New York State Set To Legalise Electric Scooters And Bikes

Photo: Dan Kitwood, Getty

New York City just got one step closer to being plagued with the piles of electric bikes and scooters that clutter the footpaths of lesser cities. This is going to be a shitshow.

New York Post reported that state lawmakers announced on Tuesday they have made a deal to end the ban on the devices across the state. If passed, the legislation would let municipalities decide on the regulation of the vehicles.

The new rules would allow people age 18 and above to ride electric motorised bicycles and scooters on New York City streets unless the city makes different rules. The bill bans riders from using the devices on footpaths.

A spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, Seth Stein, suggested that the mayor supports the bill. “We appreciate this commonsense legislation that clarifies the rules around e-bikes on our streets,” Stein told Gizmodo. “Safety for everyone on our roads is our priority, and we look forward to working with legislators and communities as we develop plans to implement the new law.”

Last year, De Blasio pushed law enforcement to crack down on e-bike through a campaign that mostly targeted food delivery riders, in a move that was seen as largely affecting immigrant workers.

State lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill before the legislative session ends on Wednesday. Then it would land on Governor Cuomo’s desk.

The governor’s office would not comment on the bill, but Cuomo spoke about legalizing e-scooters and e-bikes during a WAMC radio interview on Monday morning.

“I think the general concept is a good idea,” Cuomo told the producer. “I understand the traffic concerns and you would need safety precautions, but yeah I think it’s a good idea.”

If the bill is signed into law, cities would still have to decide if scooter-share companies would be allowed to operate in the city. But this bodes well for the likes of Bird and Lime. Bird’s director of safety policy and advocacy Paul Steely White told the Verge that the company expects to launch the service in New York City in spring of next year. “The weight of this moment cannot be overstated,” White told the Verge, referencing the advancement of the e-scooter and e-bike legislation.

It could only be a matter of time. The scourge is almost certainly coming. New Yorkers should soak in these relatively scooter-less streets and public spaces while they can.

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