DOT Notice of Adoption--Traffic Rules Amendment Relating to Pedal-Assist Bicycles

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is authorized to promulgate rules regarding parking and traffic operations in the City by Section 2903(a) of the New York City Charter. The rules that DOT is amending are contained within Chapter 4 of Title 34 of the Rules of the City of New York, relating to the “Traffic Rules and Regulations.”
The purpose of this rule amendment is to clarify that pedal-assist bicycles meeting the requirements of these rules are legal to operate in New York City. This rule will recognize that pedal-assist bicycles are permissible, whereas throttle e-bikes, may not be legally operated on public highways, which include streets, under State and city law. Specifically, the amendments to the Traffic Rules are as follows:

• Section 4-01 adds a new definition for “pedal-assist bicycle” and clarifies the definition of “bicycle” to include pedal-assist bicycles. It should be noted that DOT does not interpret section 19-176.2 of the New York City Administrative Code to prohibit pedal-assist bicycles as defined herein.

• Section 4-12(p)(5) is a new paragraph that establishes the specific rules that apply to pedal-assist bicycles.

In response to the volume of comments received by DOT relating to the conversion, retrofitting, and labeling of pedal-assist bicycles, DOT will work with manufacturers to facilitate appropriate aftermarket compliance and will supplement or amend these rules in the future to further address these issues, where appropriate.
The following changes have been made to the proposed rule, which are reflected in the adopted rules:
• Clarify the definition of “pedal-assist bicycle” and remove the label requirement from the definition.
• Revise the label requirement to provide some flexibility so that the label could be placed on the electric motor of the pedal-assist bicycle or elsewhere on the bicycle.
• Revise the label requirement so that the original label could be provided by the manufacturer of the bicycle and/or the manufacturer of the electric motor.
• Add “motor-assisted” to the reference relating to maximum speed of a pedal-assist bicycle.