Lawmakers in New York have legalized e-bikes and e-scooters as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget. The new legislation includes safety measures and requirements to ensure riders are as safe as possible while operating the micro-mobility vehicles.
The measure is focused on making it easier for frontline workers and delivery drivers to get around using e-scooters. They will no longer have to worry about fines and penalties. Because of the lack of legislation, workers using e-bikes and electric scooters have been fined more than one million dollars and have had their vehicles confiscated in recent years.
The law creates three classes of e-bikes: Class 1 pedal-assist bikes capped at 20 mph; Class 2 throttle-controlled bikes capped at 20 mph; and Class 3 throttle-controlled bikes capped at 25 mph. Class 3 e-bikes are only allowed in New York City and all riders must wear a helmet.
In regard to regulations for electric scooters, all e-scooter riders must be over the age of 16 and all riders under 18 are required to wear a helmet. While the previous maximum speed was set at 20 mph, it has been reduced to 15 mph. Riders are not allowed to operate electric vehicles on sidewalks, as they are required to use bike lanes when available. Additionally, riders are only allowed to operate on roads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less.
To ensure those on electric vehicles are visible, reflective materials, front and rear lights, and bells or other audible signaling devices are required. Also, the governing body of any county, city, town, or village has the power to enact additional regulations on e-bikes and e-scooters. This includes having the ability to ban them completely.
According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, “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.”
While the legalization of e-scooters will benefit many people, it also means there will be more vehicles on the road. This could result in an uptick in accidents. If you’re injured in an e-scooter accident, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. At the Rideshare Law Group, we represent those who have been injured as a result of others’ negligence. Contact us today to learn more about what steps to take after a rideshare accident.