Citi e-bikes gone ’til fall

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Citi e-bikes gone ’til fall

Last month, Citi pulled its e-bikes from New York City after a series of riders were injured by a braking malfunction on the vehicles.
May 14, 2019

As lawmakers in Albany gear up for a last-minute push to pass legislation legalizing electric bikes and scooters before session wraps up next month, e-bike fanatics in New York City received some bad news: Citi Bike’s fleet of pedal-assist e-bikes – which are legal in New York City – won’t return to the streets until the fall.

Last month, Citi pulled its e-bikes from New York City, as were others from Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco Bay area after a series of riders were injured by a braking malfunction on the vehicles. Motivate, the Lyft-owned company that operates Citi Bikes, characterized the move as an abundantly cautious one. Nonetheless, the company’s pedal-assist fleet had grown so popular in New York that the company announced plans to expand its e-bikes to 4,000 earlier this year. Those hoping for a hot summer commute eased by an extra boost on a pedal-assist bike will have to wait at least five months, when Citi plans to introduce a redesigned fleet.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is making no secret of his disdain for the currently illegal throttle e-bikes – at least as they operate now. “We are trying to work with the state Legislature that has the jurisdiction on this, to figure out if there is a law that could legalize them appropriately, put limits on how they’re used, lower the speed at which they can go – there is a physical way to modify the speed and, if we can figure out how to do that for existing e-bikes and help e-bike owners to do that, I’d be very willing to figure out a way to,” de Blasio said during an appearance on WNYC Radio’s “Brian Lehrer Show.” “But the current situation is unacceptable and is dangerous.”

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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