Electric Citi Bikes return to NYC after brake redesign

February 19, 2020

Photo courtesy of Lyft

Citi Bike’s popular pedal-assist fleet has returned to New York City, nearly a year after the company pulled them from service because of a safety issue. The bike-share company, operated by Lyft, announced on Wednesday plans to start rolling out “several hundred” e-bikes, which will be available to rent at the nearly 900 Citi Bike stations found across the city.

Last April, the company removed all 1,000 of its e-bikes after some riders “experienced stronger-than-expected braking force on the front wheel,” according to the company, and were thrown over the handlebars of the bikes. To address the issue, the new models have a motor on the back wheel, instead of the front, and a redesigned brake.

Pricing for the new fleet reflects changes announced last year, including charging 10 cents per minute for members, who pay $169 per year. The charge will be capped at $2 for rides under 45 minutes beginning or ending outside of Manhattan. Non-members will pay 15 centers per minute, with riders who are part of the reduced fare program paying five cents per minute.

“It’s great news that Lyft has reintroduced the very popular pedal-assist bikes that Citi Bike first introduced into the fleet in 2018,” Polly Trottenberg, NYC DOT commissioner, said in a statement.

“We are confident that the return of these sought-after bikes will allow our partners at Lyft to build on the record-breaking ridership Citi Bike saw last summer — and will help even more people discover the joy and convenience of cycling in New York City.”

Last year, Lyft revealed plans to triple the number of Citi Bikes and double its service area across the five boroughs over the next five years. New bike stations will be built in the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan this year, with neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn and western Queens getting new stations by 2023.

“With the Citi Bike ebike, riders can conquer hills and cross the East River bridges without breaking a sweat, and we can’t wait to bring this transformative new option to even more New Yorkers as we work with NYC DOT to expand the network in upper Manhattan and the South Bronx in the coming months,” Caroline Samponaro, head of micro-mobility policy for Lyft, said in a statement.

About 250 e-bikes will be rolled out on Wednesday, hitting Queens and Brooklyn “near bridges,” as Streetsblog reported. The pedal-assist e-bikes can travel up to 18 miles per hour and can be unlocked via the Citi Bike app. Find a station near you with this interactive map.


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