Eyes on the Street: Dockless Citi Bike Prototypes Spotted in Brooklyn

Citi Bike operator Motivate confirmed that the black bikes belong to the company.

Photo: Paul Goebel
Photo: Paul Goebel

Black bicycles with the distinctive Citi Bike frame, fenders, and handlebars have been spotted around Brooklyn this month, and we can confirm that they are prototypes for potential dockless bike-share service operated by Motivate.

Last night, Paul Goebel shared photos of a test bike locked to a rack in Carroll Gardens. In one of his photos you can make out the QR code above the rear wheel lock that users would scan to unlock the bike. The bike also has a larger basket than current Citi Bikes, enclosed on three sides:

Near Motivate’s Sunset Park headquarters, Alan Gerber spied a few varieties of Motivate test bikes, including one GenZe-brand electric bike. (Motivate recently announced the addition of 250 GenZe e-bikes to its Ford GoBike San Francisco operation.)

A Motivate spokesperson confirmed to Streetsblog that the black bikes and GenZe e-bikes belong to the company.

Bike-share experts usually cite the durability of Motivate’s bicycles as one of its competitive advantages, but the company has some catching up to do on dockless technology, with other bike-share operators having run such systems for a few years now. Adding the flexibility of dockless operations is probably essential for Motivate to keep up in the increasingly competitive bike-share sector.

Last month DOT put out a request for expressions of interest for companies looking to run dockless bike-share in areas not currently served by Citi Bike. The Motivate spokesperson said the company is considering responding to the city’s request.

  • kevd

    Could Motivate’s financial interest and cozy relationship with the city lead to a revision of NYC’s idiotic ban on ebikes, despite the mayor’s desire to screw over the working poor who deliver our food?

    (I’ll still make fun of able-bodied adults on e-bikes)

  • Elizabeth F

    Doubtless, Motivate is testing pedal-assist (NOT throttle-based) e-bikes, which are already legal in NYC. There is no chance that throttles will become legal in NYC any time soon. Most existing delivery e-bikes can be brought into compliance with current NYC law simply by disabling or removing the throttle.

  • r

    Don’t make fun of able-bodied people on e-bikes or pedal-assisted e-bikes. You have no idea just from looking at someone if they’re able bodied. Anything that expands bicycling and non-car travel should be embraced.

  • kevd

    i have no doubt that the described distinction is 100% lost on everyone enforcing the idiotic rule.
    Also, I think I’m gonna trust macartney on this one.

  • macartney

    Pedal assist ebikes are *NOT* legal in NYC. The Mayor and NYPD have clarified this over and over and over gain.

  • kevd

    I can embrace the technology and oppose the prohibition while also mocking people behind their backs.

  • Elizabeth F

    This is nothing more than an excuse for inaction. “NYPD are dumb, so why should we even try to follow the law?” Well… if you TRY to follow the law, you will be more likely to get the citation thrown out in court. And if enough people prevail in that manner, NYPD will figure it out.

  • kevd

    I don’t believe that actually is the law.
    i don’t believe that the people enforcing the law understand what the law even is, if it is that convoluted.

    Certainly isn’t inaction on my part. I’m 100% compliant on my leg powered bikes. While I don’t ride an ebike (because those functional legs) I do support their full legalization. Throttle. Pedal, whatever. As long as they max out at 20 or 25 I’m for them 100%.

  • Elizabeth F

    > Pedal assist ebikes are *NOT* legal in NYC

    They are legal. See the following legal opinion. This is also consistent with enforcement action. NOBODY who has studied the law has been able to justify the opinion that pedal assist is illegal in NYC.

    http://www.citylandnyc.org/scooters-hoverboards-bicycles-whats-legal/
    https://zenofebike.blogspot.com/2017/12/history-of-e-bike-laws-in-ny-state.html

    > The Mayor and NYPD have clarified this over and over and over gain.

    First of all… the Mayor and NYPD are not lawyers or judges, and it is unreasonable to expect them to fully understand every law. That being the case, see here where DeBlasio admitted they are legal and Trottenberg mused over how one might convert delivery workers to pedal assist:

    https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2017/12/15/confronted-by-delivery-workers-in-sunset-park-de-blasio-insists-on-e-bike-crackdown/

  • Elizabeth F

    > I don’t believe that actually is the law.

    See above…

    > i don’t believe that the people enforcing the law understand what the law even is, if it is that convoluted.

    Of course they don’t. That’s why our government has a court system — in which lawyers can present opposing arguments on what the law is, and judges can make final decisions.

    > Throttle. Pedal, whatever. As long as they max out at 20 or 25 I’m for them 100%.

    Throttles will never be legal in NYC.

  • kevd

    And you accuse ME of making an excuse of inaction?
    They certainly will never be legal with an attitude like that!

  • Elizabeth F

    kevd… I say this based on 3 years of concerted, industry-funded efforts to legalize all kinds of e-bikes in NY State, with or without throttle. Every time, NYC folks killed the legislation. Even in NYC, there is a lot of political goodwill for pedal-assist, but not for throttles. This year, the effort is to focus on just pedal assist, and it is far more likely to succeed. (There is no doubt that pedal assist is illegal in NY State outside of NYC; and efforts are to fix that problem).

  • macartney

    From your link:

    “Adding a motor to a bicycle triggers State law requirements. As a general rule, motor vehicles must be registered with the State Department of Motor Vehicles before they can be legally operated on public roadways… Because motor vehicles have the twin requirements of being motorized and operating on public streets, the pedelec bicycle need not—and in fact, cannot—be registered because it is incapable of operation without the assistance of human muscle power. E-bikes and several types of mopeds such as those used often by food delivery drivers, however, may not be used in public without registration.”

    As clarified by the Mayor’s staff:

    “‘After publication, the mayor’s office clarified by email that pedal-assist bikes “are categorized as ‘motorized scooters,’ making them illegal to operate on City streets.'”

    https://theoutline.com/post/2447/everyone-hates-e-bikes?zd=1

    So again: *NOT* legal on the streets of NYC.

  • kevd

    So you are the expert, then!

    It is crazy that where ebikes make even MORE SENSE, where distances are greater and speeds higher, they are all illegal.
    It seems to me that most New Yorkers who know about it are pretty sickened by the NYPD’s confiscation of e-bikes from delivery people (read the twitter comments when they brag about how many underpaid immigrants they put out of work). So I hope the political will shifts overtime to be more in line with public opinion.

    PS Do you know examples non-throttle assist ebikes? When I google, I think I only find models with throttles (or I don’t fully understand the difference)

  • JarekFA

    Yah, such bullshit. I get tired on the bridges. Wouldn’t mind a little boost from time to time. So stupid. So fucking stupid. But sure, drive a 53 foot truck trailer through midtown on Lex and cops won’t do shit even though it’s totally illegal as fuck.

  • Elizabeth F

    > “‘After publication, the mayor’s office clarified by email that pedal-assist bikes “are categorized as ‘motorized scooters,’

    OK, a few points here:

    1. The article you cited above is from November, 2017. The Streetsblog article I shared above is December 15, 2017. Clearly, the Mayor’s understanding of the law has “evolved” in that time.

    2. Pedal-assist e-bikes are most definitely NOT motorized scooters because they require SOME human power to move. NYC Administrative code therefore does not prohibit their use. So we know the Mayor was wrong in this case just by looking carefully at the law he is citing:

    https://law.justia.com/codes/new-york/2006/new-york-city-administrative-code-new/adc019-176.2_19-176.2.html

    > Adding a motor to a bicycle triggers State law requirements.

    Yes… this is what makes pedelecs illegal in NY State, OUTSIDE of NYC. That is why there are efforts in Albany to change this law. HOWEVER… NY State has a system of “carve-outs” in which NYC law is trumps NYS law. Pretty much the entire NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law is replaced by local NYC Administrative Code. That’s how NYC makes its own laws about turn on red, truck routes, speed limits, etc.

    In this case, the state law defining pedelecs as “motorcycles” and requiring their registration just does not apply. If you don’t believe me… ask yourself why NYC went to the effort to define and ban “motorized scooters” in 2004? (Answer: because before that law was passed, they were legal in NYC, even though they were already illegal in the rest of NYS).

    https://zenofebike.blogspot.com/2017/12/history-of-e-bike-laws-in-ny-state.html

  • JarekFA
  • Elizabeth F

    > So you are the expert, then!

    Apparently I am. At least, I’ve spent WAY too much time on this issue in the past year. Because I rely on my e-bike, your mocking not withstanding, and I don’t want it confiscated.

    > It is crazy that where ebikes make even MORE SENSE, where distances are greater and speeds higher, they are all illegal.

    Yes… that is why we are working on a pedal-assist e-bike bill in Albany.

    > It seems to me that most New Yorkers who know about it are
    > pretty sickened by the NYPD’s…

    I think our best hope is that everyone coalesces around support for pedal assist ONLY as a “compromise” and a good way to end the constant e-bike angst. This is something many politicians, upstate and downstate, can support. One way or another, practice on the ground needs to come in line with the pedal-assist message as well. For that reason, although I too am sickened by the targeting of delivery workers, I firmly believe they can and should improve their legal position by disabling their throttles.

    > Do you know examples non-throttle assist ebikes?

    Almost all e-bikes have cadence or torque sensors, which qualify them as pedal assist. If they also have a throttle, all you have to do to convert to pedal-assist is disable/remove that throttle. I did that to my Arrow (delivery) e-bike last Spring. Many e-bike models are designed to be sold with or without throttle, depending on local regulations.

    Many e-bikes, particularly those of European design (where throttles are illegal), are designed purely as pedal assist. This is increasingly true for mid-drive e-bikes (vs hub motors), which I believe really are the future of the industry.

    There are three e-bike shops in NYC that are committed to selling ONLY legal, pedal-assist e-bikes. Because of this commitment, they have successfully avoided paying fines for selling illegal “motorized scooters.” If you are interested, I would recommend you stop in at these shops and try their wares: Greenpath, Bicycle Habitat, and Propel E-Bikes.

  • Altered Beast

    hmmm. seems their headquarters are in industry city and Citibike HQ is there too. I wonder if they fight it out?

  • Elizabeth F

    Motivate IS CitiBike.

  • redbike

    Replace the mingy stingy cargo carriers currently on CitiBikes with the apparently more-capacious baskets pictured on these prototypes!

  • JarekFA

    Elizabeth – I [totally platonic] love your e-bike/pedal assist advocacy and information that you provide [even if I’m not 100% certain if the state of the law is accurate – does anyone truly “know”].

    And I appreciate that we have another long distance bike commuter who weighs in from time to time (aside from Ferdinand, who pedals a regular bike from Woodhaven and admonishes us all for being bike scowflaws and inviting the police persecution). Like, people talk about using e-bikes for long distance commutes. And you do! You literally live in the ‘burbs and you literally pedal a bike into the city. To me, that’s fucking awesome!

  • JarekFA

    I once got my bag strap caught in the “bungee cords” from the citibike basket. I tried for like 20 minutes to disentangle it. I ultimately had to cut the bungee cord (and yes, damaging the bike itself). However, these baskets will become trash receptacles.

  • kevd

    I’m hoping to stay on “push-bikes” for a long time. With luck I won’t be looking into ebikes for another 25 years – but one never knows what could happen with ones health…. So that could lead me to investigating ebikes –
    or if my commuting were to increase dramatically.

  • dpecs

    My feeling is if they can have baskets in Philadelphia (which is admittedly not run by Motivate) and Portland (which is) they can surely get away with having baskets on Citibike (and hopefully they’re moving in that direction

  • Rex Rocket

    I think the original design of the citbike “holder” was to preclude use by delivery people. It is a horrible thing, can hold nothing, no matter how securely fastened with the elastic cord everything will fly out at the first pothole, and of course, nothing fits in it.

  • dpecs

    I don’t know whether it was to preclude use by delivery people or to prevent it from turning into a trash receptacle, but either way, it’s just crappy design. And if frickin’ let’s-Crisco-the-streetlights Philly can be trusted with two baskets on most Indego bikes (one on the handlebars and one as a kind of pannier), New York can be trusted too.

  • kevd

    Paris’ velib bike have baskets.
    They often have a coffee cup or similar bit of trash in them.
    It will probably be a bit worse in NYC.

  • AnoNYC

    I want them to bring over something like these Jump Bikes from DC:

    https://ggwash.org/images/made/images/posts/_resized/IMG_2326_800_600_90.JPG

  • Wilfried84

    In the lead up to launch, I believe that stated reason was to prevent them from being trash receptacles. True, they don’t fit much, but once it’s bungeed in, I’ve never had anything come off.

  • Wilfried84

    I’m willing to bet a lot of money that ebike enforcement has a lot to do with profiling the rider, and very little to do with the legalities of the bike they’re riding.

  • FizzyMyNizzy

    Sooner or later there will have so much of these bike people will just drop it on the floor and leave it. Here is the video of what I am talking about https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdsb2wwn-7g and part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IYu4wzy9Lw

  • redbike

    Your recollection of Alta’s (Motivate’s predecessor) excuse for the mingy stingy cargo carriers is accurate. Do we really want to settle for People Will Behave Badly? The baskets on the pictured prototypes show: we can do better.

  • kevd

    are those dockless?
    what other advantages are there? if the get enough dockless bikes around I might finally join as I live outside of the citibike zone.
    4 days out of 5 I have my own bike. but the number i times i wish I could use a citibike (especially to go home late at night) would make it worth it.

  • snrvlakk

    I agree; a basket would be better than the rack + bungee of today’s Citibikes. But let us, PLEASE, face reality: I have a large basket on my bike, and I would estimate I find other people’s trash in my basket 15-20% of the time my bike is locked up for any significant length of time on a busy sidewalk. I find it INSANELY annoying. There is no reason to think NY’s massive douchebag population will suddenly be cured of its stunning lack of consideration for others by dockless bikeshare bikes. The new baskets will be an improvement; the need to throw away other people’s trash will be a downside.

  • AnoNYC

    They are dockless eBikes with a built in solar charged battery.

  • qrt145

    I find trash in the basket 15% of the time to be way less annoying than no usable basket 100% of the time!

  • JamesR

    Can we talk about a related topic, that being the Nuvinci infinite ratio hubs being fitted to most of the CitiBike fleet? They are apparently replacing both of the existing three speed hub designs with these things, and they feel like pedaling through molasses. I’ve never ridden anything that saps as much power as these hubs and it makes getting up hills and cruising at decent speed on level payment a whole lot tougher. What gives?

  • Canonchet

    Thanks for these well-informed and common-sensical policy recommendations on the still-vexing e-bike issue. It seems clear that most NYC cyclists don’t want to see hardworking low-paid bike-delivery guys penalized, and most probably also favor (pedal-assisted) e-bike access for people who need or feel that they need the extra help physically to make bike commuting feasible. Yet they/we also don’t want to share narrow bike paths with big fast silent electric motorbikes. Is there any realistic way to regulate ‘pedelec’ bikes so that they are not still basically the same thing, traveling most of the time under power at 20-25mph? Should there be exceptions to where e-bikes are allowed, such as the current marked prohibitions on the Hudson Park bikeway? Would it be better for practical NYC purposes to legalize what is already the norm, requiring licensing and safety regs for standard e-bikes (commercial and otherwise) for use on city streets, but not bike paths? There is some middle ground, or lane, to be found here.

  • Geck

    There are also a couple of Citibike docks in Sunset Park near their headquarters, way outside of the service area.

  • Elizabeth F

    > Yet they/we also don’t want to share narrow bike paths with big fast silent electric motorbikes.

    There are some serious class warfare issues here. Some people see the bike lanes as being “for” human-powered vehicles, or the bike paths as being “for” recreation, or object to bike paths being used for “commercial activity” (but are just fine if THEY can use the bike path to commute to work). I see these kinds of comments all the time.

    These kind of class warfare attitudes should be questioned, and they harken back to the Robert Moses era, in which New York’s parkways were built for suburban commuters, but not commerce or people on buses. Instead, we should understand that bicycle infrastructure is “for” the purpose of protecting people from getting maimed by two-ton SUVs. Vehicles that are slow enough and light enough to need protection from automobile / truck traffic should be allowed to use the bicycle infrastructure. That includes e-bikes: they go about as fast as the stronger roadies out there, and when rider is included, they are only marginally heavier than manual bikes.

    Not unfrequently on my way home on a nice day, I get rude comments from recreational cyclists on carbon bikes that the Greenway is not “for” me (on my e-bike). This is after months of having the Greenway essentially to myself all winter long. NYC’s bicycle infrastructure is its ONLY transportation network not permanently clogged by congestion; but I’ve seen too many cyclists who feel there is something seriously wrong if they have to slow down to 10mph for short segments on a busy day. The rest of the time, NYC’s bike netowrk can easily accommodate many more cyclists, electric or manual. We should encourage this for so many reasons. If and when NYC’s bicycle infrastructure becomes congested, we will have a good argument for building more. Witness the recent push to convert another automobile lane to bicycles on the Queensboro bridge…

    Many people complain about e-bikes because “they never follow rules, they go the wrong way in the bike lane, they ride on sidewalks, etc.” Maybe NYPD should ticket bikes for these infractions. I frequently lock my bike up on Broadway 1/2 block south of 33 St. On a nice day, while unlocking my bike, I typically observe at least as many bikes going uptown as downtown (6 or more total, just while unlocking my bike). All kinds of e-bikes are “guilty” of this: CitiBike, E-Bike, you name it. And yet, where is NYPD…? They much prefer to sit over on 1st Ave or Christie St. ticketing bikes for running red lights.

    BikeSnobNYC has suggested an alternative approach to “salmoning” (wrong-way riding): basically, ignore it. The protected bike lanes in Manhattan are not all that narrow, and in hindsight salmoning has not been a significant safety problem. The Bicycling Public Project has pointed out that the existing bicycle infrastructure, while OK for commuters, is not well suited for delivery: in order to stay legal, you have to “ride around the block” 30 times a day, and time is money.

    Pedestrians complain about e-bikes because they are silent. Actually, all bicycles are silent, which was a contributing factor to a very bad crash I once had with a pedestrian (on a manual bike). Too many pedestrians still see protected bike lanes as an extension of the sidewalk and step into them without looking; I know someone who got hurt that way. Too many pedestrians ignore the walk signals and cross the street as soon as cars have cleared — even if a bike is barreling down on them. As a biker, learning to make noise is important, and bells are required in NYC. I use my bell frequently and also vocalize, depending on the situation. This is a skill every bicyclists in NYC should have.

    Every e-bike I see is equipped with a bell. On the other hand, very few carbon bikes in NYC have bells, and I’ve seen bicycle club types online complain bitterly about that law. I’ve seen even fewer actually USE That bell or even vocalize, even when they should have. Why can’t recreational bikers follow the law and just put a bell on their bike?

    Some people have looked at the issue of silent electric cars, and suggested that continuous noise makers be added to them. This would not be a bad idea for e-bikes.

    Part of the e-bike specific complaints, I believe, are because they are illegal (or perceived as illegal), or somehow “cheating.” If everybody understood that e-bikes are legal, that would not stop the complaints — witness the anti-bike folk who regularly argue against more bike lanes because “bikers think they own the road, they never follow traffic rules, etc.” But at least there would be more grudging acceptance that they have a right to exist. Look at how social attitudes toward Marijuana change as states legalize it (I am expressing no opinion on that issue here).

    > Is there any realistic way to regulate ‘pedelec’ bikes so that they are not still basically the same thing, traveling most of the time under power at 20+mph?

    The delivery e-bikes rarely make it to 20mph in the heart of Manhattan — where there is the most consternation over their presence. A 15mph speed limit on the protected bike lanes would be a good idea, along for an explicit law allowing all bikes to ride outside the bike lanes faster than 15mph. But a speed limit should only be used where needed: there are long stretches of bike lane in NYC where 20mph is just fine. Keeping a 20mph pace on those long, empty “bicycle highways” (except when something comes up) is important for getting me to work in a timely fashion.

    > Should there be exceptions to where e-bikes are allowed, such as the current marked prohibitions on the Hudson Park bikeway?

    The marked prohibition on the Hudson River Greenway simply re-iterates what the law already says: “illegal e-bikes” are prohibited. Legal e-bikes are just fine.

    No, there should be no exceptions to where pedelec e-bikes are allowed (on roads; I have no opinion about e-mountain bikes on recreational MTB trails). E-bikes go about as fast as the stronger roadies out there, and would never win a professional bike race. E-bike plus rider is only marginally heavier than a manual bike + rider. E-bike riders go a LOT slower than automobile traffic and are vulnerable road users. They need the same protection from crazy SUV drivers as anyone else. And experience from Europe shows that integrating large numbers of E-bikes into the bicycle infrastructure is safe.

    > Would it be better for practical NYC purposes to legalize what is already the norm, requiring licensing and safety regs for standard e-bikes (commercial and otherwise) for use on city streets, but not bike paths?

    No, NYC should not legalize what is already the norm (illegal class 2 e-bikes with throttles). Instead, it should keep what is already legal (class 1 pedelec e-bikes), and insist that existing e-bike users convert to them. This will already be a BIG compromise for many folks.

    Commercial cyclists, e-bike or manual, already require registration and training.

    Further licensing for pedelec e-bikes is not needed. There is absolutely ZERO data to suggest that e-bikes are more dangerous than any other kind of bike, and studies from Europe suggest more conclusively they are not. E-bike access to bike paths is a critical issue for the usefulness of e-bikes and the safety of their riders.

    One parting thought… the first thing I noticed when I switched to an e-bike was how it encouraged me to be a better, safer road user. E-bikes accelerate easily, have powerful, effective brakes and require less effort in general. I found that I was immediately more willing to hit the brakes for people in front of me because I could always accelerate again. My heart wasn’t pounding, I had less adrenaline in my system, and was immediately less of a hot-head. E-bikes feel more like a machine than manual bikes; so there was less interest in seeing how fast I could go. They go the speed they go, and you will get there when you get there.

    And that is the difference between GOING FAST and RACING. If you’re driving 100mph on an empty Interstate but hit the brakes when you come to a curve, you are going fast. If you are weaving in and out of heavy traffic, doing 65mph while everyone else is doing 45mph, you are racing. Racing is always dangerous, going fast it depends. The most dangerous bikers I see on the Hudson River Greenway are those who are racing. That’s one reason I don’t have a speedometer on my bike and I don’t use Strava.

    In any case, I believe I have become a far SAFER bicycle road users since converting to e-bike.

  • newshuman

    I’ve used a hybrid docking system before — I believe it was in Santa Monica. It worked pretty well. You could pick up and return a bike to the dock or lock it up where you are and also frequently find bikes locked up closer to you. It allowed the system to be more spread out and also to lock up a bike outside restaurants, stores, etc. while also maintaining the dock system which I think is still valuable.

  • newshuman

    Yes, I agree, they are not as nice as three speed hubs — the molasses comparison is a good one — but they require almost zero maintenance. Probably citibike’s #1 maintenance issue is the three-speed hubs. The cable that controls the hub slowly stretches over time and as a result the shifter gets out of whack pretty easily. It’s an easy fix but requires pretty regular maintenance. Those Nuvinci shifters are quite expensive but require virtually no maintenance. I prefer a reliable bike.

  • AS you can see, all stored on the sidewalk! So this is the new standard, Why not in the parking lane?
    This is not going to end well in Manhattan..

  • Just 10 bikes parked in one place on the sidewalk in Manhattan would completely obstruct pedestrians. WE must insist that the bike parking be in the parking lane. take away car parking…

  • redbike

    Agreed – reliability trumps other considerations, and I’ve found bikes with the NuVinci hub to be highly reliable, more reliable than the Sturmey Archer or Shimano hubs. (Perhaps that’s because the NuVinci hubs are newer.) Once – count them – one time, I was on a NuVinci-equipped bike with a shifter that rotated through the full range but the hub remained in “low”. My guess is whatever clamped the shifter cable was loose or perhaps the cable itself had failed. But that was only once.

    As to pedaling through molasses, there are other sources of friction besides the rear hub. For example, try spinning the cranks backwards. I don’t do that too frequently, but when I’m on a notably sluggish CitiBike, a cranky bottom bracket is often the culprit. It’s a nuisance, not sufficient reason to tap the “wrench” button at the end of the ride. And specific to this thread, it’s not a problem with the rear hub.

  • No, an answer to salmoning is most definitely not to ignore it. Contrary to your assertion, salmoning is indeed a serious safety problem, one which I witness on a nightly basis on my ride home. (It’s worse at night, because so few bicyclists use lights; and those bicyclists who are irresponsible enough to ride the wrong way are even less likely to have lights.)

    On two separate occasions I have been hit and knocked off my bike by salmoning cyclists; once it was head-on, and once I was t-boned when the cyclist came the wrong way on a street and blew a light.

    What’s more, a bike coming the wrong way harasses pedestrians, who are entitled to look in the direction of traffic when crossing the street. Just last week I had an uncomfortably close call with a speeding salmoner while I was crossing a street on foot.

    People who ride their bikes the wrong way are inconsiderate scumbags.

    Also, I am compelled to say again that those who complain about your use of an e-bike on the Greenway are absolutely right. And you are way out of line to ascribe to “class warfare” the legitimate opposition that bicyclists have to the use of bicycle infrastructure by a motorised vehicle.

    It’s true that the stigmatising of delivery workers, which has led to the current crackdown, is driven by class hatred as well as by racism. But do not conflate these issues — you are not a delivery worker; you are a commuter.

    I as a class-conscious proleterian am in favour of class warfare; and I come down firmly on the side of the working class. Don’t you dare co-opt the meaningful term “class warfare” as a way of justifying your improper intrusion into bike-only infrastructure with a vehicle that can easily use streets and the general traffic lanes.

    Because you can move at 20 miles per hour, you can keep up with street traffic in your commute between Westchester and Manhattan. On any number of occasions I have ridden my regular bike to and from Westchester using the streets, averaging a little more than half that speed; the only problems were the hills, an issue which you will not face on your motorised vehicle.

    Let’s be clear: all e-bikes — including those with throttles — should be legal. There is no sound basis for the State to refuse to register these vehicles which are non-polluting and safe. We as a society should be promoting the use of these vehicles. And the police should turn their enforcement attention to people operating cars and trucks, not to people operating e-bikes (even if riders of e-bikes cannot be defended in the acts of blowing lights and riding the wrong way).

    You mentioned that your e-bike requires less effort than a bicycle does, and even that it “feels more like a machine”. Damn right it’s a machine; it’s a motorcycle, not a bicycle. It’s the lightest and best kind of motorcycle; but it is a motorcycle. It should be registerable, and riders should need a licence — exactly the same as a gas-powered scooter that goes at the same speed.

    One cannot repeat often enough that a bicycle lane is not for motorcycles, whether with electric or gasoline motors. Furthermore, a bike lane is not for pedestrians (including joggers), or skateboards, or rollerblades, or hoverboards, or Segways, or pogo sticks, or stilts… or any other kind of non-bicycle activity that you can think of. It’s not for wheelchairs, or shopping carts, or hot-dog stands, or piragua wagons. A bicycle lane is exclusively for bicycles, for vehicles with pedals that are powered 100% by their riders’ muscles.

  • Elizabeth F

    > No, an answer to salmoning is most definitely not to ignore it.

    I was trying to share a variety of viewpoints on the issue without endorsing any one of them; and to tell you the truth, I don’t know what my opinion is on salmoning. This is clearly a discussion that needs to be had; but can’t right now, because everyone’s effort is being expended on e-bikes instead.

    > Also, I am compelled to say again that those who complain about your use of an e-bike on the Greenway are absolutely right.

    That is your opinion, and I’m smart enough to know I’m not going to change it with more keystrokes. But if you want to change my opinion, please show some safety data to back up yours.

    > Because you can move at 20 miles per hour, you can keep up with street traffic in your commute between Westchester and Manhattan

    1. Absolutely not true. How much have you ridden in the Bronx on the 4-lane “suburban arterials” out there?

    2. Taking local roads for 15-20 miles is slow and dangerous. Cars have a network of Parkways, bikes have the Hudson River Greenway, rail riders have Metro North. Without one or the other, I’d never make it to work. Nobody commutes to Manhattan on the local roads.

    > A bicycle lane is exclusively for bicycles, for vehicles with pedals that are powered 100% by their riders’ muscles.

    Get with the program, this is NYC. People get around by many means, but there are only a limited number of different venues for them to get around on: roads, bike lanes/paths, shared use paths and sidewalks. Sorry, but you’re gonna have to share with a lot of the vehicles you listed.

  • qrt145

    “A bicycle lane is exclusively for bicycles, for vehicles with pedals that are powered 100% by their riders’ muscles.”

    Why? More specifically, why should anyone except an overzealous bike purist even care if someone is using muscles or not? What should matter is speed, mass, and size. E-bikes of the kind we are talking about are no faster than regular bikes and only marginally heavier; therefore they belong in bike lanes. Electric motorcyles (the ones that look like real motorcycles instead of like bicycles) are a different story.

  • In the southern part of the Bronx, I frequently take Willis Avenue or Third Avenues (with bike lanes) after having crossed from one of the Harlem River bridges, or else St. Ann’s St. (bike lane) if I am coming from Randall’s Island.

    Farther north I like to use Third Avenue (no bike lane in that section) or Melrose Avenue (bike lane), the latter of which leads you to Park Avenue, where you have a convenient bike lane on the left side of both halves of this divided street. I also like Webster Avenue, which has no bike lane, but whose bus lane provides a nice — though not exactly legal — spot to ride. (There’s another law that should be changed!)

    I have also taken the Concourse to its northern end several times, which does not really get you close to Westchester. But then there’s Boston Road, which I have taken up to Westchester — and even up to Connecticut. And when I go to the Summer Streets event on the Bronx River Parkway in Westchester, I turn off Boston Road at Dyre Avenue, which allows me to proceed north in Westchester on Gramatan Avenue.

    The point is that the Bronx is generally a fine place to ride, with plenty of good options. The bad thing about the Bronx is not the streets but the geography, with some killer hills. For example, it’s a nice ride coming south on Sedgwick Avenue from the Hall of Fame of Great Americans at Bronx Community College; but you don’t want to go up that magilla. And once, after having crossed into the Bronx on Broadway, I took Kingsbridge Road and wound up hitting the highest speed that I have ever attained, something like 35 miles per hour (too damn fast). You can be sure that I did not go back the same way.

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