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Electric Scooters: Legal Status in New York State

In recent years, electric scooters have become an increasingly popular mode of transportation in urban areas around the world. New York State, as one of the most densely populated regions in the United States, has witnessed a surge in electric scooter usage. However, it’s vital for residents and visitors to be fully aware of the legal status and guidelines for electric scooters in New York.

Prior to 2020, electric scooters were illegal on public streets in New York State, with their use subject to considerable fines and penalties. However, in April 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo passed legislation that legalized electric scooters across the state, including New York City. The new rules, which were signed into law as part of the state's fiscal year 2021 budget, took effect on November 4, 2020.

Under the new legislation, electric scooters are defined as vehicles with handlebars, an electric motor, and a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour on a paved level surface. The legal age to ride an electric scooter in New York State is 16 years old, and users must wear a helmet if they are under 18 years of age.

While the new law has legalized electric scooters throughout the state, it’s important to note that there are some restrictions:

  1. Electric scooters cannot be used on sidewalks.
  2. Local municipalities have the authority to regulate the operation of electric scooters within their jurisdictions. This means that while they are legal statewide, certain cities or towns may have specific rules governing their use.
  3. In New York City, the legalization of electric scooters has been accompanied by the introduction of local regulations. These rules include limiting the maximum speed of electric scooters to 15 miles per hour and prohibiting their use on certain streets and in parks.

To ensure compliance with the law and avoid penalties, electric scooter users in New York State should familiarize themselves with the specific rules and regulations in their area. It’s also essential for users to practice safe riding habits and be mindful of pedestrians and other vehicles on the road.

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