A man invented a motor for Citi Bike but it's probably illegal - FOX 13 News

A man invented a motor for Citi Bike but it's probably illegal

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

One Citi Bike cruising around the Financial District, Friday, sounded a little whinier than others. And for that we could blame more than just its rubber tires rolling over wet pavement.

"I've done it!" Jeff Guida said.

Guida invented ShareRoller, a laptop-sized, seven-pound electric assistant intended for the Citi Bike, which he believes could use the help.

"It's about twice as heavy as any other bike," Guida said of the Citi Bike, "and it's only three speeds and it really feels like it requires twice as much effort as a regular bicycle."

Because ShareRoller doesn't start powering a bicycle until the rider gets the bike moving two miles per hour, Guida believes his product is legal in New York City.

"Well, the New York City law that was passed in the spring stipulates that a motorized scooter is able to be powered without human assistance," Guida said.

By that definition, ShareRoller does not transform a bicycle into a motorized scooter.

"It seems the law was targeted mainly at delivery cyclists who ride 30 mph electric motorcycles masquerading as bikes," Guida said.

So, every time someone delivers you a pizza or an order of dumplings using a motorized bicycle they break the law. But ShareRoller might qualify as street-legal.

We asked the Department of Transportation about electric bike attachments -- like ShareRoller -- and it directed us to its website, which informed us: "The New York State Dept. of Motor Vehicles does not register electric bicycles. Therefore, their operation is prohibited in New York City."

We rely on police to enforce that ban, and NYPD confirmed after this story first aired that someone using a motor to operate a bike -- even a motor requiring human power to start -- would be at risk of receiving a summons.

Citi Bike, which faces its own problems, also called us back, saying while it applauded Guida's inventiveness, he violated their user agreement because he modified their bicycle -- even if only temporarily.

"I don't look at using Citi Bike as exercise," Guida said. "For me, it's commuting."

Regardless of any potential restrictions on his product, Guida rides forward with the roll-out of ShareRoller, which can attach to nearly any bicycle. With the help of investors, Guida plans to start selling them internationally as soon as this summer.

The base model costs more than $1,300, but Guida says: With a 20-mile range, a top speed of 18 mph, the added users he hopes it brings to the program and the lack of change required to a system's infrastructure to accommodate it, ShareRoller improves any ride-share system.

But New York's system can only recognize that alleged improvement if the Department of Transportation, the NYPD, and CitiBike deem ShareRoller legal.

  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Manhattan fire

    Manhattan fire

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:35 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:35:42 GMT
    A large fire was burning in Manhattan on Friday morning.The FDNY was called to 251 E. 35th St. around 11 a.m. It quickly went to two alarms.The building houses a Chinese Restaurant on the first floor and residential units on the upper floors.Thick black smoke was seen over the scene.This is a developing story and will be updated.
    A large fire was burning in Manhattan on Friday morning.The FDNY was called to 251 E. 35th St. around 11 a.m. It quickly went to two alarms.The building houses a Chinese Restaurant on the first floor and residential units on the upper floors.Thick black smoke was seen over the scene.This is a developing story and will be updated.
  • 8 things to do in August

    8 things to do in August

    Friday, August 1 2014 10:16 AM EDT2014-08-01 14:16:28 GMT

    July came and went in the blink of an eye, or squint since the sun was so bright. As you dwell on the memories of 4th of July, weekends at the beach, nights at the ballpark and a good amount of warm weather, August is going to be another month to make more memories. Restaurant Week is still going on as well as SummerStage, but there is so much more happening in August. Here's a list of 8 things you can do in  New York throughout the month of August.

    July came and went in the blink of an eye, or squint since the sun was so bright. As you dwell on the memories of 4th of July, weekends at the beach, nights at the ballpark and a good amount of warm weather, August is going to be another month to make more memories. Restaurant Week is still going on as well as SummerStage, but there is so much more happening in August. Here's a list of 8 things you can do in  New York throughout the month of August.

  • Massive emergency drill in New York City

    Massive emergency drill in New York City

    Friday, August 1 2014 8:53 AM EDT2014-08-01 12:53:38 GMT
    The New York City Department of Health will be conducting a massive emergency preparedness drill at 30 facilities across the city on Friday.  They are testing the delivery of emergency medications in the event of a biological attack, such as anthrax, on the city.
    The New York City Department of Health will be conducting a massive emergency preparedness drill at 30 facilities across the city on Friday.  They are testing the delivery of emergency medications in the event of a biological attack, such as anthrax, on the city.
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices