In June, the New York Senate and state Assembly passed a bill with nearly unanimous support that would allow electric scooters and bicycles in the state. That bill was recently vetoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The bill would have outlined a legal status for scooters and three classes of electric bicycles, similar to what other states have been doing. The Verge reported that there was some worry of pushback by the governor in the form of renegotiation, but the outright veto was a surprise to many.
The reasoning for the veto was outlined in a statement by Governor Cuomo. It said that the allowance of throttle-controlled e-bikes and the lack of helmet regulations “renders this legislation fatally flawed,” and noted that a recent study has shown that head injuries have tripled in the past decade due to use of these motorized vehicles.
The statement also said that “the throttle motor that allows a rider to increase speed without pedaling renders e-bikes indistinguishable from mopeds, which are already regulated and require license plates and drivers licenses.”
Many food delivery workers use electric bikes to get around the city and the bill veto leaves them subject to $500 fines and confiscation. One of the bills co-sponsors, Nily Rozic said the veto was a missed opportunity to “deliver economic justice for thousands of delivery workers across New York City.”
Living in California with lane splitting, electric bikes, and rental scooters littering every sidewalk, I have to imagine getting around in New York City is a relative nightmare. Now if anyone needs me, I’ll be spending the next three hours in gridlock traffic to drive six miles.