16 Aug 23

Coming to America: 4-wheeled eCargo bikes

Coming to America: 4-wheeled eCargo bikes

Four-wheeled eCargo bikes (a hybrid of bicycles and small vans) are commonly used in Asian countries to transport goods in cities and urban areas and for last-mile delivery. Still, they’re less common in North America because they don’t meet regulations. That could be about to change. 

Following the successful trial of 3-wheeled eCargo bikes in 2019, the New York City Department of Transport is considering legalising four-wheeled eCargo bikes for use on bike lanes and roads. To be classified as a bicycle in the US, vehicles must be operated using just two or three wheels and narrower than 36 inches (91cm). However, the NYC DOT is considering introducing four-wheeled eCargo bikes that may be up to 48 inches [122 cm] wide. 

NYC Mayor Eric Adams, a keen advocate of micro-mobility, sees the use of large electric cargo bikes as a way to reduce the number of delivery trucks on roads in the Big Apple and make the city safer and less polluted. 

Prioritizing safety and the environment

In a statement, Adams said: “Safety and sustainability go hand in hand in New York City, and our administration is innovating every day and using every tool available to advance both. Cargo bikes have been a valuable tool in our administration’s efforts to move goods throughout the city while prioritizing street safety and our environment, and these pedal-assist cargo bikes will help New Yorkers get the items they need while reducing carbon emissions and traffic congestion — and getting dangerous trucks off our streets.”

The new rule will expand low or no-emission options for freight deliveries — including packages and groceries — by allowing pedal-assist bicycles and have up to four wheels. The DOT has opened up a 30-day public comment period and will hold a virtual public hearing on September 13th. 

For anyone in Europe involved in purchasing, leasing or operating commercial van fleets and thinking of embarking on (or about to embark on) the electrification journey, don’t miss our LCV Expert Day to get valuable tips and advice. 

Image: NYC DOT

Authored by: Alison Pittaway