Contraption Would Make Bikes Illegal


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Parsing the definition of "electrically assisted bicycles"


By Ian Alterman


In your article "Picking Up Speed For Bike Share," Mar. 13, you say, "At the moment, there is a blurry line between the legality of an electrically assisted bicycle and a motorized vehicle in New York State." However, there is no such blurry line with respect to the laws of New York City.


In April 2013, the New York City Council passed Intro 1026-A, outlawing all electrically assisted bicycles. The law clearly states, "[T]he term 'motorized scooter' shall mean any wheeled vehicle that has handlebars that is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, is powered by an electric motor or by a gasoline motor that is capable of propelling the device without human power, and is not capable of being registered with the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles." This law went into effect on December 1, 2013.


Since Mr. Guida freely admits that his device would "turn a manual bike into an electric one" by allowing the bike to be capable of being propelled "without human power," the use of his device would be illegal under current New York City law.


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