Electric bikes and electric scooters have always been a strong point of contention in New York. However, there was a small sliver of hope with a bill that might’ve solved all the problems regarding this issue. While consumer trends don’t show any signs of slowing down, the micro mobility industry is facing an uncertain future in the city that never sleeps.
With over 8 million people living in New York City, there’s always the question of traffic and congestion. Micro mobility solutions like e-bikes and e-scooters are long believed to be the solution for such issues because they promote movement and benefit urban development. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill that would have legalized both types of transport, angering supporters of the measure.
The major reason for rejecting this legislation was cited to be regarding safety and protection.“Helmets are a common-sense requirement that should be imposed on operators of these vehicles to protect public safety,” Mr. Cuomo said, adding that he looked forward “to continuing this discussion in the 2020 legislative session.”
Riding e-bikes and e-scooters will garner a fine of up to $500. However, only throttle-controlled vehicles are banned, which comes as a ray of hope - pedal-assist electric bikes are legal in NYC. In a city as congested as New York, this bill would have provided relief to thousands of people, including delivery workers who depend on electric bikes for work.
The New York Police Department issued over 1,000 summonses for the operation of e-bicycles and e-scooters in 2019. “Our state has failed to help tens of thousands of New Yorkers who desperately need relief from the punitive measures taken against them every day for merely doing their jobs,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat and the lead sponsor of her chamber’s version of the legislation. Ms. Ramos vowed to work toward the bill’s passage again in 2020.
While it seems for now the fate of electric mobility in NYC is uncertain, pedal-assist e-bikes are a great alternative to throttle e-bikes and are completely legal in the Big Apple.
For more information on pedal-assist bikes check out this blog.