By Bill Parry
April 30, 2019
State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic introduced new legislation in Albany that could legalize electric bikes and e-scooters by municipalities across the state as an increasingly popular transportation option – which could pave the way for them to be legalized in New York City.
“For many of my neighbors, who are immigrant delivery workers, using alternative modes of transportation is a matter of livelihood,” Ramos said. “Especially since we have not yet restored everyone’s right to a driver’s license, legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters is a matter of equal access to our streets and our city. I encourage all of my colleagues to embrace these alternative modes of transportation as we also consider how to reduce carbon emissions.”
The legislation would establish four new non-auto vehicle categories; pedal assist e-bikes, throttle-powered e-bikes, pedal-assist e-bikes and e-scooters. Charge, a New York-based company working with Long Island City’s Boyce Technologies, is poised to launch the first-ever electric micro mobility docking systems in privately owned spaces such as parking lots and garages, gas stations and other spaces off city sidewalks and streets.
“We’re hopeful New York will embrace innovation with this bill and unlock the many benefits micro mobility offers,” Charge CEO Andrew Fox said. “Charge is ready to provide a solution for the sidewalk clutter other cities around the world are grappling with by carving out a home for e-bikes and scooters. New York should learn from other cities’ mistakes by using Charge to keep sidewalks clean, while boosting green transportation providing new options to those living in transit deserts.”
Meanwhile, The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court challenging the recent Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings decision which states NYPD officers may issue $500 summonses to food delivery workers who utilize e-bikes. The decision ignores the NYPD Patrol Guide and New York City Administrative Code Section 10-157(k), which explicitly directs officers to issue summonses to business owners and vendors instead of the delivery workers who ride the bikes, according to the suit.
“This lawsuit is designed to ensure that OATH complies with existing law so that our clients and other low-income food delivery workers are no longer illegally ticketed with trying to earn a living,” Legal Aid Attorney Steven Wasserman said adding that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s crackdown on e-bikes based on alleged “safety concerns” is unfounded and discriminatory.