NYC DOT Working to Authorize the Use of Larger Pedal-Assist Cargo Bikes

NYC DOT Working to Authorize the Use of Larger Pedal-Assist Cargo Bikes

BoroPark24 Staff

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced today that the NYC DOT is working to authorize the use of larger pedal-assist cargo bikes. 

The proposed rule would permit the use of cargo bikes which are designed to make deliveries safer and more sustainable by reducing the number of delivery trucks on New York City streets.

"Greater use of cargo bikes will bring incredible environmental and safety benefits for New York City by reducing the number of large, high-polluting trucks on our streets," says NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "Just two cargo bikes can replace one box truck, increasing safety and reducing CO2 emission by 14 tons per year — equivalent to 30,872 passenger car miles traveled."

The proposed rule would expand low or no-emission options for freight deliveries — including packages and groceries — by allowing the use of pedal-assist bicycles that may be up to 48 inches wide and have up to four wheels. The expanded width and wheel allowance, combined with the pedal-assist feature, make cargo bikes easier to pedal while carrying heavy loads. Current rules restrict such devices to a maximum width of 36 inches with no fourth wheel.

Since NYC DOT's launch of its Commercial Cargo Bike pilot program in 2019, cargo-bike deliveries have increased significantly in New York City. In 2022, cargo bikes made more than 130,000 trips delivering over 5 million packages, resulting in the reduction of over 650,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions and demonstrating their effectiveness as a last-mile delivery mode. Based on trends in the freight delivery industry, NYC DOT has determined there is even more unmet demand that could be addressed through this proposed rule change.

The pedal-assist feature of these bikes activates a small motor only when users are pedaling. The technology is commonly used by existing e-bicycle carriers — as well as on Citi Bike's popular pedal-assist models.

The announcement of the proposed rule in the City Record today begins the 30-day public comment period. NYC DOT will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed rule. Members of the public may access and participate in this hearing online or by telephone. The public hearing will take place on September 13 at 10:00 a.m. Anyone may provide written comments on the proposed rule by submitting comments to NYC DOT  here, email to [email protected], mail to Diniece Mendes, New York City Department of Transportation, 55 Water Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10041, or fax comments to 212-839-7777.

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