Electric bikes and scooters have been legalized in New York, with delivery riders benefiting first
It's a long way off, but the state of New York has finally taken steps to legalize the use of electric scooters and electric bikes.
In the state's annual budget agreement, lawmakers finally agreed to clarify the terminology surrounding mobile technology.In short, scooters and bicycles can now be used on public highways where the declared speed limit is 30 MPH (about 48 km/h) or lower.
The budget agreement details three types of electric bikes: pedal-assisted bikes at 20 MPH (32 km/h), throttle powered bikes at 20 MPH (32 km/h) and throttle powered bikes at 25 MPH (40 Engadget reports km/h in cities of at least a million people).
For clarity, pedal-assisted electric bikes are already legal in New York, but throttle bikes are not.
Similar legislation nearly passed last year, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed it because of security concerns.Under the latest agreement, ebike and E-Cooter riders under the age of 18 must now wear helmets.Those who do not wear helmets face fines of up to $50.
For those who need protective helmets, state agreements often refer to the national helmet Distribution program, which provides free helmets to children from low-income families.
For some New Yorkers, this is surely a good time.Earlier this month, the New York Police Department temporarily banned electric bikes and scooters to support transport workers during the coronavirus outbreak.But with this latest news, delivery companies will be able to legally use e-bikes for free.
The announcement will also be made by electric scooter rental companies such as Bird and Lime, since it effectively clears the way for them to start operating in the state (the law is clearer).Ride-sharing companies still need permission from local governments, but that is always the case.
In other words, electric scooter-sharing companies are having a hard time and are being hit by the pandemic.So they are unlikely to rush to seize the opportunity.
Back in March, Lime, an electric-scooter company, and Bird both began removing their services from many European and American cities.The move is a response to a decline in user numbers as countries around the world adopt self-isolation and isolation measures.
Some people worry about the health effects of using shared electric scooters.According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the coronavirus can live on steel and plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours.Electric scooter companies, including Bird and Lime, said they will clean their hardware more frequently to fix the problem.