JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Police are reminding the public that “motorized assisted bicycles” are prohibited from being used on any public highway or sidewalk in the State of New York.
The reminder comes after several citizens reportedly asked police if they could be operated on a public roadway.
In addition, Jamestown Police said that, according to the DMV website, the bikes can’t be registered.
Police said operators who are stopped by officers could face multiple vehicle and traffic charges, including operating an unregistered, uninsured and uninspected motor vehicle, and possibly more charges.
This reportedly includes both the gas powered and electric models, and some of these are capable of speeds of 30-to-40 mph.
Class one electric bicycles are defined as bikes under 750 Watts, have NO throttle, and are only assisted up to 20 MPH. These bikes must be pedaled to make them work, and the assist can be turned off at any time therefore used as a regular bicycle. For something to be considered motorized it would have to have a throttle to accelerate the motor.
I thing the real problem in the City is the gas powered bicycles that have been modified with motors that rip around the City at unreasonable speeds not obeying any traffic laws.I think that ticketing an electric class 1 e bike would have a very tough time holding up in court. This is just my opinion after much research, and discussions with many different lay enforcement agencies in this State.
NY City as now approved the use of class 1 e bikes.
New York State (NYS) includes “motor-assisted bicycles” within its list of vehicles which cannot be registered. A Federal agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), has exclusive jurisdiction over electric bicycles as to consumer product regulations.
Despite the illegal status in the state of New York, enforcement of this law varies at the local level. New York City enforces the bike ban with fines and vehicle confiscation for throttle activated electric bikes. However, Mayor Bill de Blasio has recently changed the city’s official policy to legalize pedal-assist electric bikes that have a maximum speed limited to 20 mph.  Contrarily, Tompkins County supports electric bike usage, even providing grant money to fund electric bike share/rental projects.
Several bills have been sponsored to legalize electric bicycles for use on NYS roads, and several have overwhelmingly passed at the committee level, but none of these initiatives has been able to be heard and then passed in the New York State Senate, until 2015. The latest bill S3997, “An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the definition of electric assisted bicycle. Clarifying the vehicle and traffic law to define electric assisted bicycles; establish that electric assisted bicycles, as defined, are bicycles, not motor vehicles; and establish safety and operational criteria for their use.” has passed in the Senate for the first time ever in 2015. The related Assembly bill A233 was not brought to a vote in the assembly even though it had passed with little issue in prior years.