Downtown Alliance Rolls out Electric Bikes for Public Safety Officers

Downtown Alliance Rolls out Electric Bikes for Public Safety Officers

The Alliance for Downtown New York’s security force is going green—and electric.

The Downtown Alliance has introduced four electric bikes as part of a pilot program to provide a greener, more convenient way for the organization’s public safety officers to get around the district.

“Our 57-person public safety staff is truly the eyes and ears of Lower Manhattan,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Downtown Alliance. “Now, it will be much easier for them to get around the narrow streets of our district, and they can do it in a much more energy efficient way.”

The Downtown Alliance’s security staff is recognizable by the distinctive red coats its members wear. On their daily patrols, they check in with neighborhood business people, provide visitors and others with friendly directions and aid, and assist the NYPD. Lower Manhattan’s crime rates have dropped sharply since the Downtown Alliance and NYPD began working together in 1995.

Crimes against persons—murder, rape, robbery and felony assault—averaged 0.20 per day in 2009, less than half of the rate in 1999. Property crimes—burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto—dropped from 4.49 a day in 1999 to 1.58 in 2009.

The all-weather bikes each weigh 56 pounds and provide an electric boost for riders when going uphill. They take between six and eight hours to charge and can then run for up to five hours, no matter how far a rider travels. Four of the 57 officers will be authorized to ride the bikes.

“We applaud the Downtown Alliance for upgrading to more a city-friendly form of getting around,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “They’re proving that you can do business and provide essential services in New York City on two wheels.”

The difference between an electric bike and other electric-powered, two-wheeled vehicles is that an e-bike can be pedaled without motor power. Additionally, most e-bikes have a longer wheelbase than standard bicycles and only eight gears, with the motor providing the extra assistance.

One Downtown Alliance patrol car will remain on the streets and another will be available for emergencies. Prior to the electric bikes, the Alliance used two cars on the streets and one for emergencies. Two cars will remain on the roads on overnight duty.