E-scooters, e-bikes finally legalized in New York state | Inquirer News
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E-scooters, e-bikes finally legalized in New York state

/ 06:12 PM April 05, 2020
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An electric scooter belonging to the Bird company is waiting for a rider on a street of downtown Washington, DC on June 21, 2018. Image: AFP/Eric Baradat

With an extra push caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and the social distancing orders that resulted from it, New York announced that, to the delight of delivery workers statewide, electric bikes and scooters are finally legal.

After about 10 years of deliberation, New York is finally giving electric bikes and scooters a chance with the passage of the tentative Fiscal Year 2021 budget as reported by Streets Blog NYC, a decision that comes as major win for delivery workers.

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Previously, proposals suggesting the legalization of such micromobility vehicles were vetoed by legislators due to safety concerns. Now, various types of electric bikes and scooters are being legalized, but not without being closely regulated.

Three different classes of e-bikes will be allowed in the state: pedal-assist bikes with a max speed of 20 mph, throttle-powered bikes with a max speed of 20 mph and throttle-powered bikes with a max speed of 25 mph. E-scooters with a maximum speed of 15 mph are also permitted but only in certain regions for now. Sixteen- and 17- year old riders have to wear helmets with most types of vehicles, and everyone has to wear one if riding a 25 mph throttle-powered bikes.

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The legalization of such vehicles naturally comes with rules on how to use them and repercussions for those who use them irresponsibly, like driving one while intoxicated.

While this will doubtlessly aid delivery workers who rely on such vehicles to efficiently complete their daily tasks, it could be months until people can benefit from this change, as the pandemic led to electric shared mobility companies to shut down operations in several markets. JB

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TAGS: COVID-19, e-bikes, e-scooters, New York, Transportation
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