Updated: May 6, 2020
It's been almost 10 months since the New York state assembly put forward a bill to legalize electric bikes and electric scooters in New York, which was ultimately vetoed but Governor Cuomo this past December. Since then, Cuomo has proposed changes that have recently been incorporated into a new bill that just passed last week, effective April 1st, 2020. This bill creates three different classes of electric bikes and a special category for electric scooters.
Class 1: pedal-assist bikes, like the electric Citi Bike, that max out at 20mph. These bikes had already been legal in New York.
Class 2: throttle-powered bikes that max out at 20mph.
Class 3: throttle-powered bikes that max out at 25mph. These are the bikes you see most delivery works riding.
Electric Scooters: two-wheeled scooters capped at a max speed of 15mph. The exact definition states that the vehicle is no more than 60" in length, 26" in width, and 55" in height, and are designed to transport only one person sitting or standing.
With this bill, there is also new language on public safety. Riders must be 16+, and those under 18 will be required to wear helmets, as are any aged riders of Class 3 bikes. Additionally, any rider who’s found to be riding while intoxicated faces a fine up to $500 and 15 days in jail. And like last summer's proposal, electric bikes and electric scooters aren't allowed to operate on the Hudson River Greenway or East River Park pedestrians walkways.
The bill comes at a critical time where many restaurants have turned to delivery-only amid the COVID-19 crisis, thus causing a surge in demand for delivery workers using e-bikes and electric scooters to get around the city efficiently. Previously, workers riding Class 3 electric bikes illegally could be subject to fines up to $500.
Where can you ride these e-bikes and electric scooters?
The bill states these vehicles can only be operated on public roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less, or in designated bicycle lanes. Riding on sidewalks is prohibited, and riders must always yield first to pedestrians.
What does this mean for Levy riders?
While Levy electric scooters are capable of speeds up to 18mph, our newest models including the Levy Plus can be configured to only reach a maximum speed of 15mph, in order to remain compliant with New York law.
Additionally, our rental fleet scooters in New York City have already been programmed to limit the maximum speed to 15mph in all five boroughs.
Currently, no shared scooter operator is permitted to launch rentals from public spaces, including sidewalks (a rental model that is popular in many other cities). We are actively working to change this, as the current bill states that cities and local townships will eventually be able to set their own rules regarding the use of public electric scooter fleets. Unit then, you can still rent directly from us in select locations.
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