Electric bicycle and e-scooter fans in New York had their hopes dashed after Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill set to legalize the two-wheeled EVs across the state.
The bill was originally approved with nearly unanimous support this summer.
In June the bill was passed in the NY Senate 56 to 6 and was approved by the state Assembly by 137 to 4, margins that few bills ever reach.
Supporters were excited to see the bill outline a legal status for electric scooters as well as three different classes of electric bicycles:
The first class included pedal-assist electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
The second class included throttle-controlled electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 20 mph (32 km/h).
The third class included throttle-controlled electric bicycles with a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). Such high speed and throttle-controlled e-bikes have been popular for years with fast food delivery workers and couriers in NYC, but these high-speed electric bicycles and their riders have been the target of police crackdowns in the past year. Tickets can be as high as $500 and the riders’ e-bikes can be seized by police. Thus, the passing of legislation to legalize these important and common transportation tools was seen as long overdue.
This throttle-controlled e-bike won’t be legal in NY anytime soon
While there was some worry that Governor Cuomo might respond to the bill with some pushback, an outright veto came as a shock to many that had expected the bill to be renegotiated instead of squashed.
In a statement outlining his decision to veto the bill, Governor Cuomo explained his reasoning, which focused mainly on the lack of helmet regulations and the allowance of throttle-controlled e-bikes:
“Failure to include these basic measures renders this legislation fatally flawed. Specifically with respect to e-bikes, 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.”
Cuomo is worried about mixing e-bikes with e-mopeds
The throttle on many electric bikes allows riders to use the e-bikes for commercial purposes for hours on end without getting overly tired. However, the motor power is limited to 750 W (1 hp) and thus is much weaker than typical mopeds and motorbikes.
These throttle-controlled electric bicycles are quickly becoming the most common type of e-bike seen around NYC.
In fact, we’ve actually ridden such throttle-powered electric bicycles around NYC. Multiple times.
I’m baffled that the rest of the country has figured out how to regulate and work with these e-bikes, but NYC can’t seem to get it together.
Especially at a time when more research is showing the health benefits of electric bicycles and the sales of these light electric vehicles are sky-rocketing, you’d think New York would be rushing to help integrate them into the transportation ecosystem.
It’s been well documented that moving car drivers onto two-wheelers helps reduce urban congestion and pollution, so I can’t understand why New York wouldn’t want to help make e-bikes and e-scooters part of the local solution. Especially considering they’ve already integrated them into the NYC public transportation system with great success.
Call me crazy, but this seems like a big step backward for New York.
via: New York Post
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