Citi Bike Stations Get Electric Bikes, Including on the UWS

An electric bike at 72nd and Riverside Drive. Photo by Joy Bergmann.

Electric bikes are all the rage these days, and they’re now available at several Citi Bike stations in the city.

The e-bikes can be docked at any Citi Bike station, so there’s no guarantee that they’ll be available at local stations at any given moment. But they’ve been seen often around the neighborhood in recent days. To find an electric Citi Bike, look for the lightning bolt symbol on your Citi Bike map, as seen at left.

The motors on the “pedal-assist” bikes are engaged when the rider starts pedaling. They can go up to 18 miles per hour.

Throttle-powered e-bikes that can often go faster than 20 mph — the kind used by many delivery workers —  are still illegal in the city.

So far there are just 200 total electric Citi Bikes on the streets, but the company behind Citi Bike plans to add 1,000 more e-bikes once the L train shuts down next year.

NEWS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. Chris says:

      18 miles an hour is to fast for the city. Wonder how many feet it takes to stop a bike going that fast through a red light.

    2. Lord Of The Slice says:


      E-bikes are banned in New York City since they’re considered “motorized scooters” under the city’s administrative code.

      • Woody says:

        Did you not understand the distinction made in the article between pedal-assist and throttle-powered ebikes?

      • RK says:

        Not if they’re pedal assist, meaning you still have to pedal it, the ebike just makes the pedaling easier. So you can’t do 18mph at will, you need to be pedaling really quickly to achieve that.
        Delivery bikes override the pedaling, which lets them act like scooters, which are illegal. IIUC cops have to see delivery people moving w/o pedaling in order to impound the bikes.

    3. Joan says:

      I would have no objection to electric bikes if the bicyclists obeyed traffic laws. Most go right through red lights. Do not give the right of way to pedestrians. Often they ride on sidewalks. At night they are practically invisible as many have no lights or reflectors and they weave between cars that are stopped at lights and as you are crossing the street you are lucky if they don’t hit you. If you tell a bicyclist that they are not supposed to ride on the sidewalk they totally ignore you. I never see a bicyclist get ticketed which is one solution since they have no regard for the pedestrian.

      • Woody says:

        I would have no objection to pedestrians if the pedestrian obeyed traffic laws. Most go right through red lights. Do not give the right of way to cyclists. Often they walk on the bike lanes. At night they are practically invisible as many have no lights or reflectors and they weave between cars that are stopped at lights and as you are cycling the street you are lucky if they don’t hit you. If you tell a pedestrian that they are not supposed to walk on the bike lanes they totally ignore you. I never see a pedestrian get ticketed which is one solution since they have no regard for the cyclist.

        • your_neighbor says:

          Well done Woody.

          Let’s all share the streets safely.

        • Nat says:

          Walking/strolling pedestrians pose little threat since we don’t walk that fast. Conversely., bicyclists– incl. those on motorized bikes– pose a great risk to pedestrians on sidewalks and pedestrian only paths in the parks. Where is the enforcement of traffic rules?

          • Woody says:

            That’s a lame excuse for pedestrians who stubbornly defend their non-compliant behavior. Pedestrians are just as capable of causing accidents as cyclists. You can’t point fingers at cyclists while blatantly acting above both the often-cited laws and a common sense of sharing the streets properly.

        • Tom says:

          Hahahaha. I agree with you, Woody!

      • Arjan says:

        I think you make a fair point in summing up all these issues, which are the reasons so many people dislike cyclists.

        However, none of these arguments are for e-bikes specifically and it just reads like a general rant against cyclists instead of making a fair point why Citybike shouldn’t offer pedal-assisted bikes.

      • Paul says:

        of course all CitiBikes have lights and reflectors.

        having said that, I’m not sure we are ready for motorized citibikes, but it would make that hill in Central Park more attractive.

      • Citycatsman says:

        Hear Hear!

    4. Crank E. Guy says:

      Re: “Electric bikes are … now available at several Citi Bike stations….”

      Electric Bikes? SHOCKING!!

      Also shocking is the height of the seat on that first bike in the pic. The last user must’ve been (a) very-very tall, and (b) very-very inconsiderate to NOT lower the seat for the next user. Probably the type who never wipes down the gym equipment.

      • Chris says:

        Not that shocking, I’m 6.2 and ride with the seat at 11, that one is set at 9.

      • Chris says:

        It makes no sense to lower the seat for the next user since there’s no way to know how tall the next user will be! Everyone must adjust the seat when they take the bike.

      • josh says:

        Huh? Why lower the seat for the next person (or raise it)? Everyone has to adjust the seat to their own height regardless. Clearly a comment by some who does not ride citibikes.

    5. runaway tourist says:

      Well this won’t end well…

      • RK says:

        Care to wager on that? People have bet against Citibike from the beginning.

        Just wait until the dockless electric scooters get here…

    6. GrumpyOldMan says:

      Shame! Another existential threat to pedestrians. And not for nothing, does “illegal” re: two and four wheeled vehicles have any enforceable meaning in New York City? The streets of New York are an anarchy. Which politician in New York speaks for the interest of pedestrians? None!

    7. nyc10023 says:

      Really? Now we have to dodge delivery dudes and tourists on citibikes?

      Whose bright idea was this and also let’s get this hairbrained idea (now I sound like my dad) reversed.

    8. UWS_lifer says:

      What’s the matter? People weren’t being hurt enough on these things? There weren’t enough people getting run over?

      Did Citibank just start a “strategic partnership” with those Urgent Care places all over the neighborhood??

      By the way, I thought one of the big selling points of riding bikes was the exercise?

      • Josh P. says:

        Nobody has ever been killed by a citibike.

      • LCNYC says:

        Do you really think Citibank owns Citibike? I thought everyone had finally moved past that idiocy. Citibank just has naming rights – essentially, they paid for advertising on the bikes. Did you also think that ads on the side of buses denote ownership?

      • Arjan says:

        The exercise is one this (although you still have to pedal with these bikes), the other big plus I see is that someone on a bike is not driving a car, on the already pretty much clogged streets.

    9. SomeGuy says:

      Not as great as they seem. They have a very limited range before battery requires replacing/recharging. And for some reason, they did not plan a way to utilize the docks to recharge the batteries, so the batteries have to be replaced pretty much daily. Good luck finding one in a dock without the red light on.

      • RK says:

        They’re pedal assist so they are self-charging. Or more to the point, you charge them by pedaling.

    10. Scott says:

      This is quite good. Do the e-bikes cost more to rent?

      • Who decided this? says:

        It’s good in a fantasy novel. It’s absurd on the streets of New York, where it will result in injuries and deaths. And then, of course, lawsuits.

    11. Mitchel says:

      The new e-citibikes are great! Makes cycling much more feasible in hot weather or on hilly commutes. The city must continue pushing for any and all modes of transportation that get people out of cars, especially as the subway is currently unreliable. Drivers are a minority in the city and should not be given so much free space in the form of on-street parking and too-wide streets. More cycles, scooters, and bike lanes all across the UWS!

    12. young man! says:

      18mph doesn’t sound very fast but on the streets of Manhattan an inexperienced rider can get into a lot of trouble really fast at that speed hurting themselves as well as possibly others.
      As someone who rides a bike in Manhattan this seems like a bad idea.

    13. sturosen says:

      I have seen a number of these on the UWS, and each time the bike was “out of order” with the red light on. As they are brand new bikes, the likely issue is that the battery drained down. Which also means that these bikes will get limited usage because they will need to be charged all the time.

      I understand the theoretical need — citibikes are very heavy and using them on hills can be daunting for many. But the citi bike zones in NY arent very hilly (this isnt San Francisco), so I just don’t see the need. The lowest gear on the current analog models can get most folks easily up the few hills around here. I predict that Citibike will realize the futility and abandon the experiment.

      I also agree that the chance for an accident is magnified.

    14. Burton says:

      As someone who has actually used one of the electric bikes, I have to say I don’t see the point in Manhattan. They’re meant to help people who have very long commutes from outer burroughs who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get where they were going in the alloted 45 minutes. There’s no need for them within Manhattan. Also, part of the reason for cycling is the health benefits, but there’s almost zero pedaling required on theseL it’s like sitting on a bus unless you want to go really fast, which I wouldn’t trust myself to do anyways. Another point: the bikes need to be recharged so they require much more maintenance from Citibike than the regular ones. Most of the electric bikes I’ve seen couldn’t be checked out for this reason.

    15. Alta says:

      Can we ban the 3,000 pound, fossil fuel powered, 4 seater, 100mph+ vehicles that kill hundreds of New Yorkers a year, and stop talking about 30 pound bikes that have killed almost no one? Just by the statistics alone this discussion should be over.

      Complaining about bikes while looking to other way on “auto accidents” is nuts.

    16. Fergie says:

      An elderly woman while walking her dog was crossing Columbus and was hit by a food delivery person going in the wrong direction (on an electric bike) in the bike lane. Look both ways 3 times and good luck to you.