Commuting in New York City

by Mark on August 20, 2010

There's no folding bike on this list

Phew, no icon for folding bikes

Riding a bicycle in a city like New York is rough, and there are many times during my commute when I’ve had to pound my fist on the sides of cabs, yell at pedestrians, and make questionable maneuvers to save myself from a massive wipeout. I don’t know where this picture is from, but it’s pretty clear that he’s racked up quite a few “points” in the game of commuting.

With all of the new bike lanes in Manhattan, the roads are definitely safer for cyclists. Now, bike lanes aren’t the perfect solution. Even the brand-spanking-new lanes on First Avenue are littered with delivery trucks, idling cabs, and oblivious pedestrians. Getting through this jumble is a bit hectic, but if you’re looking to rack up a few “points” like the guy in this car, it’s a gold mine.

One way to avoid the dangerous streets of Manhattan is to stick to the waterfront bike paths, like the Hudson River Greenway or the East River Greenway. The nice thing about these bike paths is that electric bikes are allowed to ride there, since they are speed limited to 20 mph. Riding with my broken ankle on an eZee Forza electric bike, I was able to ride through the new riverside paths in DUMBO and along the Hudson with no problems at all. It’s a beautiful Sunday ride, and the electric motor helps to take a lot of the strain out of riding. There’s also no stress from NYC traffic, which is nice and relaxing.

I know the city is working on a beautiful Brooklyn bike path that runs from Greenpoint all the way to downtown Brooklyn, so I’ll be able to have some relaxing trips through Brooklyn in the near future as well. Hopefully we won’t see many more of these tally marks!

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  • Monica McLaughlin

    Electric bikes are okay to use on the East River Greenway? Where can I find more information on this? Thank you.

  • Mark

    Since electric bikes technically follow all the same laws as regular bikes, you should be able to ride them on any bike path. I took the massive A2B electric bike down the Hudson River Greenway last summer (on a Sunday) and had no problems. I even asked some police for directions!

    I’ve never done the East River Greenway on an electric, but I would think it’s the same as the Hudson. I know electric bikes are legal under federal law, but I think New York state still has a law against “motorized bicycles.” The good news is, they’re definitely more accepted now than they were a few years ago.

  • Monica McLaughlin

    I did a bit of research on this. According to the U.S. Federal Government, (Public Law No 107-319) it is a bicycle so long as it has pedals, (and is capable of being propelled by those pedals) an electric motor of no more than 750 watts, and a top speed (on motor only) of 20 mph. Because this is Federal law, the state of New York cannot claim bikes that fit into this category are not bikes. It makes sense that they would therefore be illegal to use on all public roads but fine to be used any place a regular bicycle goes.

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