New York Gov. Cuomo proposes legalizing e-bikes, e-scooters with safety measures

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced legislation to establish comprehensive safety measures for the use of lower speed motorized bicycles, or e-bikes, and scooters.

It's part of the FY 2021 Executive Budget.

The legislation addresses the concern that e-bike and scooter users, primarily delivery drivers, have been subject to unfair restrictions on these bicycles, while ensuring strong statewide measures for the safety of riders, pedestrians and drivers, the governor said.

"We need an alternative to automobiles driving in New York City - the volume is paralyzing, the cost is prohibitive and it is environmentally destructive," Cuomo said. "New transportation technologies like e-bikes and e-scooters pose exciting potential as a sustainable alternative to vehicles, but we need clear laws and regulations that put the safety of riders and pedestrians first."

The legislation includes statewide provisions for traffic and operating requirements for e-bikes and scooters, including:

  • Setting a maximum speed limit of 20 miles per hour on Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes and 25 miles per hour on Class 3 e-bikes

  • A maximum speed limit of 15 miles per hour on scooters

  • Prohibiting e-bike and scooter use on sidewalks

  • Requiring e-bike and scooter users to be 16 years of age or older

  • Mandating all Class 3 e-bike riders to wear helmets

  • Mandating all e-scooter riders under 18 to wear helmets

  • Empowering localities to mandate helmet requirements for Class 1 and Class 2 e-bikes

  • Localities can create further regulations, including but not limited to setting a maximum speed that is lower than the statewide requirement, setting clothing requirements for riding in dark hours, and opting out entirely of allowing these bicycles.

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