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200 Pedal-Assist Citi Bikes Debut, More To Be Added to Help Displaced L-Train Riders During Shutdown


Aug. 20, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez

A new kind of bicycle has made its way to the Citi Bike fleet.

Pedal assist bikes, or bikes with a small electric motor in them, have been added to the bike share system in a bid to provide smoother rides for users, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today after a ceremonial ride over the Brooklyn Bridge with Borough President Adams.

Citi Bike is integrating 200 of these bikes into its fleet of 12,000 bikes, and expects to add 1,000 more specifically for commuters who need to cross the Williamsburg Bridge, when the Canarsie tunnel shuts down for repairs.

The pedal-assist bikes provide an electric boost that help make climbing hills and long-distance travel easier for riders, with speeds up to 18 miles per hour.


With cycling expected to increase dramatically during the L train shutdown, the city is aiming to make it easier and faster for riders to get across the bridge.

“Not only will pedal-assist bicycles play a meaningful role in mitigating the impact of the L train shutdown, it will expand the accessibility and attractiveness of biking in New York City,” said Borough President Adams in a statement.

The e-bikes are characterized by a lightning bolt on the bike, and can be activated by pressing the power button below the handlebars. The rides are included in Citi Bike memberships at no extra cost. To find a bike, users can check out the Citi Bike app and look for the lightning bolt icon. In addition, the e-bikes can be docked at any station.

The 200 new e-bikes are being introduced two months after the mayor and the Department of Transportation announced that bike share coverage would be beefed up in some neighborhoods, including Williamsburg, to meet anticipated demand with the April 2019 shutdown of the Canarsie tunnel.

The June announcement also included the creation of temporary Citi Bike shuttle with 1,000 pedal-assist bikes over the Williamsburg Bridge before the shutdown.

Two shuttle docking stations would be located in Williamsburg, while the other two would be in Manhattan for the e-bike shuttle’s exclusive use, meaning that riders can only use them to cross the bridge.

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