New York E-Bike Law Bans Carrying Kids

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Tern Bicycles GSD

This is, in fact, one of the things that e-bikes are really good at. Another dumb move.

We recently have been complaining about the new e-bike law in New York State and its implications in New York City. How e-bikes that are essentially bikes with a little motor can be banned anywhere at a whim, and are now banned on the Hudson Greenway.

Now it appears also that the new law bans the use of cargo bikes – that everywhere else in the world are fabulous kid haulers – from hauling kids. Derek wrote about Tern cargo bikes, where The Tern GSD is designed to carry "two kids, a week’s worth of groceries, or 180 kg of cargo." But you can't do that in New York.

legislation that bans carrying kids on ebikes

legislation that bans carrying kids on e-bikes/Screen capture

One clause says, "No person less than 16 years of age shall ... ride as a passenger upon a bicycle with electric assist, and no person sixteen years or older (hi, mom!) shall allow any person less than sixteen years old to operate or ride as a passenger in such a bicycle."

"We only say the bike specifically."

©. Big Easy with kids on back/ Surly

© Big Easy with kids on back/ Surly

But not all cargo bikes have buckets in front. The Tern, or the Surly Big Easy that I tried in Minneapolis, have two wheels and a motor. They are bikes. They are electric. They carry kids. They are illegal under this legislation, and you can't separate them out "specifically."

State Senator Ramos says it's all a mistake, but it's typical of the entire bill. And again, it is fundamentally wrong, because cargo bikes and cities like New York were made for each other. As Galen Crout, Communications Manager at Tern, told Derek: "Dense urban centers bring cargo bikes to life, where groceries, schools and work are all within a bikeable distance."

It really is insanity. They have been arguing about e-bikes in New York for years, there is so much experience out there in other cities and countries, and yet they come up with this.