Legislation Is Part of FY 2021 Executive Budget and Establishes Safe Speed Limits and Operating Requirements for These Sustainable Transit Options
Allows Localities to Create Additional Regulations
Helps Ensure Localities and Delivery Drivers Who Use E-Bikes and Scooters Are Not Subject to One-Size-Fits-All Policy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced legislation in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to establish comprehensive safety measures for the use of lower speed motorized bicycles, or e-bikes, and scooters and to give local governments the right to set additional regulations. This 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.
"We need an alternative to automobiles driving in New York City - the volume is paralyzing, the cost is prohibitive and it is environmentally destructive. 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," Governor Cuomo said. "This legislation will create important speed and operating measures for these technologies that will provide clarity for everyone and end the arbitrary enforcement of vague laws that has posed substantial hardship on immigrant delivery workers, while enabling all delivery workers to do their work safely and more efficiently."
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.
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.
Danny Harris, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said, "We stand with Governor Cuomo in support of safe streets and sustainable, equitable transportation alternatives. By embracing e-bikes and e-scooters, the governor is advancing opportunity for all New Yorkers, including 40,000 delivery workers who have been subject to harassment simply for using the most efficient means to complete their jobs. For years we have witnessed an overreliance on cars destroying the fabric of our communities as well as our environment. Legalizing new forms of mobility can help us reverse that trend, and usher in a new era of possibility for New York."
Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director, Asian American Federation, said, "In the two years since the Asian American Federation created the Deliver Justice Coalition to advocate for the tens of thousands of immigrant delivery workers who rely on e-bikes to make a living and are largely Chinese and Latino, we called on our leaders to recognize the adverse effect of targeting e-bike workers and urged them to legalize e-bikes to ensure both justice for the workers and public safety. We are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo for taking the lead on this issue in order to protect the rights and livelihood of some of the most vulnerable in our community. Immigrant workers are the backbone of New York's economy, and we are proud to have a governor who is committed to upholding sanctuary values."
Deborah Axt, Co-Executive Director, Make the Road NY said, "This is a big win for delivery workers, if enacted. This legislation will legalize the e-bikes they need to do their jobs and protect them against aggressive policing and criminalization of their work. For years, delivery workers have faced steep fines and confiscation of their e-bikes for simply doing their jobs and using e-bikes required by their employers. They engage in grueling work with unsafe conditions and low-wages to deliver hot meals to thousands of New Yorkers. We applaud the Governor, Senator Ramos and Assemblywoman Rozic for their leadership on this issue and bringing critical protections to these workers."
Julie Tighe, President of New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "We applaud Governor Cuomo for proposing to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters as part of the 2020 Executive Budget. Transportation is the #1 source of climate pollution and micro-mobility is part of the solution. And as we prepare for congestion pricing, New York must encourage these clean transportation options. We look forward to working with the Governor and partners to get this legislation passed."
Dr. Do Jun Lee, Biking Public Project, said, "We are happy to see Governor Cuomo act to support food delivery workers and the Deliver Justice Coalition in our long effort to make NYC fairer for immigrant delivery e-bike workers. This legislation will protect many thousands of workers from discriminatory and devastating e-bike fines and confiscations for simply doing their jobs of delivering food."
Steve Wasserman, Staff Attorney with the Special Litigation Unit at The Legal Aid Society, said, "On behalf of the food delivery workers, we thank Gov. Cuomo for his proposal to legalize e-bikes. With legalization, delivery workers will be able to earn a living without being subjected to discriminatory policing and the persistent fear of bicycle confiscation and harsh fines. Hopefully the City will now repeal its ban on e-bikes and enact sensible local regulations."