With the rising popularity of electric bicycles, also known as E-Bikes, it's important to know the rules of the road.

The usefulness of E-Bikes all depends on who you ask. With many building owners viewing the bicycles' lithium-ion batteries as a fire hazard, local schools like the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) have gone as far as banning students from storing them on campus.

New York police have a message about E-Bikes as well.

Many E-Bikes have started to look more and more like scooters or motorcycles in New York
Many E-Bikes have started to look more and more like scooters or motorcycles in New York (L. Morganstern)
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Bans on Electric Bicycles in New York State

More battery-powered vehicles have been flooding the market, and many of them are looking less and less like actual bicycles (above). Authorities have noticed an increased trend of drivers mislabeling their vehicles as E-Bikes to avoid certain rules of the road, like traffic signals, license plates, or even vehicle registration.

The CIA in Hyde Park, NY is banning lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles on campus effective February 17th 2023
The CIA in Hyde Park, NY is banning lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles on campus effective February 17th 2023 (akova via Canva/Google)
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"Fake" E-Bike Crackdown in New York

"All electric 2-wheel vehicles are not E-Bikes!", a New York City Police Department (NYPD) precinct recently posted on Facebook.

The message was meant to raise awareness of the current crackdown on motorists allegedly trying to pass off other vehicles as E-Bikes. Luckily, the NYPD's definition is simple.

New York authorities have a very simple definition when it comes to the difference between E-Bikes and scooters: pedals
New York authorities have a very simple definition when it comes to the difference between E-Bikes and scooters: pedals (Canva)
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The Difference Between an E-Bike and Scooter in New York

According to New York authorities, the distinguishing factor between E-Bikes and other two-wheeled vehicles is rather obvious: pedals.

While pedals are a great place to start, a more technical difference between a government-regulated vehicle and an E-Bike, which may be allowed on pedestrian paths and other areas closed to motor vehicles, is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Police across New York State are issuing tickets to unregistered and unlicensed scooters and mopeds
Police across New York State are issuing tickets to unregistered and unlicensed scooters and mopeds (NYPD 114 Precinct via Facebook)
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A VIN is the easiest way to tell whether or not your new toy needs to be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Mopeds, scooters, and many other E-Bike look-a-likes need to be registered, insured, and issued license plates before being declared roadworthy.

If not, New Yorkers could face hefty fines.

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Hudson Valley residents can expect to be fined up to nearly $400 for driving an unregistered vehicle, and vehicles without insurance can cause drivers a litany of headaches.

Bottom line, driving a scooter and pretending it's an E-Bike is like reciting the alphabet when you're drunk: you might think you're slick, but everyone else can tell what's going on.

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