NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The New York Senate has passed a bill legalizing e-scooters, e-scooter sharing, and more categories of e-bikes. The bill is expected to pass in the Assembly and then head to the governor for his signature.
The legislation will authorize electric scooters and three classes of electric-assist bicycles as well as allow e-scooter sharing in all boroughs except Manhattan. And neither will be allowed on greenways unless a municipality decides otherwise.
Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat of Queens, sponsored the bill.
"For many of my neighbors who are immigrant delivery workers, using alternative modes of transportation is a matter of livelihood," she said in a statement. "Legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters is a matter of equal access to our streets and our city."
But in the past, Mayor Bill de Blasio has opposed e-bikes, calling them unsafe.
"We appreciate this commonsense legislation that clarifies the rules around e-bikes on our streets," de Blasio said in a statement on Wednesday. "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."
E-scooter sharing won't be available in Manhattan because of crowding. But you'll be able to ride your own scooter.
Ramos said the new law should provide a clear legal framework for municipalities to decide where exactly the e-scooters are permitted to go.
The legislation defines and authorizes electric scooters that weigh less than 100 pounds; have handlebars, a floorboard, and an electric motor; can be powered by either the motor or human power; and has a maximum motor-powered speed of 20 mph on a paved level surface.
The legislation defines and authorizes three types of electric-assist bikes (which must all have operable pedals and a motor of less than 750 watts):
Class 1: A bicycle whose electric motor engages only when the rider pedals (a.k.a. pedal-assist e-bike) and cuts out at 20 mph.
Class 2: A bike powered by an electric motor that doesn't require pedaling at all (a.k.a. throttle-controlled e-bike) but cuts out when the bike hits 20 mph.
Class 3: A bike powered by an electric motor that doesn't require pedaling at all (a.k.a. throttle-controlled e-bike) but cuts out when the bike hits 25 mph; this class would be legal only in cities with a population above 1 million, which de facto means only New York City. (These e-bikes are popular with food-delivery workers.)