You may be used to seeing people riding around on them, but e-bikes and e-scooters officially became legal throughout NYC’s five boroughs on Monday, November 23.
The scooters are allowed to reach speeds of 20 miles per hour, and the bikes can accelerate to 25 MPH.
While some are concerned about the potential danger these devices may pose to pedestrians and drivers – hoping they don’t bring about the recklessness that was seen among some Revel riders earlier this year – the green light is being celebrated by delivery workers and transportation advocates who have fought for this.
According to the NY Times, the NYPD issued over 1,100 summonses for riding electric bikes and scooters in 2019, but some, primarily immigrant delivery workers, continued to use them. At the onset of the pandemic, Mayor de Blasio told the police to stop issuing the citations as more people were getting their food delivered.
The legalization of these vehicles was passed in June, alongside with legislation to require the Department of Transportation to create sharing programs similar to Citi Bike, which is expected to launch in spring 2021.
Companies are expected to be competing for spots in this program, but riders are also free to use their own electric bikes and scooters.
Lawmakers began to push to lift the ban on these vehicles when the pandemic started, as many New Yorkers became wary of riding public transportation.
One of the bill’s main sponsors, Councilman Fernando Cabrera of The Bronx, said of the legislation that “It couldn’t come at a better time during this Covid era. The world is recognizing that we have a new, alternative mode of transportation. For essential workers especially, they’re going to feel more comfortable now.”