Noted: The Albany Police Department has e-bikes, as that tweet above pointed out this week.
"Pedal-assist" e-bikes are the same sort of bikes that advocates had been trying to get formally legalized in New York State during the past session of the legislature. The push didn't make it over the finish line.
E-bikes are increasingly popular around the country because the little electric motor -- which kicks in when you pedal -- makes it easier to go up hills and maintain speed. So they can be helpful for people who commute by bike, have gotten a little older, and or have a physical limitation that might otherwise keep them from biking. (Also: They're really fun. Riding one feels a bit magical.)
You can buy the bikes in shops here. But they're still not technically legal because of state law. (New York City has pursued its own rules.) That not only puts them in a gray area for regular bike riders, it also means bike share systems won't hop on board with them here, even though the major bike share companies are heading in that direction other places.