Press Releases

March 27, 2024
Contact: (212) 839-4850,

NYC DOT Authorizes the Use of E-Cargo Bikes on City Streets and Establishes Key Safety Standards

New rules allow pedal-assist e-cargo bicycles to operate on-street to make deliveries safer and more sustainable

E-Cargo bike
Image of NYC DOT pedal-assist e-cargo bicycle, "Cargi B"

New York – New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today announced that the agency has authorized the use of e-cargo bikes on city streets and established key safety standards. New rules announced today are designed to make deliveries safer and more sustainable by reducing the number of large delivery trucks on New York City streets. Large delivery trucks can present safety risks to pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users; are less environmentally-friendly; and often double-park on busy roadways or on sidewalks.

"Building a more sustainable city means reimagining deliveries in New York City," said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "For too long, large trucks have been the only option, bringing congestion and pollution with them. Low- and no-emission cargo bikes are one of the ways that we're changing that paradigm, so we can get what we want, when we want it, without poisoning our air or clogging our streets. From these new rules, to using our rivers more for deliveries through our Blue Highways initiative, to establishing microdelivery hubs, to the coming creation of a new Department of Sustainable Deliveries, we're making it easier and cleaner for New Yorkers to get their goods and services."

"The pandemic fundamentally changed the way we shop; now, 80% of us get at least one package delivered a week. We are accommodating this change in consumer culture-- and preparing for congestion pricing-- by encouraging environmental package delivery, away from cars and trucks," said New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "This is the way of the future- along with leveraging our waterways, and creating delivery hubs for freight to go directly onto bikes. With these innovations, New York City will be the greenest city in the nation."

"Achieving a safer and greener transportation future includes reducing the number of large, high-polluting trucks on our streets," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "Authorizing these new delivery options will better protect our environment and all road users."

The finalized rules increase low- or no-emission options for freight deliveries — including packages and groceries — by allowing the use of pedal-assist electric-cargo bicycles that may be up to 48 inches wide and have up to four wheels. NYC DOT will provide e-cargo bike operators with safety training and educational materials on e-cargo bike use and battery charging.

The rules expand the legal definition of "bicycle" to include "pedal-assist bicycle" and define "commercial bicycle" as a bicycle used to transport commercial goods. The rules also establish new curb regulations— a "Commercial Bicycle Loading Only" zone—to allow dedicated space at the curb for cargo bikes to load and unload goods.

New York City supports e-micromobility deliveries through innovative policies and enhanced street designs while promoting safety education and training guidelines for cargo bike riders. These steps will provide for a harmonious integration of e-cargo bikes in a sustainable manner into the landscape of New York City.

NYC DOT made several adjustments to draft rules proposed last year based on feedback received during the public comment period. Four key adjustments from the proposed rules include:

  • To address safety concerns, the e-cargo bike speed limit was reduced from the proposed 20 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour.
  • To address concerns about pedestrian access, e-cargo bikes cannot be parked or be left unattended on a sidewalk for any reason—even temporarily.
  • To encourage proper loading of e-cargo bikes, riders must make sure the e-cargo bike complies with the manufacturer's weight rating specifications.
  • To encourage the adoption of e-cargo bikes and to addresses concerns that the previously proposed rules would prohibit commonly manufactured cargo bike models, the maximum length and height allowances were expanded.
    • The maximum length of cargo bikes, including bike and trailer combinations, increased from 10 feet to 16 feet.
    • The maximum height increased from 78 inches to 84 inches.
    • These expanded dimensions will enable small businesses and logistics companies to replace larger trucks and vans with cargo bicycle models successfully deployed in other cities and countries.

Since NYC DOT's launch of its Commercial Cargo Bike pilot program in 2019, cargo bike deliveries have increased significantly in New York City. In 2022, cargo bikes made more than 130,000 trips, delivering over five million packages. This demonstrates their effectiveness for making deliveries and resulted in the reduction of over 650,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of emissions generated by 1.6 billion miles driven by an average gas-powered passenger vehicle.

The pedal-assist feature of these e-cargo bikes activates a small motor only when users are pedaling. The technology is commonly used by existing e-bikes, including Citi Bike's popular pedal-assist models.

These new cargo bike rules represent one of multiple ongoing initiatives the city is working on to support safer, more sustainable, and more efficient last-mile delivery options. NYC DOT is also working to install delivery "microhubs," where trucks can safely offload to smaller, greener alternatives like cargo bikes. The agency is also installing publicly accessible delivery locker hubs to help better manage home deliveries through a forthcoming program called LockerNYC. Additionally, through Blue Highways, the city is working to reactivate its ports to accommodate marine freight.