NYC proposes more e-cargo bikes on the city’s streets

  • Proposed update to NYC regulations would allow for wider four-wheeled e-cargo bikes, helping to take more polluting trucks off the roads.
  • If approved, the new rules would put New York City in line with European cities such as London in joining the electric cargo bike revolution.
  • Just two four-wheeled e-cargo bikes can replace one fossil fuel-powered box truck.

NYC’s last-mile deliveries set to go green?

New York City’s Department of Transportation has announced plans to bring in regulations allowing the use of larger e-cargo bikes on the city’s streets.

The USA has lagged behind the rest of the world when it comes to using cargo bikes for last mile deliveries. However, New York City is an exception in that respect, already being one of the leaders within the USA in getting polluting delivery trucks off of congested city streets. It launched its commercial cargo bike initiative back in 2019, with companies such as Amazon and UPS getting onboard with the scheme. In 2022 alone, over 130,000 cargo bike trips were made in the city, resulting in over 5 million packages delivered.

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Updated e-cargo bike rules

The current rules in the city allow for e-cargo bikes up to 36 inches in width, which cannot have more than three wheels. However, the city’s Department of Transport is proposing changes to these rules, as it believes that there is untapped delivery demand which can be met with larger e-cargo bikes. These new rules would allow the bikes to be up to 48 inches wide and have four wheels, along with pedal-assist power. These bikes have greater stability and a significantly larger hauling capacity, which could make them even more of a viable replacement for trucks and vans.

Of course, commercial vans don’t have to be powered by polluting diesel engines – companies including General Motors and Rivian are bringing out fully-electric, no-compromise vans. But for last-mile deliveries, expect e-cargo bikes to become increasingly popular, especially in areas where road space is hard to come by.

“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. 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”

Ydanis Rodriguez, Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation

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