working hard to design a world-class pedal-assist bike that we know our riders will love,” a spokesperson for Citi Bike said in a statement. “In the meantime, Citi Bike remains an integral part of New York City’s transportation network, with near-record ridership this past week.”

The e-bike fleet debuted last summer after new legislation passed that allowed pedal-assist bicycles (but not their faster throttle cousins) on city streets. According to the company, its e-bikes—which rolled out separately from the city’s dockless bike-share pilot—could reach a top speed of 18 miles per hour.

But some riders experienced issues with the bikes’ brakes, with dozens of incidents reported, some of which led to injuries for riders. Citing “an abundance of caution,” bikes in NYC, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. (where Citi Bike’s parent company, Motivate—now owned by Lyft—operates bike sharing programs) were removed from streets. A spokesperson did not specify what changes are being made to make the bikes safer, but according to Streetsblog, a braking modulator that’s in use on other e-bikes (including Uber’s Jump bikes) was not added to Citi Bikes.

Citi Bike was acquired by Lyft last year, and a big expansion of the pedal-assist fleet—from the initial batch of 200 to more than 4,000—was set to be one of the company’s big initiatives for 2019. The downside of that expansion would be an extra charge for e-bikes: Using one would cost an additional $2, or an additional 50 cents for those who qualify under the reduced fare program.