It’s electric! DC Capital Bikeshare bikes to offer pedal assist

WASHINGTON — The District’s bright red fleet of Capital Bikeshare bikes will soon be joined by pedal-assist versions.

D.C. Department of Transportation officials won’t comment publicly, but the social media account for the program has been dropping hints for months.

And it became clear that electric bikes are coming in the updated user agreement sent to bikeshare members. The statement reads “We have some exciting additions coming to the Capital Bikeshare fleet. Soon we’ll be introducing new pedal-assist bicycles as another solution for getting across Metro-DC.”

The agreement notes that the pedal-assist bikes, which are powered by a motor, provide a “different user experience.”

E-bikes like those introduced by the dockless Jump bike service provide a motorized boost that kicks in when riders pedal, allowing them to easily reach a speed of 20 mph. Jump urges users to wear helmets and to go slowly at first, noting that braking distance is different on the pedal-assist bikes.

There’s no word yet on how many pedal-assist bikes will be placed in service by DDOT, or precisely when they’ll be available. The updated user agreement says the change in terms will go into effect Sept. 5.

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